Prior to the autumn of 2010, I considered myself a very healthy person. I was always physically active – a runner and a cyclist who had also just gotten into Zumba. From dawn to dusk, I just could go, go, go! But my health took a frightening turn on September 29, 2010.
While undergoing a routine, annual mammogram, my doctor saw two suspicious lumps in my left breast. I tried to remain optimistic over the next few days as I went through multiple x-rays, ultrasounds and an MRI. But on a sunny Monday afternoon less than a week later, as I stood looking out my kitchen window, my physician called with the terrible news – I had lobular carcinoma in situ, a condition of the milk glands which puts you at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
I typically bring in the New Year with a bang, but I started 2011 with an exhausting regimen of medical activity. It seemed as though whenever I started feeling better another treatment was just around the corner. My energy level was at an all-time low, so I couldn’t do the athletics things I used to enjoy. I had no appetite, so I lost a lot of weight. Then, to complicate matters even further, another condition led to surgery on my right foot. I needed to wear a brace for the rest of the year.
By the end of 2011 I was tired of being in doctors’ offices, tired of feeling crappy and frustrated that I had gained 20 pounds of additional weight.
Despite it all, I am excited about 2012 and being a Choose You contest winner. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to fly to Los Angeles to train with fitness expert, Holly Perkins. Choosing You is important, but it’s definitely a challenge trying to carve time out for yourself, especially when you’re sick. I must say though, what I went through over the previous year has given me a whole new perspective.
I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true – remaining positive and hopeful helps get you through! I’m Choosing Me this year because it would make no sense to be miserable. I have friends that have survived cancer, and are now cancer free. But I also admire the true warriors, those that are fighting terminal cancers; who inspire me to “keep on keeping on” and to be thankful for the life I have left to enjoy. That’s something each of us can do, cancer or no cancer.
I was 53 when I was diagnosed, and the disease took me right into menopause. I may not be able to do everything I used to, but I can develop a new schedule starting from this point on.
The two-day training with Holly Perkins helped me develop a strategy to get my fitness routine back on track. There are definitely limitations – my right foot is still healing and because of my breast condition I cannot do a lot of lifting and stretching. But, I’m not letting that hold me back from learning a new routine and getting the year off on the right foot (literally).