I'm grateful to have my friend Courtney as our guest today, as she loves cheering other people on to overcome their challenges and feel success.
I believe sometimes the biggest lights in life, find it difficult to be there for their own selves in challenging life moments.
I appreciate Courtney coming on today to share with us her personal journey of
health that she's had recently and how she had to learn to put herself first in the process of healing.
I believe her message will be powerful for those people who are always championing everyone else to take a pause to listen into their own needs, especially when managing health needs.
Courtney Pesek is a coach, wellness coordinator, mother and a bright light.
She enjoys coaching, because it's her passion and her calling. The action of coaching and cheering others on to their greatness lights up her soul.
Stay connected with Courtney and find out more about her work with the quick, access links below:
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Courtney Pesek is a coach, wellness coordinator, mother and a bright light. She enjoys coaching because it's her passion and her calling the action of coaching and cheering others on to their greatness lights up her soul.
I am so grateful to have my friend Courtney on today. And the reason why I like to have Courtney here today is one she is a bright light. I love that about her. She's a bright light, she loves cheering people on. And I felt like sometimes when we are the brightest lights, it's not always easy for us to be there for ourselves. And so I really appreciate Courtney coming on today to share with us her journey of help that she had recently. And I think her message will be really powerful for those people who are always champion everyone else, to take a pause, to listen in, and to really make sure that we're managing our health in the process too. Courtney, welcome to Midlife by Design, I'm so glad that you're here.
Thank you for having me on. I'm so excited for you. And I'm so excited for this podcast. And it's just an honor to be here.
Oh, thank you, Courtney, I really appreciate that. So I mean, in this format, I just want it to be natural to you, because this is a personal story. And so I want you to just go ahead and begin or you feel it makes more sense for you to start. So go ahead, the floor is yours.
Sure, sure. Well, you know, it's, it's always interesting jumping into your 40s. You're not quite sure exactly what you're going to go through or how your body's going to be. And, and, and through my journey, you know, I was very much able to start tapping into my body. I've been an athlete for you know, my whole life. And, and so hearing my body and listening really became a big sounding board for me, I would say in my mid 20s to early 30s. Some injuries happened here and there, but as I went through yoga training and yoga school and such, I was really able to tap in and close out what my mind, you know, was telling me and really tap into bits and pieces of my body and, and really listened to what it was saying to me. And and as I got older and as I entered my 40s and, and mid-40s, I you know, as our as our female reproductive system does, its it does its own thing, right? It's on its own time clock, it's on its own. It's, I don't want to say beast, but it's its own its own beast, right. I mean, right. And as we, you know, depending on how we how do we take care of it and that way and what do we know, to take care of, you know, I think we maintain and manage and, and sometimes just the, you know, the the autopilot isn't what we need. And so, I think I started, you know, as as, as my body started to shift and as, as my organs started to shift, the older I got it, it started you know, I started bleeding heavier. I started which was something different for me as an athlete, it was always very, very routine. And, and I had gone out to visit my uncle and I was having complications and and it wasn't it wasn't out of the blue. I didn't think right I thought this is what our bodies started to do. I've heard....
This is what 45 looks like, right? This is what this is what the 40s look like this is what 45s look like. Right?
Right. Right. And you know you heard women talk about about menopause or perimenopause, but you know until you're in it, or don't know, you heard a mom talk about it, or you heard somebody that was a little bit older than you. But you, you know, unless you've been through been through the wringer with it, you don't quite know. And like I said, I was an athlete. So mine were very routine, mine were very sunk up to the moon. Everything was just, you know, normal until it wasn't
Exactly and I do I love that point. I love that point completely, because that's the whole thing we know it's coming. We don't really know what to expect, because it's very individual. And then people don't really talk about it. And so it's funny how you get into your 40s you're like, is this it that this happen? Is this it, and I think it's even more challenging when your body's been, quote, normal for you through your 20s or 30s. And so it's hard to understand what that change is, and when we should or shouldn't take it too seriously. So I love how you bring that point up. 40s are a different beast. And then a lot of times we don't know what we're doing or what to expect, and it's hard to find the resources to support us sometimes. So I think that's really important.
Absolutely. And, and, you know, like, like you had just said, you know, we don't know what to expect until we're in it. And when we're in it. We don't know if it's normal. And it's, you know, it's not a typical conversation about menopause, or there's not a one way fits all, there's not a exactly, you know, at 44 you know, you're crossing the line, and everything's gonna change and, and different for every body.
So, you know, as things started getting a little bit more complicated, and things were heavier. And, you know, just it's, it became something that I felt I had to manage. And then I became depleted. And I didn't understand, and I just thought it was status quo.
So for you, Courtney, would you say that it also, so not only were you having all of these physical issues happening that were unfamiliar to your body that you were trying to make sense of by equating it to menopause or perimenopause. But how did that deal? How did that affect your psyche and your emotional well being because you have all this physical stuff going on? Assuming it's a normal process of aging, but where were you mentally with it?
You know, I it was hard, because, to me, I was starting to get tired. I was starting to get anemic. I was starting to, you're almost, it's a, it's not an embarrassment, right. But it's this always making sure. You you're, you know, always making sure that it is. I don't know how to explain it's not embarrassment, but it's like, oh my gosh, is this really what we're going through? Right, you know,
Is it more of an uncertainty and dread of like a change and wondering, is this it forever? Or is it because you don't have like an end on it? So it's like, all these new things. How long is this gonna last? There's no real answers. How do you have the conversation? So does it feel like feel like an endless loop that just gets exhausting physically and mentally?
Right1 So yes, absolutely. Because, you know, as I go to my doctor, I'm thinking, Oh, my gosh, this is so heavy, you know, or I'm always having to go home and change or those sorts of things, change clothes.
For whatever, you know that you're losing a lot of blood. You know that you're getting tired, but you're like, Okay, other women have been through this. They already know, everybody's been through this. I can deal with this. And then, you know, you go talk to your doctor, and they're like, Oh, well, yeah, this could last five to 10 years. And then, you know, that's when you're like....
Yeah, that's like a dreadful diagnosis, right, from that perspective, is it's like, well, how do I incorporate this into my own life? Especially when you're having to leave work or leave activities because the bleeding so heavy that you're having to change clothes and whatnot. So how do you plan for that? That how do you, you know, adopt that into your life? That's not like, going on vacation? Right? Like, I don't want to include this into my life five to 10 years. So it's, it's a lot.
Yeah. Which I did not. I mean, that was just, I'm very steadfast. So if there's something that I don't like, I will change. You know, I'm not scared of change. That's, you know, actually I'm really invigorated by change. But something like that was something you know, I had to really sit with sit with it because my quality of life was going down. I was tired. I was exhausted. This was affecting my house. This was affecting the people in my house, right, you know, I was not happy. I was nervous. I was nervous to go to meetings just in case something was going to happen, or...
It really was it was really, excuse me, it was really impacting sorry. If my voice went away, I will let you keep talking Courtney and go get water.
Yeah. So it you know, it did it was affecting when I was physically when when I was trying to be physically fit or when I was out on a tennis court or if I was lifting something heavy, all it would change. Where it there was no warning, there was no you know, there wasn't an expectation. There, it would just come from out of the blue, and all of a sudden, everything had shifted.
So was a total life impact, right? And also, because it's sort of just happened, it's not something you could prepare for either. So when your doctor was telling you this diagnosis of like five to 10 years, and you just have to, essentially it sounds like a run its course. How did you take control back over this? Especially since you didn't like how it was showing up and impacting your life?
Yeah, it? That's a good question. It's, you know, I started to become more educated about what were the next steps? You know, is this something I'm going to ride through? Is this something I'm going to wait? Is it something I could take pills for? You know, which I, I didn't want to, you know, and but it took a while, right? I had, you know, weighed out lots of different options. And then luckily, you know, I've got an uncle that specializes in pari through post menopause, right. And so I was able to really lean on him. And, you know, it was not, it was my decision on what the next steps were going to be.
So you took back control through research, seeing what other options there were. And I love that you also reached out to an expert. And you were fortunate enough, that was a family member. But really getting another source of information and not just being stuck with, well, you're just going to have to wait it out and ride the wave. Nice, that you took action to create more of the life that you want it to live versus just giving up five or 10 years of your life, because you're going through menopause symptoms, so that I think that's really important. And it's something that we can all do. Take action. We can do the research and get other help if necessary.
And it wasn't a quick, you know, I mean, I sat with it all for about a year. And, you know, for some that could have been, you know, 10 months too long. You know, it's when you're when you don't know what to expect, when you are going through it, when you are researching it. When you are just starting that that journey, you don't know what's right. You know, and as you're thinking about these, these organs on these parts, you then start questioning, you know, is this the here's the here's the, you know, either the stop sign that turn signle or whatever, are we done having kids? as is something that I want to not go any further with? Is this, you know, am I being selfish? am I...
So I'm curious why. So it is interesting. So as women, we are born with our reproductive parts. They are a big part of our life or a chunk of our life, we don't even know what they are. And then we get our periods. And then we have to manage that. And we were able to manage that. And then eventually, for some of us, that leads to having children and that is the, you know, the biggest gift of having those reproductive parts, right as if you choose to have the children. So I'm curious, and then we hit 40. And they're like, What the heck's going on with these? Right? You don't recognize them? Right? So I'm curious for you, though, why did the emotion of selfishness come up in this process of your healing and trying to get to the other side?
Sure. Because, you know, I, I did I want to lose or gain the quality of life with something that I was born with, and then remove it, so that I could feel better? You know, it was, you know, was I done? Was I done putting children out into the world, you know, okay? Yes. You know, was I taking away something that was, you know, that I was born? What, am I taking something out of me, that I'm supposed to keep in and reproduce? I don't know, I think you kind of put that on your shoulders as a woman,
Right. So it's almost like, am I disrupting nature because I want to get back to my life? Is that kind of, okay. And so how do we is that fair, or should I just be running this course because this is the part of aging as a woman so...
It's almost like it's a self-centered question and answer, right? I mean, because you're the one going through it, you're not. And like we said, you know, it's not a topic of conversation. It's not that there's going to be a flag across your back that says, hey, this is what I'm going through., You know, join the join the bus joined the topic of conversation, and I need all of you to input on my body, right? That's right. That's such a huge thing, though, as a woman, to have other people comment or make a decision for you and your body, right? Let's go to that. Because that weighs on you, too, you know, and it shouldn't be, you should be the one that's in control. But if we are eliminating something like that, is that you know, that's where that selfish, right came from, you know.
That makes a lot of sense. I respect that. And I thank you for sharing it. Because I don't think that's always when you know, you talk about the physical point, it's because it's immediate, and that's what you're experiencing. And then over time, depending on circumstance, that's going to impact you emotionally and mentally, and, and maybe the people like you say that live in the house with you. But the idea of being having a sense of selfishness wrapped around it, I think is really unique, and probably something that's really not discussed at a doctor's office. Or maybe something and definitely not something we're going to speak to or find in our research. Right?
I think that's just really relevant, because I'm sure other women may have that same experience, or have been through that experience. So I love that you're willing to shine a light on that, because it is very personal. So thank you.
Right. And every and every I think viewpoint is valid coming from a woman, you know, and from their own journey, from their own culture. Yeah, from their own background, from their own economic background, because this is a you know, it's some of these decisions, you don't have insurance, or you know, or it's not acceptable in a culture.
So there's that that played into it for me, too, you know, it's, I knew that, with going forward in this, this was going to be a financial responsibility to that. Was I, I knew that that was going to strap us some and, you know, and when you break it down to, are we gonna have groceries or not, you know, it wasn't that but there's still that question in your head, you know.
It was gonna impact your life, right?
And again, that brought into that selfish side. Am I doing that? You know, other women go through it, you know, can you can't you not just get through it? And that's where you question yourself, and why can't you just not get through? It isn't fair, right? You've got to take time and really sit and, and get into your body and really listen to what it's saying.
So how did you how did you, I find that fascinating. And wow, it's like, that's just like, once again, it's like, that's not something that I would consider going through menopause is like, one of the emotions could be selfishness. So I love that that's come up. So how did you decide, okay, I am not being selfish and doing this. Yes, it's going to impact our family financially. Yes, I may be. And I say this very lightly, shortcutting the path through menopause. But I'm going to do what I feel is best for me ultimately. So I can show up in my life the way I can, which also is serving to your family. So how did you like where did you squash selfishness and go ahead and move forward with a plan that was going to serve you ultimately?
Sure. So you know, I've been going through it for about a year and I had decided that I was going to have surgery and have the hysterectomy. And then it came to a couple of weeks out and I cancelled it.
Said, you know, no, I think I can still get through this. And so, it was supposed to be at the end of summer. I thought, Okay, this will be perfect. I'll do it. And then there was just a feeling inside that was like, Nope, you need to you need to wait. And I very much listen to my intuition. I think when I get into my head, that's not that's not where I belong for, for me. I like, I enjoy the ride my brain will give me in the end playing with those kind of things. But when it's truly a decision, it needs to come from it comes from my gut, and then it's always the right answer. And I I stopped the surgery or well not stopped but
I put a pause on it. And as I put the pause on it, there was a opportunity that came from out of that pause, and it was an opportunity to coach tennis for a high school team.
And it was like, okay, you know, I'm glad I paused it. this came out of this opportunity, I listened, right? Because had I gone through the surgery, I would not have, you know, you've got eight weeks downtime, or so, or so. And I would not have been even able to take the job.
So when that came through, and I started coaching, and as I had mentioned, that physical activity would trigger, would trigger even more bleeding or feeling tired, but there was the high of being aligned with exactly who I am.
And in that hindsight going, okay, you know, that I listened to what was what my body was telling me and it said to pause. I did look at this wonderful opportunity that came out of this. Now I'm in now I'm in it, I love this opportunity. But we just took it up another level, you know, with right, so tired and the exhaustion. But, it show it really shined a light on, Okay, girl, you know what, what schedule this, this, this is not the quality of life you want.
And I was tired. I mean, I was, I was happy. I was excited. I was doing all this. But when I got done with my day, I was coming home, and I was exhausted and anemic. And you know, and then I'm looking at my boys and I'm looking at my husband, and my husband's running to go get ice for me to chew on you know, that's obviously a big sign for an anemia. And I was, you know, when I was at home, I was down and I was in bed and I was tired. And I was teary and sad. And I looked at them. And they only approached me with love. And they were tired, though too, you know, mom wore down. Yeah. So...
I love that. So in your physicality and in pursuing what you're passionate about, you got to see that, no, I need to level up so that I can pursue the things that matter to me. And that gives me life. And in doing so you got to see that your family actually supported you.
So in essence, you are not being selfish, you were choosing what is best for you that helped you and your family. So yes, I love and the guts listening to the gut. It's always powerful. And we take time to be in stillness so we can hear what we need. And even if we don't recognize the situation, if we're willing to go the path, we often find exactly what we need. So that's what a beautiful story, Courtney, thank you for sharing that.
Yeah. For sure.
So as a woman who has been I mean, and I also the time frame, I always find time interesting, because we live in a society where we think I should have this now. Okay, I'm having this situation. This is how I fix it. Let's fix it tomorrow. Let's get back to life. Right? That's not how anything works. I don't I don't believe it ever did work that way. So I love that you're speaking to the fact that it took you a year. And not only did it take you a year, it also took you a pause, two weeks before surgery to really delve in a little bit deeper to kind of see like, Is this really what I want? And so I love the honesty of like, let's not rush through discomfort, maybe there's something for us to gain and learn in the process of it, even if we're fearful about the change. So, now that you're on the other side of healing, what hum, well, I mean, now that you're on the other side of healing, what do you feel affirmed you and your choice? And what would you tell women going through any type of health situation like, what should they listen to sooner? And be willing to make those shifts?
Sure, that's a great question. You know, it's it. It was very interesting how then the surgery happened. I am pretty funny when it comes to dates. And so I figured I would give myself the hysterectomy on my 45th birthday.
Yes, I remember. Laughing.
Yeah. That was my birthday present to me that year and the night before, you know, as you're going into surgery, and and you hear these things and, and kind of the topic or you know, that was sitting in my head for a little bit was you know, am I going to be less of a woman because these parts are going to be taken out? And you know that I think that has been a big topic when it comes to a hysterectomy is, you know, are you going to be less than and I think that plays into it. And I never felt that way. I felt that I was going to be more than. You know it was going to be a Change to bring me back to me and bring my light back because I know that I'm a shining person, you know?
Yeah. And I wasn't that. And so I remember, you know, the night before, taking time, and just saying, Thank you, thank you to my uterus, my ovaries and all the reproductive organs. And thank you for doing what, you know, in my timeline and my journey. What it was for me, right?
I was able to say thank you and you know, give it my piece. And then the next day I went in, and I had surgery, it was quick, they found some things in there. But when I got out of surgery, I felt, I mean, the minute I opened my eyes, I felt better. Like I sat in my hospital room, lights out, no TV on, nothing on and this was I remember, it was a blizzard. It was, you know, right around February 12. Right before everything shut down for COVID.
It was freezing. I remember it was iced out. And it was I mean, it was cold. And I just remember feeling, oh my gosh, I feel so much better. You know, I mean, even also could have been the morphine.
I just sat and I didn't turn anything on, not a light, not anything. And it was just thankful for the doctors, thankful for my body, thankful for now what was going to change, thankful for anything and just sat in it. We don't get a chance. Well, up until that point up until, you know, up until the pandemic, we a lot of us most of us didn't get a chance to just sit.
It was go, go, go, go. Yeah.
Always. And I was a go, go, go, go, you know. So...
But I do love like it's very full circle. I love that how you use stillness to find out what was the best direction for you. And then after the journey and the process and some of the hesitation to come back. You still wrapped your journey in stillness so that you held place for gratitude. So I love that stillness has been part of the process of finding out what to do being an action for it, even when the answers you're getting aren't ideal for your lifestyle and your family ultimately. And then taking action and then having that place of stillness just so you can steep in gratitude of where you are now.
So I think that's absolutely beautiful. So how are you feeling post healing and post surgery? Right thing to do?
Yeah, it's you know, yeah, I mean it's yes, there's there's many ups to uh you know, of course I always find that silver lining but yeah, like I was able to put on white jeans the other day and I don't have to worry about anything.
That is the silver lining. Yeah, we're in full fledge. I love it.
And you know, at its best had its ups and downs. I mean, we're still working on trying to figure out hormones or we're gonna move over to compound hormones. You know, it's been up and down where but it's not a bad journey for me, right. I write I'm okay with you know, it's I've gone through the bouts of depression, I've gone through the highs, I've gone through the lows, do we add estrogen? Do we add progesterone? Do I add vitamins, you know, it's gonna be a long journey. And I get that. It's, you're not gonna I mean, I physically feel better that I'm not anemic, that I'm not passing blood clots. That I'm not feeling bloated. But, you know, there's, and I've been able to be active and that kind of stuff. But I've got to really participate in my life. So I've got to get up, I've got to go on a walk or be physically active. And I know that that's kicking in different parts of my body that might not have been tapped into before. I was very, I was very conscious afterwards of the surgery and this was big for me is coming from being an athlete and being strong and being a go getter and being tough.
I had to not be tough, because this was the surgery was on the inside. So I can't see what's on the inside. So I had to really just be, and that, you know, and so for, you know, as we were just saying about the pandemic, I was about a month and a half right or a month before everything kind of shut down. So I was already in that place of quiet stillness. Just being, you know. And that was hard and different. But I was, you know, and we didn't know that that was coming, the shutdown was coming. So, you know, it was a different view for me. But I had had a couple injuries as well in my rotator and my arm and my neck where I had learned to be quiet and listen to my body. So with not knowing what was going on, on the inside, you know, I wanted to just let it heal, because the last thing I wanted to do was kind of revert back to where I was without being able to see or know what's going on on the inside. So it was very quiet and very, you know, I made sure and walked that I was able to do, but there was nothing else that I was really allowed to do. And I, I honored that. But it was it was both hard and a testament and, you know, when when we don't have that time to shut down or stop. You know, we have to keep going. You know, I was in a situation after I had my second kiddo that I had to be back at work after 10 days after having a baby. So, you know, there... There's no stop there, right? No, stop at all. There wasn't so you know, I was able to be thankful for this time. I was kind of interesting that it was flip flopped, you know?
And, and I remember going back to work like that second, first week of March. And I really understood the phrase. But your feet are the, pounding the pavement, okay, like when I was walking, as soon as I'd be done after about a half an hour, I was tired. Like it, I just pounding the pavement. That phrase really made sense. My insides were tired, I was tired. And to me that was like, Okay, I'm feeling all this again, it's a different kind of tired. I need to sit, I need to be. So, you know, I was very lucky that everything had kind of been shutting down because I had that opportunity to sit and be and rest.
It's almost like acclimating to what you needed, ultimately, for yourself. You know, I think that's actually the beautiful gift of midlife that sometimes maybe we overlook, because as our children become more capable and more independent, no matter what phase of parenting you're in, and we can then create space for ourselves. And I think we are in a time, I do believe that midlife is a time to kind of sit in steep, if you will. To listen to connect, and to honor. And to hold gratitude for what has been but also what's before us. And so I feel like your journey really does tie in all of those things. Because when we're in our 20s, and our 30s and career and children and you are pounding the pavement, but...
...midlife kinda let you maybe put those feet up on an ottoman and just kind of think about where you are. Be grateful for it. And I think most importantly, ponder about where you want to go. And so the things we have to adjust to make sure that we get there. So I think your story is very powerful that way, so I do appreciate you sharing it, Courtney.
I have two more questions for you. So if women want to continue to follow you listen to your story. And for me, what's your message, your coaching through? Well as your mindfulness and breathing practice, how can they get connected to you.
Yeah. I'm on Instagram, I'm on Instagram there. And mine's just very personal, very personal page. But please feel free to follow me and reach out to me, I love talking with people and sharing, you know, information and what I've been through. If it can help anyone and just that, just that space that I honor you exactly where you are. And you know, I'm, I love to be there for other people. And so my my you can find me on Instagram, @CPesek2975. And, you know, it's it's, I love to share about how I'm coaching either tennis or empowering women or, you know, through work and where I worked for Humana and I a part of a lot of different things there. And I absolutely am in love working there. It's just been such a great change, and such a wonderful journey. But yeah, you can find me there.
Well, I don't think people can have enough bright light in their life and you were definitely that. So hopefully I highly recommend following Courtney because it's good stuff there. And also Courtney, final question.
Let's do it.
How would you define zest in your life?
Oh, great question. That In my life? Zest in my life is being truly authentic. And truly authentic, for me, feels like a big, gold, shining light that goes from one end of the world to the other. And within that, and when I feel that way, I walk through the day with my head held high, my heart out wide, and laughter. And some days are harder than others, but I always know that I'm true to myself. And when I walk that strong, and that way, every day, the music plays, the smiles are there, my heart is wide open, and I've affected somebody's life. And that is my true alignment. And when I'm living in my true alignment, which I absolutely love to do, that's when I feel so full of zest and so full of love and compassion and, and just the joy of others brightens up, brightens up my life. And, and to me zest is just empowering and beautiful and kind and outgoing. And I think that is where I truly try to live.
Well Courtney, that is definitely your strut. So like I can attest to that being, being your friend, being able to spend time with you and connecting with you and also receiving your your love and your support. So you definitely walk that strut. . I am so my pleasure. I am so grateful that you took the time to share your story today. I really feel like there's some interesting nuances that will support other women in their journey as they go through perimenopause, menopause and maybe even having to face a surgery, like hysterectomy so that they can get back to their lives, doing what they love and being able to serve their family. So thank you so much, Courtney. I appreciate you.
Thank you for having me on. Thank you so much. And thank you to all the listeners who are tuning in.
I appreciate your presence and holding space for my passion of helping women rediscover the essence of who they are meant to be so they may live their life by chosen authenticity. If you enjoyed this episode, please like subscribe and share with someone that could use a little zest in their life today. Keep the good energy going by following me Ericka Bell on Instagram and LinkedIn @TheZestfulMovement. You're invited to sign up for our weekly newsletter that will help you become a part of ours Zesty Crew as you stay connected to the conversations. This will also allow you to gain access to some monthly special offerings created with you in mind. Go to www.TheZestfulMovement.com.