On January 16th, 2001 I was given the choice to give in or fight.
I was 33 years old and pregnant with my second child when I received a Stage 3 Breast Cancer Diagnosis. Over the course of 12 months I went through chemotherapy, a cesarean section, a radical mastectomy, radiation, more chemotherapy, and finally a bilateral reconstruction. All with a 4-year old daughter and a newborn son at home. In my mind, there was a line that divided the sick from the healthy, and I couldn't cross that line.
As a personal trainer and athlete, I fought my illness through exercise and staying positive. Being both pregnant and bald, I caught the attention of people young and old. While my supporters applauded my every move at the gym with admiration, I only wanted to be on the sidelines with them in their attractive athletic wear.
My story is not unique. 1 in every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Survival rates are improving, and there is strong evidence that physical activity plays an important role in “beating” the disease. The scars from cancer last forever. For some, like me, the emotional scars of cancer are just as difficult to deal with as the physical scars.
16 years later and I am not only a survivor and a winner, I am a business owner and an encouragement. My diagnosis has pushed me to limits I never believed I would be faced with and I am oh so thankful. I now get the opportunity to encourage so many women who are faced with the same diagnosis.
In just a few months I will be joining my close friend, Kelly McLean and several other women affected by breast cancer on a trip to North Carolina for the Cincinnati Breast Cancer Survivors Outward Bound Course. Kelly is bringing together women who have fought hard and dirty. Women that were turned into warriors. This trip will serve as a reminder to all of us how worth it that hard-as-hell fight was. There are still three spots left and the trip is fully funded. Interested? You can learn more here.