It’s almost October, and that means Breast Cancer Awareness. My name is Rebecca Eades and I’m a recent breast cancer survivor. Let me start by saying that writing for this blog intimidates me more than you can possibly know; this is not something I normally do. Sabrina asked me to share with everyone some time ago after participating in Barbells for Boobs in 2015. At the time I had just completed my chemotherapy portion of breast cancer treatment, and to be blunt the eighteen weeks of chemotherapy were some of the worst in my life. I watched my beautiful hair fall out, which was minimal compared to how sick I felt. It was my first year of marriage and our son was barely three months old when we received my diagnosis. Hopefully my experience can motivate others to receive regular checkups from a physician (Men included), perform self-exams, and promote overall breast health awareness. So like I said, writing isn’t normally my thing, and Sabrina wasn’t specific on a topic. But this is a fitness community and Sabrina and I were connected through the topic of breast cancer, so I will use those as themes as discussion points through the next few entries.
I was 27 years old when I was told I had breast cancer. The tumor was discovered while at a routine checkup, only six short weeks after giving birth. It was the size of a soy bean at the time, my doctor said to “come back in one week” if the mass was still there. We assumed that the lump was most likely a clogged duct; because I was breastfeeding. Naturally I waited a month or so before making contact with my doctor, who saw me and then immediately sent me to get an ultrasound and mammogram. For the sake of honesty, I must disclose the fact that I was annoyed I had been sent to take all these tests all at once so promptly. I just thought there was no way I had cancer and with a newborn I felt spending the entire afternoon at the doctor’s office was going to work. Clearly I was too young, and frankly I never thought it could happen to me. My news came at an extremely happy time in my life; my family and I were devastated. Waiting on results from all the tests and pathologies was like watching time stand still. Naturally I was fearful; I knew the treatment was going to be hard. My knowledge of the cancer treatment process was minimal.
My treatment plan all summed up was, 6x big chemotherapy’s, 30x radiations, one long term chemo drug every 3 weeks through port for a year. Surgeries included the port which required a surgical procedure to put in and remove, as well as one lumpectomy to remove what was left of the post-chemo tumor. The plan was made after countless hours of doctor appointments, tests, scans and, biopsies. Making all the doctors’ appointments and tests took time, some took more than three weeks. Meanwhile the tumor was growing and I could feel it. Thank God for my oncologist who made offices accept me sooner. When I finally sat in the chair to receive my first treatment my tumor was estimated to be six centimeters.
This coming October will mark one year cancer free for me! I wish I could say it was an easy year, but that would be a lie. The cancer was gone but treatment wasn’t over. And physically I was already exulted. The good news, I can put it behind me. Please help me celebrate my first anniversary by giving yourself an exam at home in your spare time or next time you talk to your mothers and sisters please remind them to as well.
I’ll end with expressing my gratitude to everyone that donates and volunteers at B4B. My first visit to CrossFit SteadFast was the B4B event last year. My workout group, Stroller Strong Moms, was signed up for early morning heat, it was two days after my surgery. You all were gracious hosts, and I’m thankful I can join you for it.