Seven Years Cancer Free: Breathe


Hoaglund - Seven Years Colon Cancer FreeThis morning we made the drive to the Lombardi Cancer Center like we did so many times during Scotty’s colon cancer treatment. It was odd that today’s appointment was on a Tuesday, because it was every other Tuesday for months after his surgery, that we settled in for all day chemo appointments.

The hospital is undergoing renovation, so it didn’t look the same but the feelings came rushing back all the same.  When we wen to to check in, the lady asked “have we really not seen you since 2011?”  We smiled and headed towards the back to take a seat.

We didn’t wait long before we were ushered into the exam room and a fellow, who is a doctor in a period of medical training after completing a specialty training, greeted us. Each time we went in for chemo, we experienced a different fellow before seeing Dr. Marshall.  Lombardi is a learning hospital so it’s expected.

After a bunch of questions from Dr. Marshall – we were told to get out of there! We don’t need to come back. Scott was advised to continue seeing his primary doc regularly and get his colonoscopies as recommended. He has one scheduled for December already!

Mercedes - Oncology Nurse

We hugged, took a SEVEN Year pic, and said our goodbyes. Before we left the hospital, we stopped by to surprise our amazing nurse, Mercedes, who helped us get through all of our chemo sessions years ago.  We found her at the front desk on the 5th floor and as she turned around, I could tell she didn’t know who the heck I was. But, once she saw Scotty, it was all over. Seeing the huge smile on her face as she came rushing over to hug us both  warmed my heart. She asked about our kiddos, and as I showed her their first day of school pics, it occurred to me that she hadn’t seen them since they were 4 and 6 years old. We do send a holiday card each year but other than that — time just goes by.

Scotty had his surgery August 2008 and we began his chemo seven years ago this month. So much has changed in our lives,  I wrote this paragraph Feb 2011 and it still holds true…

I haven’t spoken much about our cancer journey lately – not because it doesn’t continue to color everything we do, but more so because we are moving on – living our ‘yes we had cancer‘ life. Moving on doesn’t mean that there aren’t times when the reality of what we have and are still going through doesn’t come back at us like a Mac truck.

As we drove back home, we both let go of the breath we were holding…

What Were You Born To Do?



The past week, I had the wonderful fortune of being in the presence of two of the few people out there who were born to do what they are doing.  You know those people who from a young age seem to be destined for their purpose. It’s as natural as breathing to them..

Last Tues, I took HB to go see the amazing Ed Sheeran at Verizon Center.  It was just him on stage – with a looping machine. He recorded his own loops while playing and then played over them. He is a true artist. His voice was so crisp and pure. I thought he sounded better live than on his records. His solo show lasted over two hours – and there was not a moment where the sold out audience was not entertained, included and captured.  He was born to write and sing songs – no question.  To drive home that point, at the beginning of his show, he played videos on the big screen that captured the blooming of his talent throughout his young life, including when he was probably in kindergarten.

Yesterday, I was in awe and inspired as I sat with Diana Gabaldon, author of the best-selling series, Outlander at a small, invitation only lunch hosted by the non-profit, Fall for the Book. Ms. Gabaldon was in town to receive the Mason Award at George Mason in Fairfax.  For those that don’t know, I love the book and TV series Outlander. To me, Outlander is an escape novel, where you get truly lost in the story and want to reread it over and over again because don’t want the the journey it takes you on to end.

What became clear to me within the first few minutes of our lunch was that Diana was born to write and create these fantastic stories that capture people’s heart. She has been writing since she was in grade school, doesn’t use notes to keep track of her characters, doesn’t create drafts and does all the research herself to ensure she accurately capture the time period of her novels.  She began writing Outlander for herself –no intention of selling it. She didn’t tell anyone she was writing it and just let the characters take her where they needed to go.  Writing is as natural as breathing to her. Listening to her explain how she writes and creates was fascinating.

What am I meant to do?

It appears to me that Ed Sheeran and Diana Gabaldon were born to do what they are doing — it may or may not have not been a clear, easy going journey to get where they are but there is no question in my mind that they were going to get there.  Both have passion and talent that you can feel just being in the same room with them. Not to host a pity party, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what I was born to do.   I suspect there are more people out there like me and I struggle each and every day with that question.  I just know there are bigger things to come for me but how, where, why, who??  

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September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month


I found out a former co-worker of mine took his life two weeks ago. I can’t get him out of mind. While I didn’t know him all that well, he appeared to be a happy, successful man and showed no signs of what was to come. I have come to find out that he was having marital and family problems that must have weighed heavily on his mind. Still, nothing is bad enough to end it all. I can’t even imagine getting to that point where you no longer want to exist. I have been sad, and down – who hasn’t, but never have I considered ending my life to solve it.

I can only imagine the pain he must have been in and the despair he was feeling. I hope he has found peace now and my thoughts are with his wife, kids and family as they try to understand what happened and learn to live a new normal..

This month is National Suicide Prevention Month and to remember my former co-worker, Amrik, here is some information and resources:



When it comes to suicide prevention, EveryDay Matters. In honor of World Suicide Prevention Day and Suicide Prevention Month, we thank those that work in a community and take action every day.



Suicude Prevention

Toxic Family: Are You Obligated To Help?


I’ve been dealing with some heavy shit the past few weeks and it’s been hard.

I have an older family member who has been asking/expecting financial help to live because for years, he and his wife did nothing to prepare for their retirement and lived at a level that was well above their income. Not to mention, they were less than stellar family members and did little to help others voluntarily throughout the years.

Should you help everyone in your family just because they are family?

I keep hearing because they are my family as the reason why I should ‘do the right thing’ and pitch in but thinking about that brings up more questions for me…

  • Where is this rule written?
  • Why did they not have to follow it when others needed help?
  • Am I a bad person if I choose to not help?
  • Do I have to help because others in my family will be burdened and I should share the burden?

What I think bothers me more as my family starts to figure out how to offer help together is the lack of any sort of real understanding or care about the impact their ask has. It affects our ability to pay down our own debts, save for our children’s college and put away for when our retirement comes.  All things they never did as they lived a high stylin’ life.  When you don’t have any extra money, you have to change your standard of living – you can’t shop at high end stores or get fancy cars with a high monthly payments.  It’s been their problem all along –they don’t grasp the concept of having to lower their standard of living.

You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.

The worst part of having to figure out how to help them is the bubbling up of old buried family issues. Maybe we need to celebrate Festivus – and air our grievances! Things that you thought were way behind you come to the surface with each back and forth.  Their apparent lack of understanding or taking responsibility for their situation and their combative responses to any sort of inquiry into what’s really going on with them financially and physically literally brings me back to my teens and early 20’s when I was dealing with them more regularly. It’s a huge reason why I keep them at a far distance from my every day life – they are not healthy people.

Is there a way I can help, whereas it does not play into their unhealthy lifestyle but also does not cause me to revisit old family crap? That’s the question really – I try to focus on being kind to everyone but I am not willing to do it to the point where it burns me. No way…

Every family has stuff to deal with — good and bad. I am certainly not the first person out there who has had to deal with mooching family members. It’s causing me to turn in emotionally and I am finding it hard to be inspired and motivated to share like I used to. It’s a very sad situation and while I certainly want to help if I can – I’m not sure I can without causing myself inner turmoil.

When Parents Are Too Toxic to Tolerate

Toxic parents. How to know when it’s time to let go.

Life is Short, Choose Happiness


Love the crap out of everything!I am now three weeks into my consulting/contracting gig and I have realized a few things — People need to gain perspective on the work they do. I have met quite a few people that are unable, for whatever reason, to take a step back from the work they are doing and see it for what it is. I’m all for doing a great job and doing the best I can – but I’m also able to realize where the work I am doing fits in with my overall life. I think it helps set priorities in one’s life…

If you had seen me a few years ago – I was a super passionate, impatient worker bee who constantly remarked about the lack of work ethic around me.  I just didn’t understand how other people were able to just let things and projects roll off their shoulders. They didn’t claim ownership of the work they did, they lacked motivation to get the most out of their day. At least that’s what I saw back then — and I would come home frustrated and resentful day in and out.

It took me getting laid off to realize that life is too short to be miserable — and to put extra energy into things that suck the energy and more out of you. At the end of the day and the end of our lives – do we want to look back and say Man I worked a lot or do we want to say I felt love, kindness and happy? It’s not as black and white as that but why not strive for the latter?

I don’t want to spend hours of my day, weeks, years doing things that at the end of the day don’t allow me to learn, have fun and inspire others.  Do You?

Speaking of my lay off a few years back – I walked into my office and whose name do I see? My former boss – who laid me off. I was able to spend some time and talk with him about the overall experience and to my surprise — he apologized! Not for the outcome of laying me off – looking back, It was necessary. I was ineffective at that point in the role I was asked to do.  But for how the whole thing went down and for his part in it.  I was able to really express my thoughts around the situation –not in an anger filled way, but with emotion and honesty.  I was surprised to hear him share how it was one of the regrets of his time at that company. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to apologize or acknowledge that he should have done something more than he did to support and protect me. It’s been two years now – and I didn’t think hearing his apology and acknowledgement would make a difference, but it did. I feel better knowing it wasn’t all in my head and I respect and accept his apology. He wasn’t/isn’t a bad guy — he got caught up and felt pressured to act a certain way. It wasn’t right but I told him that I hope he was able to learn from it and never treat anyone that way again. That was all I wanted…if you can’t learn from a mistake and move on, then you can grow.

Things are starting to feel different for me – I’m beginning to get my mojo back and it’s not something I have been able to find in a few years…here’s to all the good things that are on the way!

Choose Happiness



School Dress Codes: Are They Out of Control?


Dress Code I think this whole appropriate attire issue is getting out of control. My daughter is now constantly questioning what she can and can’t wear as she gets ready for school- instead of worrying about learning. Pencil skirts are NOT ok because it outlines the butt, and skirts have to be a certain length, leggings can’t be worn without a long shirt…. the list goes on and on.  It’s getting out of control – It’s now a distraction to her and me.  Are we really at a point where young men can’t control their thoughts and actions if a classmate is wearing yoga pants?  If that’s the case – it’s bigger issue than just the clothing being ‘suggestive’.

Teens Are Fighting Sexist Dress Codes With This Brilliant Hashtag

And it doesn’t stop there — rules that ban innocuous super heroes because they are categorized as violent super heroes…  School Reportedly Bans Girl’s ‘Wonder Woman’ Lunchbox

We are creating an environment with too much padding and expecting it to stop what ails the world.  It’s not yoga pants and Wonder Woman lunch boxes that’s the problem. It’s this pervasive culture of putting the responsibility on the female to keep it all in check as opposed to teaching both boys and girls how to treat one another with mutual respect.

And it’s happening in schools all over the country — bare shoulders are against the rules in some schools. How the heck is a shoulder distracting to someone??

Ridi School Dress CodesSchool dress codes spark wardrobe wars: How to handle it with your kids

Do school dress codes unfairly target girls?

Even this summer, HB attended an amazing camp but the rules stated the girls had to wear one piece suits or wear a shirt over their bikini –but the boys were able to wear just their swim trunks. When I went to pick up my daughter, it was one of the first things she told me about — and asked how come the boys didn’t have these sorts of rules?

It’s a good question –


When one door closes, another opens…


Fear Quote -Live Fit and SoreWhen one door closes, another opens…I keep forgetting how true this is — earlier this month, I left a situation that was bringing me down. I had no plan, no new job – and decided to approach the situation differently than I had previously with no fear. I recently read a post that talked about Fear –How to relate to fear in a way that makes it ok. In the piece, a dad explained to his son that roller coasters are supposed to scare you — it’s how they are designed. It made the fear of it less scary and being scared is not necessarily a bad thing if you choose to see and understand it that way. That concept resonated with me and I decided not to be scared that I didn’t have a job — embrace the unknown, uncomfortable feeling and dare I say, enjoy the freedom.

This past Monday, 3 weeks to the day when I became unemployed, I began a consulting gig that is much better suited towards my experience. It happened so fast and here I am — doing the work I want to do with people that are much more my style, along with flexibility and freedom to handle my personal life which is getting more and more difficult to keep up with.  So there you go: Jump and a net will appear….

Let’s talk about how my fitness/wellness journey is going —

Fitness wise, no issues. It’s such an ingrained part of my life that I don’t even think about it. I can’t imagine at this point, not having exercise in my life. It’s gotten to the point that even rest days are harder to take. I crave the activity mentally and physically. But nutrition wise, it’s a whole different story…

I’ve fallen somewhat off the wagon – No excuses. It’ crazy that I can’t get my head in the game even though I have seen the physical effects of it. Outward My skin is drier, eczema has returned depending on what I eat,  acne has revisited my face,. Inward, my energy level has decreased, my monthly visit is miserable. All I want to do is eat sweets, sleep and get angry with anyone near me.

Now that my outlook is looking sunnier and am no longer in a job I can’t stand – I am thinking my head can correct itself and I can once again focus on my nutritional health since we all know that’s 80% of the overall wellness equation to begin with.

The Hoaglunds 2015

Read This

Be Inspired

A Bad Attitude is LIke a Flat Tire

Time to Find Something Better


To say I have been challenged the past few weeks would be quite an understatement and it’s the reason I have been absent from Live Fit and Sore for a few weeks. I’ve been stuck in my head trying to make sense of things and hemming and hawing about what exactly I need/what/should do. Let me start from the beginning….

The Hoaglund Family 2015I left with the family on a week long road trip – Myrtle Beach, Orlando, Myrtle Beach, Home. After this road trip, I realized that 6-7 hours is about my limit for road trips. The overall trip was wonderful -aside from getting a bad sunburn (rookie mistake) my first day out on the beach. It was nice to just be able to hang out with the kiddos. When we are at home living the day to day, I miss some of the smaller details of who they are becoming.  And to make it more special, I spent a lot of  alone time with Nate as we walked back from Universal Studios more than once – talking, seeing snakes and other wildlife. It was really, really nice. He’s usually so closed off when we are at home.

We got back on a Saturday and starting getting ready for the workweek. I was dreading going back into my office on Monday. Not because of the work I missed, but because I have not been able to make this position my own. 7 months in – I was unhappy, uninspired and it was making me miserable. The position I accepted was not in any way the position I ended up doing. Not sure if I had mentioned this before, but on my first day in January, the two company owners took me out to lunch and explained how they are changing the company, laying off 2/3 of their employees and changing the leadership structure. Yikes right? My personality style would not allow me to just quit.  I figured it may be better, so let’s give it a try. I approached it with enthusiasm but it quickly became clear that the long held culture and the focus of the leadership was not lining up with my own ideas of creativity and inspiration and there were expectations of job responsibilities that I was not prepared to perform.  It was not a good fit – period.

Do you ever have the feeling that something is brewing or going to happen before it does? That’s how I felt when I arrived to my office on Monday. I was looking through emails and as I read each one, I could tell something was different. For example, my boss had met with my team while I was away and had organized a task list for them. Something he had never done previously – things were just off. Well sure enough – He arrived around 915A and about 10 minutes later, called me into his office for a chat. That chat resulted in me parting ways with the company.  What’s ironic is that Scotty had suggested I quit a few weeks earlier but I wanted to secure a new position before I left – as I have said before, the universe has plans for each of us. It was time to get my ass kicked out of my comfort zone. No one is meant to waste time being miserable.

What’s Next? 

Losing a job quoteThis time around I was not as upset or scared. I will be fine. I have an amazing support network who have already given me contacts and leads. And it’s no secret that have the best husband who was relieved when I called him to share the news. He knew I wasn’t happy and had been urging me to leave sooner. I am considering doing marketing consulting for a while – to allow me to have flexibility for the kiddos and an opportunities to explore different roles and companies.

Which brings me to where I have been the past two weeks – Although this particular case has been one of those oh shit/congratulations kind of deals, losing a job isn’t easy mentally. I know the reality of the situation – it wasn’t a good fit: job or culture wise – but it’s still a hit to one’s ego and brings instability to my life. Instability makes me extremely uncomfortable. Every morning when I wake up, I have been reminding myself that I will be OK as the panic starts to bubble up.

And true to form, this latest experience was another learning opportunity for me. I need to work with a group of people who play off each other. I get energy from working with others – and working for a small company where it’s all heads down, stay at your desk – it just doesn’t work for me. I need to work with leaders who have vision and are passionate about the work they are doing. The team can take that vision and create plans and products around it. Without a vision – everyone just flounders. I want to work with leaders who do what it takes to get the work done.  I am not willing to put in the work to make someone else’s pockets full if they aren’t even willing to go the extra mile.  Nothing deflates my inspiration more than hearing the owner of a company say to their employees “I don’t care what we do, we just need to make money…”  There’s no passion or care about the work -the goal is to make quick money.  And above all – Nothing kills my spirit more than a leader who watches the clock I have been used to freedom to get my work done and that’s what matters. Just because you aren’t sitting at your desk for 8 solid hours, does not mean you aren’t doing your job.   It’s a very old school way of thinking and usually signals that they aren’t focusing on the right things.  This latest role has given me more insight into my deal breakers and what will cause me to say “Bye Felicia” and hit the road…

The older I get the more I realize how spoiled I was so early in my career — working for America Online in the mid 90’s. AOL had leaders and employees who changed the world. Steve Case and Ted Leonsis knew how to rally people, inspire them. They had charisma and charm to spare. With each experience since then – I have been hard pressed to find any leader who can compare.

Everywhere: It’s On My List


I’m on a much needed vacation, so while I am away enjoy some inspiration…

I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list. – Susan Sontag

It's on my list


Wanderers Are Not Lost


I’m on a much needed vacation, so while I am away enjoy some inspiration…

Not all those who wander are lost. – J.R.R.Tolkien

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

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