since he was gone

 Hi friends! How are you? Hope you’re enjoying the week so far. We jumped back in the weekly routine, and made signs on Monday to pick up the Pilot at the airport. He was gone for 3 1/2 weeks (don’t forget that extra 1/2): 4 weekends. We missed him so much, but I also looked forward to spending some solo time with the girls and trying to make an adventure out of it while he was away. We did things like have breakfast for dinner, enjoyed more frequent movie nights, I let them sleep in our bed, and we planned extra events to stay busy and entertained.


While the Pilot was gone:

-The girls and I slept horribly the first week, until I let them fall asleep in our bed. I also slept more soundly knowing my baby chicks were close by. 

-We actually had a lot of real dinners! I could easily see myself hopping on the takeout train since it was just the three of us, but there aren’t a ton of takeout places here that we love. So I cooked quite a bit, and while the meals were way more casual than usual, everyone was fed haha.  


Sushi roll bowls

– We took two road trips. I’d been wanting to take the girls back to Disney, and figured that we might as well make the most out of our passes. The 3 1/2 hour drive is pretty fast and the only really tricky part about this trip was navigating rides. Liv likes to go on more intense rides now (like the Barnstormer roller coaster), while miss P is not a fan. I told Liv this would be more of a trip focused on gentle rides, character experiences, and parades. Of course, she was totally cool with that.


(Snack bag is key! I always have a giant bag of snacks in my suitcase and use it to refill each of the girls snack bags I carry in my backpack during the day. We eat full meals either at the hotel, Disney Springs, or the parks, but these are clutch when the girls get snacky and we’re on the bus or waiting in line.)


Waiting for the bus

We also had an amazing weekend getaway to Jacksonville to stay at our favorite spot. 

Jax beachBeach 2


-I launched a project I’ve been working on for the past year! The Fit Guides are rocking and rolling, and it’s a blast connecting with all of the Fit Guide participants in the Facebook group + designing new workouts. We’re going to be including RD-created meal plans (at the same price) in the next couple of months and I’m so thrilled to add it to the plans. Sign up here now if you haven’t already!

Fitnessista Fit Guide Cover Display

-Livi lost a tooth! She pulled it out herself.. thank goodness because I was a little creeped about having to do it. 

On a not-so-fun note:

-I also had one heck of a health scare. I want to start this off by saying I’m ok for now, but continue to hope and pray that this is true in the future, too.

A week before the Pilot left, I found a lump in my left breast. It felt like a hard bean and was enough to alarm me. I immediately made an appointment with my PCP to get it checked out, especially since we’ve had one incidence of breast cancer in our family. He took at look at everything, told me he thought it was probably an inflamed old milk duct from nursing P (especially since my left side did 90% of the work), and that I’d get an ultrasound to be sure. (I asked if I could do an ultrasound instead of mammogram since the thought of getting them smashed after my surgery gave me the creeps.)

Of course I consulted Dr. Google, spiraled into mental doom and gloom, and the day of my ultrasound (the day before the Pilot left), I was literally shaking in the lobby. Thankfully my BFF Betsy was giving me a text message pep talk and called me as soon as it was over.

The ultrasound tech was kind and lovely, and while she was performing the ultrasound, I kept checking the screen to see if anything stood out. I said, “You’re probably not allowed to tell me if you see anything, right?” and she responded,

“I ain’t no doctor, but I don’t see anything.” 

She’s been a breast ultrasound tech for 30+ years (!) so that gave me some peace of mind.

A couple of days later, I got a letter from the hospital indicating that they didn’t see any definitive markings for cancer, but that they recommended additional screening through mammogram. They said to continue to monitor myself and notify my doctor if anything changed. I thought this meant I was off the hook, and celebrated. (In this case, I had a glass of wine and bought myself an outfit online after the girls were asleep.)

A couple of days later – by this point the Pilot had been gone for a week – I got a phone call from my doctor’s office while P was sleeping on the couch next to me. It was a nurse asking to go over the results of my ultrasound.

“Hi, we got the results of the ultrasound here. Since you have a worrisome mass, we’ll need to get that checked out with an MRI.”

“Wait… a worrisome mass? What do you mean? How big is it? Where is it?”

“Well, the ultrasound doesn’t give a lot of details so that’s why we’re going to request an MRI. Originally they stated mammogram but we have in your chart that you’d prefer not to get one, so an MRI will be a good option. We’ll call you after the referral has been processed to set up your appointment.”

I’m not sure what I said or how the phone call ended, but I literally crumbled after I hung up. Our living room was a juxtaposition of emotions: P slumbering peacefully on the couch, and myself, panicking with fear and sadness. 

I sank onto the floor and sobbed harder than I have in years. 

These two words kept swirling in my head: worrisome mass. 

I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach, and as I watched P sleep, I went through every worst-case scenario in my mind. 

I also felt more alone than I’ve felt in a long time. 

After I’d calmed myself down a little, I called the Pilot, my mom, and Betsy to let them know what was going on (they said they’d hop on a plane immediately if I needed them to) but in that moment, all I needed was someone, in real life, to tell me it would be ok. And that was something very difficult to go through by myself. I assured my mom, the Pilot, and Betsy that I’d be ok until I got the MRI and that if anything changed, I’d probably call for backup. I didn’t want to tell any of the wives or any of my local friends about it because it felt really personal.. and really scary. I kind of didn’t want to talk about it. 

I ended up calling the doctor’s office a couple of times trying to get answers (why did I get that letter from the hospital if everything wasn’t ok? What did the ultrasound show? How big did it look? What were treatment options if it ended up being something?), and while the nurses were kind and took their time speaking to me, I didn’t get a lot of substantial information. The promised me it was likely nothing, but it’s better to get things checked out to be sure. [In the end, I found out that my PCP was the one who called it a worrisome mass because I, the patient, was worried about it, but the ultrasound didn’t show anything abnormal, which is why I got the “good news” letter from the hospital. In a nutshell, the first nurse who called me didn’t exactly read the chart correctly.]

So, I continued to go through the motions of life, trying to enjoy time with the girls and savoring every second with them (even when they bickered and refused to sleep), meeting up with friends here in town, and teaching classes… and then crying pretty much every night. It was a hard couple of weeks. By the third week, I felt pretty numb to the whole thing, but there was an underlying cloud of worry in my day. I had just gotten used to it at this point. 

I went in for my MRI appointment last week (which was just a bundle of fun), and got the results back yesterday. It looks like “excess glandular tissue,” so now I have to get a biopsy to make sure it’s benign. I’m pretty freaked out by the whole thing, but my doctor seems confident that it will be fine. He just wants everyone to have peace of mind and know for sure what it is, which I genuinely appreciate.

This is going to be hard for me to write about articulately because I still feel like I’m in a shaky blur, but this whole thing was kind of like a reality check I didn’t know I needed. I stopped, listened, watched, absorbed, and was more present. I usually wake up so thankful for every single day, but I found myself mentally making gratitude checks for everything, all day. It was only thing that kept me from turning into a crying mess. I was able to mom, chore, work, socialize, and do all the things I needed to do, even though on the inside I was paralyzed with fear. When I would start to worry, the girls would say or do something funny, or surprise me with a hug or reach up to hold my hand. Gratitude, and our sweet babies, kept me from falling apart.

At the end of each long day, I’d pour a mug of tea and call the Pilot, my mom, or Betsy, who were always there to talk me off the edge and help me maintain perspective. I’m still afraid and worried, but am trying to maintain a positive mindset over the next couple of weeks.

Please know I’m thankful for all of YOU. Thank you so much for reading and being here now, and also while I was wrangling the girls on my own + dealing with this craziness. 

So, there ya go. I’m going to say here’s hoping the next few months are uneventful. <3



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  1. Jessica Campbell on May 9, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    I am always so impressed with what you are able to accomplish daily. You have reminded me to make sure I am not “wasting” any of my days because let’s face it, even if I live to 100 it still won’t be enough time!

    Lots of love to you and your family.

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 11:02 pm

      thank you- some days i’m a disorganized mess though 😉
      i really appreciate the sweet comment <3

  2. Amalia on May 9, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    Oh my goodness what a crazy few weeks for you!! My husband has been traveling for work once a month and I am so over it! I don’t know how you do it!!! And then to deal with health issues on top of it?!
    Sending you all the positive juju!! ??????

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 11:01 pm

      thank you, amalia, i really appreciate it <3

  3. Emily on May 9, 2018 at 10:12 pm

    Gina, you are one strong momma! Your family is lucky to have you. Will be praying you receive good news quickly.

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 11:00 pm

      thank you, friend <3

  4. Alexis on May 9, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    So my Husband is military as well and we have tricare. This may sound crazy…. but over the years I have found that when I see doctors out in town, they tend to run a lot of “unnecessary” tests on me… I have been freaked the f out many times by doctors… and every time it has turned out to be nothing. Most recently it was at a pediatric dentist for my son. He had a cavity in his front tooth found by my family dentist. We were sent to a ped dentist and they proceeded to tell me my baby had 4 cavities and needed to be put to sleep and have four crowns put on. This was not what I was expecting and I left in tears. I made some phone calls and found out there was a pediatric dentist on base! I made an appt ASAP. The ped dentist on base said he only saw two cavities and they required no treatment at all. That cavities can heal themselves and that’s exactly what they did! My sons teeth are fine after only a few months of using fluoride toothpaste. I like to keep health care pretty simple and try not to use too many meds or chemicals in our daily life. And this is just my experience… but long story short… I feel that sometimes civilian healthcare providers take advantage of tricare and run unnecessary tests on us for no reason. I’m not saying that’s what is happening to you, but it’s happened to me and may be something to think about if you get too anxious about your health scare. I suffer from anxiety and have a hard time dealing with health stuff too. I hope everything turns out ok!

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 10:59 pm

      that’s really interesting. i’ve never really had to deal with something like this, but in the past, they’ve been pretty great and easy to deal with. thankfully, my doctor here is pretty no nonsense and i think he’s just covering all the bases.
      that is crazy about your son’s teeth! i would have been super frustrated, but i’m happy to hear they healed on their own

  5. Karen on May 9, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    Hi Gina Sorry to hear about your health scare. I can imagine how worried you would have been and especially while the Pilot was away too. You’re doing all the right things tho with the tests you are having. I really enjoy reading your blog and appreciate you sharing and trusting us readers with something so personal. Sending positive thoughts your way xo

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 10:39 pm

      thank you, karen. i really appreciate it <3 thank you for reading and for the sweet thoughts

  6. Mari on May 9, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    Hi! Sorry to hear that you’ve had to go through all this. Stay optimistic and positive. I’m praying and keeping my fingers crossed that you’ll only hear good news. Sending lots and lots of prayers your way.

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 10:38 pm

      thank you, mari <3

  7. Nicole Kump on May 10, 2018 at 12:09 am

    So sorry Gina that you had to go through this without the hubby there to give you a real hug, but I’m glad you had him and close loved ones to listen. Praying that things stay okay for you and your family! Thanks for sharing! Btw, I had a mammogram done 2 years ago as a baseline precaution and it was less than pleasant for sure, so I feel on not wanting to have a boob panini!

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 10:38 pm

      boob panini! for real. no thanks haha
      thank you for the sweet comment and for thinking of me <3

  8. Katie O on May 10, 2018 at 1:35 am

    Ugh. I’m so sorry that your fun weeks with your girls ended up being so stressful. I’m praying and crossing my fingers that it’s nothing!

    On the other note, you are such an amazing mum to those two sweet girls! I’m so impressed by everything you managed to do while tge pilot was gone! I never feel like i habe it together enough to pull off travelling solo with my kids!

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 10:38 pm

      thank you, friend. i really appreciate it.
      having them here with me through it all has been such a huge blessing. we have so much fun together.
      sending love to you and thank you again for the sweet comment

  9. Jessie on May 10, 2018 at 7:39 am

    So sorry you’re going through this! Good vibes sent your way. You’re one strong woman!

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 10:37 pm

      thank you, jessie. i really appreciate it <3

  10. Colleen @ Frenchie Farm on May 10, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Sounds like such a stressful experience and I can’t imagine how scary the past few weeks must have been. So happy to hear that everything is looking okay!

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 10:37 pm

      thank you! <3

  11. Reenie on May 10, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Thinking of you and praying.

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 10:36 pm

      thank you, lovely

  12. Emma on May 10, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this, especially while your hubby was gone. You’re so amazing and strong, sending love and prayers x

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 10:36 pm

      thank you, emma. i really appreciate it <3

  13. Milania Dela cruz on May 10, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Hey, been busy at a conference but saw your instastories so I wanted to catch up. I’m glad you are ok! Sending you prayers and blessings. Such a good reminder to always count our blessings! ????

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 10:36 pm

      thank you so much, friend

  14. Olviya on May 10, 2018 at 11:49 am

    I got goosebumps reading this! Glad that things are looking okay…but goodness, what an ordeal! I’m so sorry you had to go through this. Praying that everything will be okay!

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 10:35 pm

      thank you so much <3

  15. Erin on May 10, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    What a stressful situation – sending many positive vibes your way!

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 10:35 pm

      thank you, erin – i really appreciate it

  16. Lindsey Giles on May 10, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    So sorry you are having to go through this! Thank you, thank you for sharing!!! It is SO important that women share about self breast exams. My mom’s breast cancer was caught because a friend shared on Facebook about going to a NFL game during Breast Cancer awareness month where they reminded women to do a self exam. So my mom’s friend found a lump AND because she shared her experience my mom caught her lump. My mom was not getting mammograms because she was worried about the radiation and her PCP had not been doing breast exams, so thank GOD that her friend said something! All this to say… GOOD for you for sharing your experience. Hoping everything is healthy for you. I know with my mom’s treatment and diagnoses they hardest part was all of the waiting and the anxiety that brought. I’m happy to say she is cancer free and healthy!

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 10:35 pm

      thank you so much, lindsey. <3
      i totally agree that it's so important to spread the word about breast health and doing regular self-checks. for the longest time, i would forget about it until someone mentioned it or i heard about someone else being sick. for the last year or so, i've really make a conscious effort to stay on top of it.
      i'm so happy to hear that your mom is doing well now. i'm sending love to her (and you!) as she continues to thrive 🙂

  17. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on May 10, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    Sending so many feel-good thoughts your way, my friend! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 10:23 pm

      thank you, lovely!

  18. Erika S. on May 10, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Gina…sending you the most positive thoughts and the biggest, most delicious (and expensive) virtual glass of bubbly there is! Women are stronger than we give ourselves credit for and you are no exception. Your positivity and kindness give so many others much needed support…so glad that your followers can do the same for you! Chin up buttercup…!

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 10:23 pm

      thank you so much, friend. i wish we could drink some wine together in person. thank you for such a sweet and wonderful comment; it really felt like a virtual hug, and i appreciate it more than you know

  19. Raimie on May 10, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    Praying for you, Gina! (even though I am sure the worst has passed) Your courage to continue to show up for yourself and your loved ones through some seriously trying times is a beautiful thing <3

    • Fitnessista on May 10, 2018 at 10:21 pm

      thank you so much, raimie. i really appreciate the sweet comment and prayers <3

  20. Kate on May 10, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    I am so glad you are ok! Murphy’s law struck again, didn’t it?? I just turned 40 and had a mammogram. I was SO nervous but it was not a big deal and didn’t hurt at all. I know you had surgery and may still be sore, but just wanted to let you know NOT to be scared, it’s not as “squished like a pancake” that many make it out to be! Prayers for continued good health!!!!

  21. Ellie on May 11, 2018 at 4:34 am

    Sending lots of positive vibes all the way over the Atlantic from the UK to you and your lovely little family. You inspire me so much both with your strength and daily amazing warrior queen-ness, but I also hugely admire you for being so honest when the going gets tough. We’re all just doing our best, right? Good luck to you, and I hope with all my heart that it all works out for you.

  22. Lauren on May 11, 2018 at 10:02 am

    Hi Gina,

    I know how anxiety inducing the waiting on health issues are — in the waiting your mind exists in both the relief/hope that everything is fine and the fear/darkness that everything is terrible. It’s so easy to let your mind spiral.

    I think you are such a strong person and filled with light — thank you for sharing your highlights and lowlights with all of us. Best to you and your family <3

  23. Nicole on May 11, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Sheesh, what a month! I am so, so sorry you had to go through this, especially with your husband out of town. Kids are just wonderful for making you stay in the present moment, but sometimes it is so hard not to project into the future (especially when you have your babies to worry about).

    Having a tough month myself, and really finding how paralyzing anxiety can be. My son helps (a lot), but once he goes to bed and I am alone (husband travels frequently for work), I am a mess of nonstop horrible thoughts. I have no words of wisdom for you, but I do try to remind myself that I am strong and I can do hard things – I believe you had a blog post about this, too:) it is hard to remember in the moment, but I try to tell myself that even if the worst case scenario IS true (and 99% of the time, it isn’t), I will deal with it as best I can at that time.

    Thinking of you and sending you some healthy vibes. Oh, and I know this may not help you to hear, but at least 5 of my friends have had similar breast scares that turned out to be excess glandular nodules from breastfeeding. So, it is very common (cause I don’t have that many friends).

    • Fitnessista on May 14, 2018 at 10:03 pm

      thank you so much for taking the time to write this heartfelt and thoughtful comment; i hope you know how much i appreciate it and how reassuring it was for me to read!
      i’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been going through such terrible anxiety. have you been able to talk to anyone about it? sometimes when i feel mine revving up, a therapy appointment or two is just enough to bring me back down to earth
      i love what you said about dealing with the worst case scenario if and when it actually happens (which isn’t likely!). it reminds me of something my therapist taught me: if you react to everything, you’ll drive yourself crazy. easier said than done of course, but great advice
      thank you for letting me know about your friends, too. it’s helpful to hear about others who have been in similar situations and it turned out to be no big deal.
      sending love to you and thank you again <3

  24. adrianna on May 12, 2018 at 10:44 pm

    oh girl. SO MANY thoughts, hugs, and prayers your way! many of my aunts and mom have had very similar situations with breast lumps, and thankfully all have come back benign so far. but its so scary to be in it, having it happen, and i can only imagine. i definitely understanding the feeling alone while terrified during a medical scare thing…long story short, i have no family close where i live, and had 2 pulmonary emboli a few months ago.
    thanks for sharing and reminding us all to savor all the great things in life!

    • Fitnessista on May 14, 2018 at 9:56 pm

      thank you so much for letting me know- that’s reassuring to hear. i’m so very sorry you had to go through all of that along. that’s so terrifying. i hope you’re doing so much better now <3

  25. Danielle on May 15, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    So sorry to hear you’re going through this, Gina! In early April, my ob-gyn found a lump in my left breast and referred to me to a sonogram and mammogram (the mammogram certainly isn’t fun, but it’s so very far from the worst thing in the world – don’t be afraid to do it if you need to!). They found the mass through those methods and were concerned because of the irregular edges and the fact that this lump apparently grew so quickly, and scheduled me for the biopsy, saying that it was a tumor of some sort. The biopsy itself was totally pain-free but I was decently bruised for a month and had to wait 5 days to get the results, during which time I went back and forth between, “i’m 33, i can’t have cancer!” and “they were definitely going to call me and tell me I have some advanced stage cancer.” In the end, the results came back benign. I understand how scary it is to go through this. Sending you good thoughts and wishes <3

    • Danielle on May 15, 2018 at 4:11 pm

      Just to add a few other things, after the biopsy i was told to take 2-3 days off workouts and lifting anything over 5lbs. Also, they should give you an ice pack afterwards for a few hours and wearing a comfortable sports bra to the appointment would be helpful (no one told me this until after and I wore a push up bra LOL). If you have any questions or need to chat, don’t hesitate to email me!

  26. Adrienne on May 16, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    Gina, I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this scary time! You’re an incredible person and I love your blog and your upbeat personality. It’s contagious and I get so many great mom, food, and fitness ideas from you! Thank you for all you do. Thinking about you and sending love your way.

    • Fitnessista on May 17, 2018 at 9:59 pm

      thank you so much for the sweet comment, and for reading! i really appreciate it <3

  27. Cassie T on June 7, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    I’m so sorry you went through this, especially while the pilot was gone! It can feel so lonely and isolating to have that worry cloud hanging over you 🙁 So glad everything is ok!

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