As a fitness professional and someone who has always exercised, I never realized how difficult it would be to find the time to take care of myself once I had children. What I also never anticipated, was the little pangs of guilt I would experience from taking time away from my children to do something just for me. I have studied health and fitness and I know how extremely important it is, so how did making time for it become a challenge? I have worked with many Moms and they all seem to experience this struggle to find a healthy balance in their life. At least I knew it wasn't just me. Then last summer I received the ultimate motivation factor and wake up call as to how important taking time out for ourselves really is. I had an acute attack of appenticitis and had to go in for emergency surgery to have my appendix removed. When the biopsy report came back they had found a caricinoid tumor, the slowest growing form of malignant cancer. I was told I had to go in for further surgery to have a portion of my large intestine removed as well as, the surrounding lymph nodes to see if the cancer had spread any further, (you can imagine how well that conversation went over). When I was given the initial news I wanted to curl up in a corner and colapse into myself. I experienced every emotion in the book and all I could think about was my husband, my two little boys and the rest of my family and friends. I had my moment and then that day I made a choice. I was going to do everything in my power to go into my surgery as strong and as healthy as I possibly could. I wanted to make sure my body was prepared for whatever journey may be to follow. I took my own advice and exercised on a regular basis, did yoga to keep my stress and fears at bay and completely changed my diet. I took the time to stop and apreciate the things in life I was taking for granted such as all the amazing people I love. The surgeon said I would be in the hospital for 6-7 days and would have a minimum eight week recovery with absolutely no lifting (including my kids). The nurse who registered me for my surgery told me I was going to feel like a transport truck had hit me and then ran me over again. The day of surgery came and I was so scared but felt I had done everything in my control to promote a positive outcome. The surgery ended up going faster than the surgeon anticipated and that seemed to set the tone for the rest of my recovery. I was discharged from the hospital in 3 days instead of 6, didn't have to take any pain medication from the day I left the hospital, not even Tylenol I felt fine. I was allowed to lift my youngest son after six weeks instead of eight weeks, I had to wait the full eight weeks for my 3 year old. Ten days post surgery I received the best news in the world, all the tissues that were biopsied from the second surgery came back healthy. It was an interesting experience with the surgeon on our final follow up appointment as he said to me he was speechless over the outcome of my recovery , that I must have taken care of myself and how happy he was to tell me I was in the clear. This is part of where the name Clear Studio came from and why I want help educate and motivate mothers to take care of themselves. I reflect on this experience everytime I am having a moment when I just don't feel like exercising or I think I should really switch over the laundry, fold clothes or clean the bathroom instead. I never thought it would be me getting that diagnosis. I know my situation would look a lot different right now if I didn't make the time to take care of myself, and my husband and kids are grateful I did. Remembering the cliche that we have nothing if we don't have our health is crucial, not to mention the truth. It gives us the permission to take that much deserved time for ourselves and exercise without any guilt and provides us with the motivation when we just don't feel like it.