“When you knock me down I get back up again”
December 10th 2018 is a day I will never forget. Just three days before, after having found a lump in my breast in the shower, I went from a breast exam with my OBGYN to having an ultrasound and biopsy done on a mass in my right breast. December 10th, at 8pm at night, my phone rings and it’s my OBGYN telling me how sorry she is. That it’s cancer. I was 32 years old. With no family history. With a 21 month old daughter. And for better or worse, life was never going to be the same.
I went through 5 months of biweekly then weekly chemo, a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction, followed by 6 1/2 weeks of radiation every day. And I’m happy to say that I am no longer living with cancer.
But treatment isn’t like they show in the movies or on TV. Medication had my nausea handled pretty well. Instead extreme fatigue was my major side effect. I didn’t have the energy or physical ability to work out (my red blood cell counts tanked just like my white blood cells, because of one of my chemo drugs, so I was constantly out of breath and could only walk for exercise). That coupled with the steroids to manage nausea and the fact that doctors tell you to eat whatever you can eat all meant that instead of loosing weight, I actually gained about 15 - 20 lbs. Couple this with my different breasts, body, and changing hair (I was bald for about 8 months and am only now really starting to have enough hair to style) and I haven’t really felt like myself since December 10th 2018.
My job (high school teacher) and now 3 year old keep me busy but not as active in terms of working out as I’d like to be in order to regain some of my confidence in my body. A Peloton bike would give me the freedom to work out at home with my daughter close by and would enable me to not only get back to feeling good about myself physically, but also give me some of the physical strength I lost back.
Cancer brought out more inner strength than I thought I had, but I want to get that outer strength back too.