How a dire prognosis can change your life ... for the better!

October 01, 2023 Debra Jones RM with Cheryl Ilov Season 2 Episode 63
How a dire prognosis can change your life ... for the better!
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Show Notes Transcript

Tragic events can make or break us! Here's how one woman went from middle-aged princess to sword-swinging warrior queen!

Cheryl's website

The FemiNinja Project podcast

Debra Jones as a guest on The FemiNinja Project

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Debra Jones: Welcome to Own the Grey, a podcast to dispel the notion that aging is undesirable and setting new positive attitudes. I'm Debra Jones, and I believe you can be vibrant and healthy throughout the best years of your life. My next guest is busting the myths of aging. Cheryl Ilov is an author, speaker, and physical therapist who earned her graduate degree just three months shy of her 40th birthday. At 57, she became her teacher's first female black belt in the martial arts, and she hosts a podcast called The FemiNinja Project, where she shares helpful tips about personal empowerment, staying strong, and keeping safe. She authored two books. One titled Forever Fit and Flexible feeling Fabulous at 50 and beyond. There's a tongue twister, and The Reluctant Ninja, which documents her personal transformation journey from self proclaimed middle aged princess to warrior queen. She inspires and motivates others to find their own path to health and healing physically, mentally, and emotionally. And I'm pleased that she agreed to join us today on Own The Gray. Welcome to the podcast, Cheryl.

Cheryl Ilov: Thank you, Debra. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Debra Jones: You have an inspiring story that I'd like you to share with our listeners about how your most recent transformation started. And it's a story that began in your doctor's office. Could you share that with us?

Cheryl Ilov: Yes, I can. I will start at the very beginning. I was a fairly active, healthy young woman. Started ballet at an old age. At 19 or 20, when most women are stopping ballet, that's when I started. And I was a respiratory therapist working at a local hospital. I was a downhill skier. I was taking Pilates classes. Life was actually really pretty good until one day I felt some discomfort in my low back, and I thought, Well, I'll just ignore it. It'll go away, which is what we often do, right? So instead of going away, that discomfort actually spiraled into a full blown chronic pain syndrome that went from incapacitating, radiating pain in my back and down one leg all the way into my big toe. I didn't know it at the time, but that was sciatica. I didn't know my body that well. I was a respiratory therapist. I was pretty good at lungs and breathing and chest and blood flow, but I really didn't understand musculoskeletal. So I did what every person would logically do. I went to the doctor. They put me on three different medications muscle relaxers, pain relievers, anti inflammatories. They sent me to physical therapy. I did all the stretches, everything that I was told to do, but the pain got worse. So instead of going to my ballet classes, my Pilates classes, I was going to my doctor's appointments, my massage therapists, my physical therapists. And again, it just kept spiraling down and getting worse and worse until I had to cut back my hours at work. I couldn't do anything. And it got to the point where one day in my doctor's office, I was told that I would never be able to do my laundry and my grocery shopping all in the same day because the arthritis in my spine was so severe I would end up being bedridden. 

Debra Jones: Wow. 

Cheryl Ilov: And I looked at this doctor with - like it didn't compute. She was speaking a language I didn't understand. And I looked at her and I said, but you don't understand. I'm going to go back to ballet class. And she laughed in my face.

Debra Jones: Wow. 

Cheryl Ilov: And said, no, YOU don't understand. You are a chronic pain patient. You will always be a chronic pain patient. You will never have the life you had before or the life that you wanted. And even if you could do ballet, you're just too old. And she also knew that one of my goals was to go to physical therapy school, get an advanced degree. And she said, you can forget about physical therapy school because you are just way too injured and too broken. You could never do the work. And besides, you're just way too old.

Debra Jones: Wow. Okay, what's your reaction to that?

Cheryl Ilov: Well, it does get worse. Then she's told me that I better start applying for disability because I was going to need it. And I was 36 years old.

Debra Jones: Oh, wow.

Cheryl Ilov: Basically, she was telling me my life was over. She took away my hope, she destroyed my dreams, she shattered my spirit, and what a horrible thing to do to anybody. So I went home and I hit rock bottom. I didn't know what to do. Where do you go from there? And a few days later, I don't know what happened, but I got this, I call it a mental head smacking moment. I guess most people would call it an epiphany. But I realized, wait a minute, you don't have to accept this. You deserve better. Your husband deserves better. You need to take matters into your own hands. You need to figure this out on your own. It's all on you. And so I just got up off the floor and I said, okay, this is it. I fired my entire medical team, much to their chagrin. They were very upset about that because I needed them.

Debra Jones: Wow.

Cheryl Ilov: Yeah. They had to take care of me.

Debra Jones: Right, right.

Cheryl Ilov: And they told me, it's like, you're going to get hurt if you don't have us helping you. And I thought, well, can't get any worse than it is right now. This had been two and a half years. I was living that life. I stopped taking all the medications, cold turkey, and I already knew enough about movement as a dancer, even though late in life, figuring that one out. And I had taken so much pilates that I knew movement. So I decided to take mat lessons or exercises and I dissected them. I took them apart and I would just do itty bitty pieces of them every single day, I would get down on the floor, and I would really listen to the sensations that were going through my body as I was doing the movements. In a very mindful way, it's like, okay, this makes my pain worse. Don't do that. This makes my pain better. It was a long process. The only thing I added was acupuncture, which was very much magical, even though in my Western medical mindset, I thought, oh, my goodness, I can't believe I'm going to an acupuncturist. I hope nobody sees me walking into this office. But between the acupuncture and the mindful movement, it took about eight or nine months. But I was completely pain free. I was stiff, I was out of shape, I was overweight, but I was willing to accept that because I was no longer in pain.

Debra Jones: Wow. That is a very powerful story of self determination and rising to the challenge when all of your doctors are saying that's it for you. This is your prognosis. You didn't accept that prognosis.

Cheryl Ilov: And that was hard for me because, again, as a Western medicine, medically trained person living in that Western medical mindset, it was like, yeah, this is what you do. You do everything you're told. And boy, it was almost like a sense of betrayal. That the field that I was practicing in. Not only could they not help me, they were making me worse. A lot of different light bulbs in my head were turned on, and especially when the acupuncture ended up being so powerful, that really sent me on a path of being much more open minded, much more accepting, and exploring new ways of healing and moving and sensing and thinking. And it's just been ongoing ever since then.

Debra Jones: So I assume you're feeling much better.

Cheryl Ilov: Yeah, I'm feeling pretty darn good, because that was 30 years ago. I'm in my 60s, obviously, and I'm still well, still doing my martial arts. I train three days a week. I still do the occasional ballet class because I don't have a whole lot of time on my hands, because I picked up another art form, sport form that I'm very passionate about, and that is at the age of 58, I decided it was time to start engaging in more age appropriate activities. So I started pole dancing.

Debra Jones: Of course you did. How's that going?

Cheryl Ilov: It's going quite well. I did a performance on Sunday. I told you before, we recorded. My throat's a little raw from all the screaming and cheering on the other dancers. So it's been great.

Debra Jones: Yeah, that is fabulous. So you're working, helping people get through their physical challenges as well. I was listening to one of your podcasts. You were talking about how you kind of went out on your own shortly after that because you realized that you had some answers, that the system that you worked within didn't. And so what are you doing these days?

Cheryl Ilov: Well, I actually did once I graduated physical therapy school and realized I hated it. And then I thought, another one of those epiphanies mental, head smacking moments. Why did I think it was going to be any different than it was when I was a patient on the receiving end of it? So it took me another two years to figure that out and I thought, I can just open up my own practice and teach people the skills and the techniques that worked for me that I learned along the way. So I actually had my own office for 18 years and I closed it in 2017 for a variety of different reasons and then recently launched it, relaunched it online. So I do work with people online individually and I also teach classes and workshops here in Denver in person.

Debra Jones: And tell us about that FemiNinja Project. I love the name. What's it all about?

Cheryl Ilov: It is about overcoming obstacles, personal empowerment, restoring human dignity, finding your voice, standing your ground, alternative health and healing. And my personal favorite living well and looking good. Because living well and looking good is the best revenge.

Debra Jones: I love that. So you interview people who've got interesting stories of trauma and pain or success stories or both.

Cheryl Ilov: Both. All of the above. It's really interesting. And you as a podcaster understand that there's always a backstory to what people are doing. And once you kind of uncover that and you get to the backstory, there's a backstory to the backstory. And I find that people are so fascinating, especially when they say, I'm just nothing special. I didn't do anything extraordinary. I mean, I just did what I had to do. And even when people say to me, oh, you're such an inspiration, it's like, I don't see myself that way. I just did what I had to do. But if I step back and look at it from the perspective of somebody else, it's like, I guess that does sound pretty impressive. But we all have this incredible power inside of us and we all have stories of healing and stories of recovery and stories of having the rug pulled out from underneath us and then finding our way back to health, to wellness, to function, to fitness, be it physical, mental, emotional, psychological, financial. We all have that power within us. We just have to find that path. And a lot of my guests are able to share tips of how to get back on track.

Debra Jones: Right? It's that proverbial hero's journey, isn't it?

Cheryl Ilov: It is. And I never even heard that until recently. It was someone on my podcast and she said Hero's Journey and okay, that was the title of the episode.

Debra Jones: It's really what we're all on if we choose to be on the hero's journey, is that being in a position where you're disempowered to moving through it and then becoming the hero of your own life. And your story obviously is the hero's journey too. But I think we all have an aspect of that. So one area that I was really interested in talking about was the power of the mind in all of this, because there's been studies. The neuroplasticity is about how the brain changes and can relearn new habits and things like that. So how kind of a part does that play in the work that you do and in what has happened in your own life?

Cheryl Ilov: It is absolutely huge. Mindset is everything. And I used to be probably one of the most negative people you would ever meet. And that was just I don't know how that came about. If it was just the way I was raised, if it was just the work that I used to do as a respiratory therapist, I have no idea. It could have been the people, the friends that I had around me, one of them in particular who I did have to break up with after 30 years, and all of a sudden, TADA, life was better. So that's a really important point. Be very careful who you let into your inner circle. Very important. And yeah, the power of neuroplasticity is absolutely amazing. So, just to clarify again for the audience, that it's a fancy word that just merely means the scientific principle that our brain, our nervous system and our bodies, even our mind, our spirit, are incredibly malleable and flexible and plastique, and that we can interrupt patterns that are not serving us well. To introduce new patterns of moving, sensing, feeling, thinking during the entire course of our lifetime. That is, if you will pardon the pun, a no brainer, right? Of course we can do that. But here's the thing. Even when I was in physical therapy school and I graduated in 1996 with my master's, we were taught in all of our neurology classes that this incredible miracle of nature that we are born with disappears at the age of 14.

Debra Jones: Pardon.

Cheryl Ilov: Thank you. And it's like, okay, can I have my money back? Or at least a discount, I want a refund. Because it made no sense to me, even as a brand new physical therapy student, because I had that medical background. I had worked in a neurotrauma unit as a respiratory therapist, and I saw miracles happen where patients were declared either brain dead or you're never going to walk again. You're never going to do. But the power of the mind is so huge, which is let's go back to my story. When I was diagnosed with this chronic pain syndrome, and I kept hearing that over and over again. You're a chronic pain patient. Chronic pain patient, chronic pain patient. My brain was taking that message in, and our brain, our minds, our nervous system is always listening, and it's recording this information just like a computer. And if you hear that information often enough, your brain doesn't say, no, that's right. No, that's false. No, this is true. This is wrong. It just records it and shoots it back out at you. So eventually you believe that that's what you are.

Debra Jones: It's a self fulfilling prophecy, isn't it? It's going to happen because you believe it.

Cheryl Ilov: Absolutely. And even if you hear that message and it goes against your inherent belief system, that doesn't matter because it's in there and the brain is recording, it going to spit it back out. So that's another really important message here. Be careful. If somebody is putting a label on you, step away, because nobody has the right to do that. And it's really interesting because even friends and family, well, you're the actress, you're the dramatic one, you're the one that, no, don't let anybody do that.

Debra Jones: Yeah, totally. And it's so easily done and it's so easy for it to just run under the radar that it isn't until you get to a point where it's really causing a big problem in your life that you maybe get a kind therapist or a friend that really knows you very well, that might say something to you to make you think, just to question what's going on. Because when we get to that 50 mark, we've gone through a whole lifetime of living our life, and I believe that things shift at 50, and we do start to question things. Well, we can start to question things. It's not saying that we do. And it's at that point where the things that you believe about yourself, you get a chance to decide if it's true or not. And if it is, you continue doing what you've been doing. But if it isn't, there's a matter of giving yourself permission to do it differently. That's what I believe.

Cheryl Ilov: Well, here I know. I believe that completely. And I have to tell you, my life changed completely when I hit the big 50. I mean, it was so fantastic. And I think that you're right. You finally realize you feel comfortable in your own skin.

Debra Jones: Yeah.

Cheryl Ilov: And you wear it well.

Debra Jones: You can wear it well.

Cheryl Ilov: Yes, you can. The other thing that I learned when I was 50, it took me 50 until I learned how to say that one magic word. No, it is a magic word, and I highly recommend to the listeners, please include that in your vocabulary. And if I may digress a little bit, there's one word that if you remove from your vocabulary, your life is going to change completely. Please take away the word ‘sorry.‘

Debra Jones: Very good. And I was also thinking of the word ‘can't’ because you don't really need to use that word. There's always a way to do that, but yes, sorry. And the feminine approach of apologizing for who you are or what you want and asking for things, I know.

Cheryl Ilov: I mean, isn't that ridiculous? What are we so sorry for? Yeah.

Debra Jones: And even the idea of saying, I just want to is really would you expect that from a male, for instance? They'll go and go forward with what they want until they're stopped. But women will ask permission, 

Cheryl Ilov: And we.don't have to ask permission. There's another word that I took out of my vocabulary, and that word is ‘should.’

Debra Jones: Yes. Don't should on me.

Cheryl Ilov: No, don't should on me. You could. So could instead of should.

Debra Jones: Absolutely. So then, getting back to the FemiNinja Project, what is the art of ninja? Let's start there.

Cheryl Ilov: Thank you for asking. Okay, so, yes, I am a ninja. It's true. This is my ninja disguise the hair, makeup, and all that kind of stuff. I started training in this ancient Japanese martial art. It's a classic art called Nimpo taijitsu at the tender young age of 47. And I did not go willingly. I was pretty much kicking and screaming, not in a good way as they were dragging me onto the mat, because martial arts was never in my radar. It was not in my DNA, which I find fascinating because my father did have a black belt in karate, and he always tried to get my sisters and I to go to the gym with him to learn a few things. I mean, there were five of us. He had five daughters, so of course he wanted us to learn a few techniques, and it was like, OOH, God, that's never going to happen. Icky. Icky. Do. Well, I met a man when I was 44. He's an acupuncturist, and it was one of my clients. I was looking for somebody, a new acupuncturist, and she says, try mine. I really like him, blah, blah, blah, blah. And it was close to my office, and I thought, okay, I'll give him a try. Because I trusted her. She wouldn't send me to a crazy person. Well, so I walk into this office, and he's a nice enough guy. Get on the table. When he started sticking needles in my legs, he got a faraway look on his face, and he said, you know, with your legs and my coaching, I could teach you how to kill with these things, right? I mean, think about it. I'm laying there on the table going, who thinks like that, let alone says it out loud? And I thought, where's my purse? I got to get out of here. But he had me literally pinned to the table, so he had a captive audience. I wasn't going anywhere. So I just said, okay, well, hey, thanks a lot, but no, I'll just save my killer legs for ballet class. Going, this guy's insane. Well, I kept going back to him because I liked him, and there was something about him. He was a little off. He was a little strange, but I really liked him. And he kept talking about his art, the art of the ninja. He had a martial arts school right next to his clinic. It was kind of like a duplex type of situation. And I could see as I was waiting for my appointments, see his students going in and out. They were all guys. And they'd kind of wave or smile or bow to me as they were walking out the door. And it's like, well, this is kind of strange. But he just kept saying, you'd be so good at it. You would love it, blah, blah, blah. And I'm going, hey, that is never going to never, ever. Well, never say never. So anyway, his name's Mark. What he did not know is that just a few months before I met him, I had a very significant trauma, and it happened in a doctor's office. I walked into a doctor's office, a healthy, vibrant, 44 year old woman on top of the world. I was in great shape. I had my own clinic. Everything was going great, and I walked out. As a statistic. The man was a sexual predator. And for those of you who are listening, I know you might know what I'm talking about, because predators come in every shape, size, industry, profession. They are everywhere. And this man didn't even have to go looking for his victims. They just came walking into him. So me being the type of person I am, I thought, I'm going to fight this. I'm going to file a complaint. I'm going to get help for myself. I'm heal from this and move on. That's not what happened. When I tried to get help from everybody, including my closest friend, people close to me, they shut me down. That cannot happen. You're either making it up, you're looking for money, you're hysterical, you're exaggerating, you complain. I mean, it was so horrible the way that I was treated afterward. I understand now why women do not report sexual assault, because the way I was treated afterwards was probably even worse than the actual event itself, because to be so marginalized, demoralized, denigrated like that was absolutely horrible. So what I did is what a lot of women and men, because it happens to men too, took what happened. You stuff it deep down inside. You paste a big old smile on your face, and you pretend that everything is fine, even though it's really not. And what happened about a year and a half after the assault, I was triggered. Everything just came flying out of me, full blown PTSD. I'd been holding it in for so long, and of course, I had nowhere to go and no one to talk to, right? But I hadn't been going to Acupuncture because I hadn't been going anywhere except to treat my clients, to take care of my clients. So I just intuitively knew that Mark would listen to me. I don't know how I knew why I knew, but I went to him, and it had been a long time since he had seen me. I'd lost even more weight. He starts looking at me like, need a cheeseburger? And I told him what happened, and he said, okay, and he's telling me how he's going to treat with shiatsu, the acupuncture points, the Chinese herbs. So he's starting to work on me. And he got this look on his face. I mean, it's really funny. His facial expressions never change, even now to this day, but you can always tell when he's really upset because his eyes kind of like, turn black. He's got these beautiful grayish hazel eyes, and he looked at me and his eyes were completely black. And he said, you know, it's no secret you're one of my favorite people. And the fact that somebody did this to you makes me want to go find him and hurt him, and hurt him so bad he never gets up again. And I thought, okay, that's a little scary. But on the other hand, oh, my God, it was just the first time in a year and a half that somebody listened to me, not listened to me. He really heard me. But from that moment on, his campaign to get me on the mat went into high gear. And I kept saying, I don't understand how hanging out in a smelly dojo with a bunch of sweaty men is going to help me heal and help me feel better. Well, it took him another two years, so a total of three years until he finally I thought I was stubborn. He's even more stubborn than I am. He finally wore me down, and I said, okay, I'm going to take a few classes to prove to you how much I'm going to hate it, and then I'm going to quit.

Debra Jones: And we know that didn't happen, and.

Cheryl Ilov: The rest is history.

Debra Jones: Oh, my goodness. I wasn't aware of that trauma story, and I really do thank you so much for sharing it with such grace as well. And it is very apparent that you did actually heal from that, because through your voice, there is no victim feeling. There is just simple empowerment. That kind of leads me to you obviously know how to move beyond trauma to being victorious. And so are there any tips that you can share? If any of our listeners are in that state where they don't really feel very powerful, but they're not willing to accept where they are, but they don't know what to do next, is there anything that you can share with them?

Cheryl Ilov: First of all, you have my heart and my soul. I'm with you. Sister, brother, whomever is listening, I understand what you're going through. It will get better. It can get better. What I would really recommend is, number one, just be careful who is surrounding you, who is either and I'm using air quotes here, supporting you or helping you, because the friends that I had were actually just beating me down rather than lifting me up until I had to just get rid of them. So be very careful of who you are surrounding yourself with and what they are telling you be very careful of what you are telling yourself. You can look in the mirror and you can see a victim, or you can look in the mirror and you can see a warrior. And I know there's a warrior in each and every one of us. We were born with the spirit of a warrior, my goodness, especially as women. And that's one thing that Mark kept trying to tell me. He know women are the most powerful of all warriors. And it's like, yeah, right, look at me, I'm just a train wreck here. But I know that that spirit is in each and every one of us. It's just something we were born with. So find a way to find and reawaken that warrior. And I know you do a lot of meditation and guided meditation. You could even in the meditation, just find that kind of spirit and you can try moving. Pay attention to how you move. Start lifting your chest up. Lift your head up. Stand in a way that is really strong and powerful. Feel your feet connecting with the ground. And so stand with one foot a little bit more in front of the other and just feeling that lift. And then feel the center. Your Dantian, your Dantian, your Hara, the chakra, I'm not sure which one it was, which one it is. If you can feel that and move from there, there is nothing in this world that can take you down. That force is so strong.

Debra Jones: Yeah, your sacral chakra is right there where your power is. So it's sort of between your root and your solar plexus. Your solar plexus is where the power is. But the Hara is just below your navel, isn't it?

Cheryl Ilov: And that's the grounding that you really get. And that's the thing that once the rug is pulled out from underneath us and you feel like you're in a free fall and that's what it does feel like. The ability to find that grounding, whether it's in standing, in sitting wherever that is so incredibly important, as well as the power of your breathing and just really slowing your breathing down and paying attention to the flow. As a former respiratory therapist, I used to poo poo all of that. It's like just get the air in and out and that pretty much was my job. But the power of the breath can really slow down. It calms your nervous system. It takes you out of that fight or flight response and back into your parasympathetic nervous system, which is where we want to live. I think that society, and even in my case, and I'm not bitter about it, it's just, isn't that interesting that even after the assault, when I was trying going to therapy and trying a few other things, that the therapists were almost keeping me in that victim mentality. And even once said, I'm impressed that you're so angry and why are you so angry? And I'm like. Well, who wouldn't be angry? She said, well, no, you should be afraid. You should be scared. You should be this. And I'm like, there's that should word. Don't you tell me what I should and should not, especially what I'm feeling. And that's why once I finally broke down and went to the dojo and started taking classes, it was like, AHA, this is it.

Debra Jones: That is a very inspiring story. My throat was going. Let me back up… As far as what you've seen with the clients that come to you, how much does age play in this journey of being able to believe that you can overcome things?

Cheryl Ilov: That is a fascinating question. Thank you for bringing that up. I don't think the age as a number has something to do with it. It is the mentality that the person has about their age. I'll give you an example. When I was in my 20s, even late 20s, early 30s, even before my chronic pain syndrome, I felt like I was really old. I felt like, this is it. My life is almost over. Is that crazy? But I felt like that, and I think a lot of it had to do with going to ballet class with all these little teenagers and that kind of thing, and even society and societal. And then, of course, my doctors telling me once I did have that pain syndrome, how old I was. And of course, as we get older, we all have aches and pains. I really think there's a revolution going on from the people that I talk to on my podcast and even the people that in the poll studio. Okay, I'm 66. There's a woman who's 72, and she performed on Sunday as well. I know there's a new generation. We baby boomers are setting the stage, and I think that we're examples for the younger generations of this. Isn't your grandma's 60, 70? And so that's basically another reason why I do some of the crazy things that I do. So I do see people who are quite young that think, well, I am too old to do this, I'm too old to do that. And I've been told by my therapists, I can't do weights anymore. I had a lovely young woman that I worked with who was 40 when I worked with her, and she knew that she couldn't do ballet anymore. And I said, you're a ballet dancer. You never told me that. And she says, well, maybe I can get back to yoga, because her injuries, but I can't do this, I can't do that. She worked with me for a while, and we ended up taking ballet classes together. They were killer classes. And every time we were in class together, she would thank me, and I'm like, don't thank me. You did it yourself. You did the work. But she just had to flip that switch because she had had a terrible injury to her jaw. A lot of surgery. And of course, she was told by all her surgeons. I mean, it was a nightmare. And it's like, if you want to do it, do it. So it's just amazing.

Debra Jones: That's beautiful. So then you've done all of those things. You've written two books. Here's a question. What kind of legacy are you wanting to leave?

Cheryl Ilov: Wow. I think I want to leave a legacy of indomitable spirit, of unlimited power and total badassery.

Debra Jones: I think you're already there.

Cheryl Ilov: I hope so.

Debra Jones: And where can people find you?

Cheryl Ilov: You can go to my website, CherylIlov.com, so you can learn a little bit more about me. If you go to my blog, you can get some tips on little fit tips, that type of thing. You can also have access. If you sign up for my newsletter, you get access to three recordings. I call it meditation through movement. They're actually just movement lessons to help awaken the mind body connection. They're very small, 20 minutes easy to do. I offer complimentary, 30 minutes consultations. So people who want to even just ask more either about my healing journey or how I might be able to help them. I don't necessarily have to work with people, but if you have questions, I might be able to guide you in the right direction, especially for the listeners. If you're thinking about drawing a martial art, which I highly recommend, you want to make sure you get into the right studio and the right art. So if you have any questions about that, I would be happy to tell you what to look for, what to avoid, that type of please, you know, do send me an email. We can schedule a consultation. I'm on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and then go to check out my FeminiNinja Project. I also have a FemiNinja Project website that's totally cool. It has a nice tiger on the front of it and she slowly moves across the screen. So that's just the femininjaproject.com. 

Debra Jones: Beautiful. And I'll put all of those in the show notes. And I would like to thank you. It was a wonderful conversation, very inspiring. And now I'm going to make sure that I stand in that ninja pose for the rest of the day. Thank you.

Cheryl Ilov: Well, thank you for having me, Debra. It was wonderful talking to you, and it's an honor to be on your show. And I would love if you would be a guest on mine as well and share your story with all of my listeners.

Debra Jones: That's wonderful.

Cheryl Ilov: I would love to.

Debra Jones: Well, I did appear on Cheryl I love podcast. Check out episode 274 of the FemiNinja Project. There's a link in the show notes.