In this, my first post, I want to introduce myself and share some of my personal story. While my own journey was not always smooth, and there were many challenges along the way, I experienced many positives that I hope to share with other women.
Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer is probably at the top of the list of every woman's worst fears, and it certainly was on mine. The reasons why are both obvious and varied. We wonder, what kind of cancer do I have? Will I undergo a lumpectomy or mastectomy? Do I carry the BRCA gene mutation? Will I need radiation and/or chemotherapy? What if I am HER2-positive? Will I need hormone therapy? What is my prognosis? The list goes on and on.
In April of 2012, I asked all of these questions and more. While I was frightened, I was also determined to be strong and brave as I underwent a double mastectomy, 12 consecutive weeks of chemotherapy, two additional reconstructive surgeries and a year of Herceptin treatments. I was lucky to be surrounded with love and support from family, friends and colleagues, as well as a wonderful team of doctors.
As a personal trainer, I was healthy and fit prior to my diagnosis and I made it my mission to stay that way throughout the course of my surgeries and treatments. While there are many resources today for breast cancer patients, I found that there was a serious lack of available information when it came to appropriate exercise recommendations and nutritional guidance for women undergoing and emerging from surgery and treatment. And, thus, I sought to create my own program to address these needs.
Utilizing some of the knowledge I acquired during my 20 years working in the health and fitness industry, I also sought additional education. I obtained a Cancer Exercise Specialist Certification from the Cancer Exercise Training Institute, and designed a routine that allowed me to improve flexibility, range of motion and strength, all of which had been compromised by surgery and treatment. I also found that my appetite and nutritional needs had changed. I proceeded to develop a balanced and healthy way to eat, designed around my special circumstances.
I would now like to share my experiences, together with the knowledge that I have developed over the course of my journey.
I hope that you join me. Please feel free to contact me if you have anything to share, if you have any suggestions for me, or if there is anything you think that I can help you with, as you continue on your own journey.
Welcome to all of the beautiful women fighting (and beating) breast cancer! Journey to Wellness LLC is the culmination of my imaginings during the past 18 months following my own diagnosis. This website is created so that we can share experiences, insights and information regarding fitness, nutrition and ways to continue to feel and look well throughout our journeys with breast cancer.