Leaders of Inspiration - Molly Scott
We're happy to present a new feature called Core Community—where we share stories from Leaders of Inspiration who inspire us.
What comes to mind when I ask you about your experience with Yoga?
It was celebrating the New Year of 2011 in Puerto Rico when I decided that I was going to make a real, dedicated effort to incorporate yoga into my life.
It was the first holiday I took after finishing up my treatment. And I guess I just decided – it’s a new year, its time to get into a new routine, and time to be devoted to healthy living.
This wasn’t actually the first time I practiced yoga. I had traveled with my Mom to a retreat center called Rio Caliente in Guadalajara several years back. It was an amazing experience but when I returned home yoga still really didn’t stick with me. It really didn’t stick until the cancer.
To be honest, yoga had always bored me! I preferred to be in the gym, dripping in sweat, surrounded by hot guys and great music!
Cancer. I remember when you told me you had been diagnosed. And you wouldn’t even say the word. You used to refer to it as “C”.
Ugghh. It was such a shock. I was in such shock, denial, depression.
I was diagnosed in 2010. I found the lump myself. Sitting in the car while on my way out to my parents for dinner. I had an itch. I scratched it. And something just didn’t feel right. I felt a lump. I was 31 at the time. I knew there was some cancer that had run in my family, grandparents’ generation. Nothing more immediate and nothing this young.
I remember some of my first thoughts when I was diagnosed…
Am I going to lose my life? My job? My career? My breasts? My hair? My ability to have children?
I was afraid I was going to lose everything.
And then there were the things I didn’t know about and could have never have even imagined. Losing my toenails, finger nails, the deep throbbing pain in my bones, and the unbelievable hot flashes – chemically-induced hot flashes.
Things that young women don’t ever dream of facing.
It was the loneliest time ever. The loneliest time of my life. AND, I am a very social person, with an incredible network and the most wonderful family. But truthfully, I felt alone. And scared.
Tell us about your path to recovery.
It was a battle. I underwent chemo, 8 rounds in total, every 2 weeks. Followed by daily radiation.
My hair fell out on Valentines Day. Thank god I rocked head scarves before even went bald!
It was during radiation that I began to fall apart. I had been working full-time in a job that demanded a lot of my time throughout all the chemo. I kept up with the gym, my normal routine, not the modified version for a “sick” person. I did not take time to rest. I really wasn’t following the doctors' orders.
The body is magic though. My mind was stubborn. I am stubborn. But my body began to overrule my mind. It was part way through radiation. I was finally ready. I was physically and emotionally exhausted.
With the encouragement (make that begging!) of my oncology team, and the message ringing loud and clear from my body, I had no choice but to listen. I had no choice but to rest. And of course, it was exactly what I needed. I think it was really at this time that my entire focus shifted. For once I was putting myself first. My health first. My life first.
I know and realize very deeply how short life can be and how easily everything can change. We need to appreciate every moment. Live every day to the fullest.
With that said, I refused to just be a “sick” person lying around on the sofa. My type A (triple A!) personality wouldn’t give in that easily. I found a new purpose. I got involved with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) and Run for the Cure. That year we formed “Pink Love” Toronto and raised close to $40k for Breast Cancer Research.
CBCF and Run for the Cure gave me a sense of purpose. The chance to build friendships and new relationships. The chance to meet and be surrounded by those that have shared similar challenges. I began feeling part of something greater as opposed to just alone. It was so very healing for me.
To this day, I still continue to be heavily involved. We do the run every year, my nieces and I, raise money for the foundation, and I have done a fair amount of public speaking at events and fundraisers for CBCF.
How has your life changed since? And what do you know now that you wish you knew when you were diagnosed?
The entire way I look at life has changed. With that said, I do need to remind myself of this all the time. Life gets busy and every day stressors can easily take over. Ultimately though I know and realize very deeply how short life can be and how easily everything can change. We need to appreciate every moment. Live every day to the fullest.
I wish I knew how strong I am and how powerful your mind and body can be.
What do I wish I knew in 2010?
I wish I knew how strong I am and how powerful your mind and body can be. I wish I knew I could battle and win. That I wouldn’t fall apart. And that things would get better. There were a lot of sleepless nights spent doubting this.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My nieces. I have 4 of them. Ranging in age from 4yrs - 10yrs. They gave me the strength to fight, to stay strong, to do what I can to raise awareness, to find a cure.
In my darkest days it was my nieces that got me through. They needed their Auntie Molly to be strong. I’ll never forget Macy watching me lose my hair and I trying not to cry. Poppy wasn’t even born yet. I knew I needed to survive so I could meet her.
And then there are my parents. And my sister. I never would have gotten through this without them. They were a constant by my side. At all my appointments. They retained all of the information, they researched, they sought out support, they processed everything when I couldn’t.
Well now, it’s my community, my routine, the time I carve out for myself on a regular basis. Molly time. It keeps me sane. Quite literally! It makes me feel good. Makes me a better person. Those close to me would agree (she smiles slyly!)
Yoga is a key component of that routine. I still go in with a bit of a gym mentality though! I like a challenge. I want to see the progression; I want to find myself in that advanced posture. I want to push my limits, discover my abilities. It excites me.
The most challenging part of yoga for me though is quieting my mind. This is a big part of what keeps me going back. I know it is what I need the most.
That and the community I have discovered at Moksha Yoga Downtown. I call it my “city country club”. I’ve met some great friends here and have discovered so many supportive resources.
What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday, Molly time?
A morning walk with Sir Oxford, my Manchester Terrier.
On top of that. I love to shop! I never leave home without a pashmina and my sunglasses…so you can probably find me on the hunt for more of these.
Closing the day out at Ritual Spa would also be a highlight. There is just great energy there. Good people. They take care of everything for me…brows, facials, waxing, mani/pedi, hair. It’s my one stop shop in the neighbourhood!
Thank you for sharing your story and being such an inspiration, Molly!