How my faith, family, friends, and fitness helped me in my fight with breast cancer.
Hi everyone, my name is Amber. I’m 46 years old from Elk Grove, CA. I’m a mom of 2 beautiful kids that I homeschool. I’m married to an amazing man of 21 years this January.
First, my Christian faith throughout this last year is what has been the key to my spiritual strength, physically and mentally. It has given me consistency and endurance over this last difficult year.
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” - Philippians 4:13
For most of my life I’ve been active. As an adult I’ve always been a member of the local gym. Right now its 24-Hour Fitness. For me, working out is natural, it’s a stress reliever, it's my outlet and it has the added benefit of helping me stay fit.
In March 2018, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I will never forget that day. Prior to the “phone call,” I’d felt a lump in my breast. I went in and was referred to have an ultra sound, then a biopsy which confirmed my worst fears.
I tried to compose myself as I explained it to my husband. I hadn’t even processed what I just heard from the doctor. I just broke down and cried. I cried for days as I worried will I be here to see my kids grow up.
Over the next several days, I was flooded with support from my church and friends, and I began to feel that God would see me through. My faith had given me the strength to lift my head up and look for hope.
With that, I began my normal routine of waking up and hitting the gym early, even though my emotions were a wreck. It made me feel normal a little bit and I used that time to think, to pray, to be thankful. Day by day, my hope started growing and I became encouraged that I’d be ok.
After that initial diagnosis, MRI’s, and PET scans, I was being treated with chemo about a week or two later.
I had 6 rounds of chemo which lasted about 6-7 hours every 3 weeks. I would be sick for about 4-5 days, but I told myself if I can be at the gym even if all I can do is walk very slowly, I was going to be there!
Honestly, I didn’t expect to feel so weak. However, I pushed through it. It gave me incentive and a goal and something to focus on other than this disease. I was embarrassed initially because I wasn’t sure how people would respond to me. To my surprise, mostly people were amazed that I seemed like I hadn’t skipped a beat. My goal was to try and maintain some of my muscle and endurance.
I finally finished my last chemo on July 20, followed by surgery in August, and as I write this, I’m in my last of 6 weeks of radiation therapy. I had months of fatigue, days where it was difficult to walk, digestion and diet issues, but my fitness routine and learning how to be even more diligent with a healthy diet have been the key to my success.
My goals have gone from just seeing a number on the scale to being thankful for my strength and endurance overall.