“I was in treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, then after four months I had a stoke. It wasn’t part of the plan. Chemo along with the perfect storm of events caused me to have seizures and a stroke during cancer treatment. It left me temporarily paralyzed. I had to relearn how to use my entire left side again and I showed myself that my body was way more resilient than I had ever thought possible.”
Growing up I was always involved in sports. I played three sports all through high school and went on to play two years of collegiate tennis. After graduating college in 2005, moved back to Chicago. At 31 years old, my whole world changed. I was in the middle of a thriving career, newly married and enjoying life in Chicago.
Then my whole world came tumbling down when I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on 2/14/14. My initial symptom was a lump on my neck and days later, I was hospitalized for almost a month. My husband, dad and mother in law all come to every appointment but so I wouldn’t be alone or have to drive myself. My family had my back 100%.
At the end of June 2014, I had a stroke and was placed into a medically induced coma. The stroke left me temporarily paralyzed on my left side. I didn’t know at the time if I would ever be able to use my left side again.
I spent the next 8 weeks going to rehab for three hours a day, five days a week. I never missed one session. Slowly, I regained the use of my left side. My body was being pummeled in every way. I started going to gentle yoga through Gilda’s Club. Just knowing I wasn’t alone and seeing other survivors thrive regardless of diagnosis gave me more hope than anything else.
All through treatment, hospitalizations and stroke I continued to incorporate exercise into my daily routine, the best that I could. I started with walks every day, continuing to set goals for myself to walk a little further, faster each time. I am now living my full life.
Having decided not go back to the corporate world, I have made health and fitness my priority. I received my 200-hour yoga teaching certification along with my personal training certification. I am using these skills to help other women going through cancer thrive by living the best life they can while undergoing treatment and transitioning into their new normal life again. Showing and teaching them that they can get through treatment in a healthier way through movement.
Never give up or lose hope. Choose to wake up every single day and do your best by setting small goals for yourself. Sometimes not looking at the big picture helps focus on the small steps needed to get there.
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