November 14th, I was proud to be part of the 2 year anniversary celebration of Core Revolution, the indoor cycling studio where I have taught since the doors opened in 2016. Sarah Guseilo, the founder of Core Revolution, hired me to be an important part of her opening staff despite my “condition” at the time. Sarah believed in me as I was going through my treatment for Stage 2 Breast Cancer. She gave me the opportunity to be powerful and supported me at a time when I could have regressed, but I chose to do otherwise.
As often as I say that I refuse to let Cancer define me, I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that I’m scared every day of my life that the cancer will return. I never lead with my cancer story and quite often even those closest to me will say “I forgot you went through that”, but there are three obvious things that are a daily reminder to me of my cancer journey.
First, my tattoos. Sadly, I have three. If you’re a fan forgive me but I’ve never embraced “permanent” anything. No, I don’t have a Rose, an Anchor or “This too shall pass” written on my forearm. I have three small green dots that guided my radiology techs for 28 days as they positioned my breast and lymph nodes for treatment. They are there, forever.
My second reminder is the approximately 2 inch, gray shadowed dent in my left breast, the result of the lumpectomy and radiation. This is the scar I can and will live with as long as it is a sign of health and recovery.
And last but not least, my crazy, curly hair. I typically blow out and straighten my hair when going out but those of you who have seen me post yoga, post cycle or post menopause driven night sweats have witnessed what Tamoxifen can do. The summer before I was diagnosed, oncologists increased the oral chemotherapy prescription from a 5 year to a 10 year commitment. Because the oral dosage is a lot less than the IV doses, hair loss is highly unlikely. What they don’t tell you is that the oral chemo can change the shape of your hair follicle and in my case the change took about 12 to 16 months and resulted in root to tip ringlet curls. Some days I just embrace my crazy hair as a celebration of life and doing everything I can to live a happy one.
My cancer journey was easy. I never felt sick. I drove myself to my treatments. I continued to teach my cycling and fusion classes and I did everything I could to remain positive and focused on health.
Two years ago a young girl opened an exciting new business and two years ago an older girl did what she needed to do to beat Cancer. That older girl is stronger than she’s ever been thanks to the support and love of her workout peers, friends and family. Congratulations Sarah. Cheers to Core Revolution and Cheers to ME for being Cancer Free.
Not feeling the need to demonstrate the tattoos or dent, but here is photo proof of Tamoxifen at work.