In May of 2020, I found a suspicious lump under my armpit. I went to my family doctor who ordered a mammogram and an ultrasound. However, the results revealed that the lump was “not suspicious” and to return for a checkup in 3 more months. I will forever be grateful for my family doctor who, instead, suggested a biopsy to “put my mind at ease”.
On June 25th, I received the dreaded call that I had breast cancer. I was in shock. How could this happen to me? I was only 30 years old and was about to get married in 2 weeks. I lived and breathed health and fitness. I ran or went to the gym everyday, and was always so careful about what I ate. It was then that I learned that cancer does not discriminate – it doesn’t care how old you are or how good of shape you are in.
In the summer of 2020 I had a double mastectomy, followed by 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 21 rounds of radiation, finishing in March 2021. Throughout this past year, I have lost so many things including my breasts, my hair, and my ability to have children. One aspect of my life that I felt that I still had control over was my fitness. I did not want to lose that, too. It scared me to think of myself (an otherwise healthy 30 year old) as a sick, cancer patient. I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me as I laid on my couch all day. I wanted to run. So I did.
Throughout my many rounds of chemotherapy, I continued to run 3 or 4 times a week. It wasn’t always easy to get myself out there (especially on the cold and snowy days), but whenever I left for a run, I always returned in a better mood. To me, running was my therapy. When I ran, I had my best thoughts. I may not have been running as fast or as far as I normally could have, but by getting out there, I felt strong, powerful, and more in control of my life.
Just a few days after I was diagnosed, Theresa and her sister Maria came to visit me and give me a little pep talk. They were so positive, motivational and uplifting. After Theresa left, I really did feel like I could conquer cancer. I was so honoured when she approached me about being involved in ONERUN this year. I am forever grateful for all of the research that was done before me, giving me such a great prognosis. I want to help raise awareness for other young women who find themselves in a similar situation.