Cancer. I could write about the fear, the pain, the unknown, but isn’t that what everyone writes about? How painful it is to tell their spouse, children, family and friends? Yes, it is all that, but it is nothing like what it is to live the life of having cancer, the unknown of your own life’s existence. You find out you have cancer and then need to decide almost immediately how you’re going to fight it. Will I fight it no matter the odds or just go through the motions feeling sadness and pity? It is a tough decision for some. The road is long, hard and extremely isolating. You feel lonely, even when you are surrounded and supported by loved ones.
Health and fitness have been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. Every single day I participate in some sort of physical activity, rain or shine! It is a challenge I love to put myself through every day. I have been a member of Crossfit West Chester for the past nine years and have attended the same class, with the same people almost every single day. I have a family, a career and a busy life, but the thought of giving this up for an entire year was terrifying to me, for many reasons. What was I going to do during a pandemic? Drink wine and shop online? Or, focus on cancer by succumbing to the fear and staying in bed? There is nowhere to go and nothing to do for so many hours a day, my career up in the air and the list
goes on and on. The problem is, cancer does not wait for the answers to these questions. It just keeps on going, so that is what I decided to do too.
Just six days after my bilateral mastectomy, I walked my first 2 miles. My initial thoughts were…wow, I am so lucky my daughter Kelsey is home from college (due to Covid) so I have someone to walk with, and walking is not running – this cannot be exercise.
By week two, I was up to 3 miles at a good pace and I convinced Kelsey that she too was now a walker, not a runner. We were logging miles and listening to music and podcasts. We had all the time in the world. Week three, we were holding steady at 3 miles. I was listening to Spotify and I heard a song that I had never heard before, and it made me want to start running! The words and the beat inspired me unlike anything I had ever heard before. I am not a big “pop” fan, but who does not love a little Jennifer Lopez? She got me at “look at me, I’m limitless”. An entire song about how you can be limitless, in an uplifting dance beat. This was the biggest promise I had made to myself. I was not going to give up and feel sorry for myself, this was a fight, not a fright! I have a family, two children and a husband. I needed to show them I could do this.
As JLo sings:
I told myself I had to be a different someone
In order to win at a war I had already won
Yeah, I get it all from the saying I’ll never give up
But look at me now
Yeah, look at me, I’m limitless
Look at me now
Yeah, look at me, I’m limitless
I decided on that day back in April that this would be my mantra. I was limitless. My mind, spirit and soul would not give up. Cancer may have started the story, but I was going to finish it and JLo was giving me some major encouragement along the way.
Each morning I wake up, have my coffee, and start work. When noon time rolled around it was time to put on my sneakers, drag Kelsey and my dog Charlie out the door, and get moving! It is fall now and I am still at it (minus Kelsey – she’s back at school), but when I started, whether it was a chemo week or now, a radiation day, nothing is going to stop me. I always say the
alternative is to not be able to walk, and I am lucky to have this day to enjoy! I made it home (from the hospital). I made it known (I will do this everyday). I am here to stay (as long as God gives me, I will not waste one day).
At 33 weeks in, I have logged over 700 miles in my Adidas Ultra Boost (that my son said I HAD to get) and up to 5 miles a day. My sculpted, strong arms are long gone, my squat below parallel, a thing of the past, and I may never run an 8 minute mile again. However, every morning me and JLo start the day right. Positively, no matter what I am faced with, I want my children, family and friends to know I faced it with bravery and dignity. I want them to know that I will fight the war against cancer with everything I have, with a smile on my face because I am limitless!