Mary’s Contest Journey
As told by Mary Newton
My name is Mary Newton. I recently took fourth place in the masters 50+ at the Excalibur in culver city. I am 52 years old! I am thrilled to have placed in a fierce show as my competition was very worthy!! Those fifty year olds were HOT!
I met Nancy in 2008. I had become interested in competing. I had gotten into working out and had lost some weight. I had done a show prior to meeting Nancy. I was TERRIBLE. To stringy, awkward, and not very confident! I had never done anything like this! They had nothing like this when I was younger… I married young got into my hairdressing career and I am mother of a son and daughter that are now grown. I currently own my own hair salon. I had always loved challenges and the thought that competing, the pretty suit (with bling no doubt) the cut body, grace and poise intrigued me! So I signed up!
I did 2 more shows and Nancy guided me! She literally taught me how to walk in the heels, how to eat. She monitored my diet, my posing and would listen to me weekly…. I had many insecurities. I learned SO much. She counseled me…. Helped me with confidence building. I felt like a fish out of water, yet I was VERY determined! I didn’t place in either show…. Still had work to do! Little did I know, the lessons I would learn were more than placing in any competition. They were lessons I used to get me through the biggest challenge of my life.
That year I was in the BEST shape! My diet was clean! I continued my workouts and my healthy lifestyle. I knew I had more work to do as far as competing. Life was busy. That September life as I knew it changed. My 23 year old daughter had a lump on her neck. It was thyroid cancer. She had surgery to remove her thyroid and currently is doing fantastic. The end of the year came and I saw my mother that Christmas for the last time as I always had known her. She became I’ll and two days later went to the hospital where she would spend her last 6 weeks. If life was not stressful enough I went in for my yearly mammogram that January. February 2, 2009 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Mom died on the 7th. I underwent a mastectomy . I felt numb. I learned the week after the surgery that the cancer (stage 2) had traveled to my lymphatic system. Damn it…. I had to have chemotherapy. As part of my treatment. It was determined I would have four rounds! (I was again lucky)
Oh no!!! I was about to lose my HAIR! And I did! Very humbly. Well I’m here to tell you the lessons!!! A healthy lifestyle is your best friend. I worked out all the way through! At least if it was only cardio. I couldn’t do upper body for some time so I did what I could. I put my do rag on and dragged my butt to the gym everyday! I was VERY lucky. The chemo didn’t make me physically sick. They have wonderful anti nausea medications that worked well for me. I kept up with my diet by eating clean. It wasn’t easy but doable. I had to keep my salon running. No disability for self employed people. I bought wigs that were cute. Not fun to be bald and be a hairdresser. I sucked it up. Oh believe me, I cried MANY tears. I’ve always been a bit competitive and I wasn’t going to let cancer win if I had ANY control at all!
Time has passed! Just about 3 years! After treatment I went through another year of reconstructive surgery! I’ve learned time is your friend! Hair grew back. I have reconstructive new breasts! I am happy to now be competing in figure! I’m a lot calmer about being on stage now! I still am working on stage fright! But through the journey I’m able to accept myself better. I’m not nearly as hard on myself. Yes, I’m still working on that walk! Always trying to improve! But I wear my scares with pride. Those scares represent life! New beginnings! To me life is about reinventing and NEVER giving up!!
Nancy had written….sometimes when you win, you lose–and sometimes, when you lose–you win! I really get that now. Sometimes good things come in not so pretty packages. That’s how I feel about my cancer. I’ve really learned so much about the human spirit! If there is something you want to do… DO it! The sky is still the limit as long as you accept yourself and work hard! My key for success is my healthy lifestyle. Nancy, my coach is a very strong lady. She has helped me to accept myself! She is STRONG and supportive. I’m happy to know her! Well a new year is upon us! Thinking about doing a few more shows! And my new goal is…. Have some fun with it!!!!