Jessica M, cancer survivor since 2005
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March of 2005. After a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation, my body was exhausted and I was looking for a way to build up energy and get my body (and thereby my mind) back into shape. During the period that I was undergoing chemotherapy, my husband had showed me an article on Team Survivor in The Hills Fitness Center’s newsletter.
In the Spring of 2006, I joined Team Survivor to train for the Danskin triathlon. The last time I had done a triathlon was in the early ‘90s and even before I got sick, doing a triathlon would have been a major challenge for me. However, knowing that my team mates were probably going to be at the training, I challenged myself to make it to at least one swim training and one biking class a week (which was easy to do as classes were offered at The Hills Fitness Center, the Jewish Community Center and at Body Business North). If I would have trained for the triathlon with another “regular” group, I probably would have found many excuses not to make it to their various work-outs as I had been sick and they had not. However, all my Team Survivor teammates had gone through similar experiences at one time or another, and none of them were complaining, so I really could not find a valid excuse not to make the training sessions. No-one was pushing or forcing me to go to the work-outs, but the positive attitude and support I received made me want to go.
My goal at the Danskin was to just finish it (even if it meant walking my bike up that steep hill at the end of the ride), and I very proudly met that goal. There is no way I could ever have done this without the support of my teammates and the incredible coaches who so graciously donate their time to us (and of course my husband and kids who formed a great cheerleading squad). Sally Edwards’ inspirational talk the day before the race at the Survivor breakfast was also a very special “treat”.
Team Survivor is made up out of an incredible group of strong, supportive women with a very positive “can do” attitude. Joining Team Survivor was the best thing I could have done after I finished my treatment because (1) it allowed me to (physically and mentally) integrate back into a “normal” life faster, and (2) it gave me the feeling that I was actively protecting myself against any recurrence of cancer by exercising and making my body stronger. In addition, my teammates are a great resource for me as many of the women have gone through similar experiences as I went through. I look forward to many more years of training with Team Survivor.
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