“I couldn’t out run, out swim, or out ride cancer – it still found me.” Was Cindy’s comment about being diagnosed in 2014 with triple negative breast cancer. Cindy is a tri-athlete. For everything our heads tell us about cancer not discriminating, our hearts tell us a triathlete should be immune.
Still the truth is, you are never too healthy to get cancer. Really, you are never too anything to get cancer.
Cindy’s approach to cancer was like that of preparing for a triathlon. She planned it out. Each day had a purpose. Each meal, each therapy was a part of a bigger plan. The plan was designed to beat cancer.
The plan worked. After three years of various therapies, she had finally beaten cancer.
But had she?
There is so much attention given to women who are going through cancer. So much focus on what to do during treatments, how to prepare for the next surgery. But what happens when there are no more treatments to get through or surgeries to prepare for?
What happens next?
For many women, there is an expectation that after the final treatment, they will be cancer free. Maybe the scans say there is no sign of cancer in the body, but there is still cancer in the soul.
There is fear. Fear of the next doctors appoint. Fear of a recurrence. Fear that normal may never be known again. Fear can be one of the most crippling forms of cancer.
For Cindy, who had already faced cancer once prior to her 2014 triple negative diagnosis, these fears are very real.
Yet, in the aftermath of cancer, Cindy finds the value of vulnerability. She has re-prioritized her life and even found a way to give back to a group of women who, sadly, are often overlooked.
Typically, when women are actively undergoing treatment for cancer, their support system is strong, but naturally that support tapers off post-treatment when people think cancer has been beaten—but the need for community still exists.
Cindy works to help women find their “new normal” and provide the much-needed sense of community post-cancer. Her specific touch is in Dragon Boating, which provides a way to bolster health and build “team” simultaneously. Bigger than that, in her way of giving hope, she is helping other women find their own unique contributions.
Research will one day provide the long awaited, long over-due end to cancer. In the meantime, Cindy and these amazing survivors are providing the leg work to end cancer. They are conquering it one fear, one vulnerability, one new normal, one woman at a time.
The race is ongoing.
One day we will out run cancer.
For more information on the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, visit KayYow.com.