Welcome to my blog, all about inspirational people with amazing stories to share and who have fought their way to their goals and dreams.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cancer to Buff: Jill Tellefsen-Crean's Amazing Story

My Friend Jason Adams who also did an interview on my blog told me about Jill. She truly has an amazing story about surviving cancer.  Jill also just completed the NPC East Coast Oct 2nd and placed 2nd in Figure C open, and 5th place in Masters Figure 35+

Q. Where are you from?
I am from Bergen County NJ!  I grew up in Old Tappan...I am currently living in Pearl River, NY which is only about 10 min from where I grew up.  I guess I didn't get very far!  LOL!

Q. Do you have any children?
I do not have any children.  I have 2 cats and 2 hampsters that I call my children.
Q. How long have you been physically active for?
 I had always be physically active, from basketball in elementary school to track in high school.  I ran 100m, 200m. Did high jump and long jump.

Q. Were you always into working out?
No. Actually I wasn't.  My sister tried to rope me in a couple times, but I was more into hanging out with my friends and shopping. Working out didn't come into the picture until I turned 30!  I was out of shape, eating horribly, and overweight...I wasn't happy with myself any longer.  I decided its my 30th and its time for change...and Change I did!  I am 5'7". And when I started I was 168lbs and 32% BMI and I wore a size 10/12. I ate taco bell and boston market and mcdonalds!  UGH...thinking about it now makes me sick...I completely turned my life and physique around!  People must realiz you can't just "diet". Its about life style change. Making the proper choices and sticking with it. There is no quick easy solution..if there was everyone would be fit.  Its a journey...and a very fulfilling one if you choose to follow it!

 Q. How long have you been competing for and how many competitions have you done?

I starting competing about 5 years ago!  I was prepping for my wedding and my trainer at that time told me I looked great and should give figure a try.  I never thought I could get up there, much less belong on that stage. But I got excited. It lit something inside me, so I did one. 2 weeks before my wedding no less and I got 3rd place..and that was that :).  I have done 4 shows. My 5th one is coming up this Saturday October 2nd. I am doing the NPC East Coast. I will be in Figure Open- C class, and Masters Figure-C class.

Q. What is your favorite cheat meal?
ANYTHING chocolate!!! LOL. But I also enjoy a really good burger and french fries and my husband's homemade pizza and chocolate chip pancakes!!!

Q. What do you do for a living?
I am a 911 operator/police dispatcher for a police dept in Suffern, NY.  I have been a dispatcher for the past 23 years.

Q. How do you balance your high stress job, family and keeping a strict work out schedule?
Balance is key!!  I am very obessive compulsive, and very strict and stick to my schedule.  I work the 3x11 tour, so my workouts are done first thing, followed by food shopping and food prep. I then shower and head to work.  After work I hang with the hubby and play with my pets. On my days off I do my chores, hang with my family and friends, and just relax!

Q. You are a 2x cancer survivor. When did you have this disease?
I was 22 years old when I was first diagnosed with cancer. That time, I had Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. I had a 6 inch tumor between my heart and my lungs.  I had to go through 6 months of chemo and 6 weeks of radiation..and knock wood..have been in remission from it since!

I was 39 when I was diagnosed with cancer yet again. Apparently cancer likes my genes...lol. This time Ovarian Cancer.  I had Borderline Serus Tumor.  So this time there was no chemo and no radiation..I did have to have a complete hysterectomy but my surgeon got all the cancer, and once again I am in remission.  I thank God everyday when I wake up to be here and be living a healthy active life.

Q. How did fitness help you through these tough times?
The first time I was diagnosed I was not into fitness.  I tried to join a gym, but the gym would not sign me up because my doctor said my heart rate could not get up too high and because I could go into heart failure so they kind of freaked out and turned me away.  The second time I had cancer I firmly believe if I wasn't in as good a shape as I was I never could have bounced back so quickly.  I was back at work 3 weeks after my hysterectomy, and back in the gym on the treadmill about 2 weeks after as well :)

Q. Who are the people that helped you through all of this?
My husband Michael, my family and my friends have helped me through all of this. I am grateful for everyone in my life. I am very blessed to have such a great support system.

Q. How do you think fitness and a healthy lifestyle changed your life?
I think it changed my life style for the better.  I am in the best shape of my life. Both physically and mentally I am better at 42 then I was at 22!! 

Q. How important do you think physical activity and healthy eating is for everyone out there?
I think its very important.  Too many people are sedentary as are children now a days. Sitting in front of the tv or computer rather then outside playing ball or riding bikes with their friends.  Everyone looks at the size of things and they supersize everything instead of eating a normal portion of food.  Most people don't even realize what it is they are putting in their mouths!  They should read labels and eat healthy meals. Make smarter choices.  We are an obese nation and if you look around at all the fast foods and processed foods and gigantic portions you will see what I am talking about. And not just with foods but drinks as well! All those sugary coffee drinks, or smoothies.  And certain protein bars, people are eating these thinking they are healthy but a snickers bar would be a better choice then to certain bars out there. Ok...I will stop with my food rant for now :)

Q. Does your story help inspire people in your life?
You know that's a good question..I'm not quite sure! LOL. Though my sister Lynn tells me she is inspired by me, as does my husband Michael, and my girlfriend Grace and Beth, and Jillian....so I guess I would have to say yes!!

Q. What advice do you have for our readers who give up when something horrible happens?
That life is unpredictable and ANYTHING can happen. Both good and bad.  Just think about your goals and how badly you want something.  Gripe. Complain get it out. Then pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get right back up!!  Its sounds easy but its not. But from someone who has been there numerous times, believe me. If you want it bad enough you can and will do it!  The human spirit and will is amazing!!


  1. Great interview!

    You're always a winner because of your positive attitude, your optimism over adversity and in-life and of course, your ability to make the people around you feel good.


  2. Jill I am so proud of you. I am honored I have interviewed you, happy to suggest you to Angelique, and extra happy you did this with her. I have said over and over when I gorw up I want to be Jill Crean and I mean that. YOu truly are an inspiration and not just because of what you overcame, but because of who you are and who you will become.

  3. No excuses, you are a true inspiration!