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"My journey with breast cancer began in August 2008. A yearly visit to my doctor resulted in six surgeries and four chemotherapy treatments in less than a year. I was overweight but gained 30 pounds more during the treatments because of the steroids they gave me and the protein needed to maintain my white blood count. I had no energy for a couple years, so I did not exercise or try to lose the weight.
After starting at Freeman in 2010, I participated in Meltdown 2011 and lost 21 pounds. I did water aerobics but still had a lot of pain in my legs, arms, etc. I gained back some of the weight after the Meltdown but not all of it, and the pills I was required to take for five years after breast cancer weren’t helping matters.
The next year the joined the Meltdown again and only lost 11 pounds. I wasn’t exercising and now know that is a big factor of continued weight loss. I was still hurting a lot, and it was hard to even go up and down my stairs at home. My weight was going up again, but I wasn’t watching what I ate at all.
I joined the Meltdown again on January 2, 2013. When the free week at the YMCA was offered, I started water aerobics again. Then I signed up for a Y membership.
When I started walking up and down the stairs instead of taking the elevator at Freeman, it was really hard on my legs. A couple times I went up and down the six floors of the tower, even though it really hurt. Now, I almost run up and down the stairs. I lost 30 pounds and haven’t felt better since before my breast cancer.
After cancer I had to start taking blood pressure medication. Last July, I had to add a second blood pressure medicine. I recently returned for a follow-up visit with my heart doctor, and he said I could stop the second medicine after the 30-pound weight loss. I’ve been checking my blood pressure since then, and I think maybe on the next visit, I can do away with all the blood pressure medicine.
I have changed the way I eat and will continue at the Y. It is very encouraging to see and feel the results of the changes I made and to not hurt anymore. I am not stopping here. I am not gaining the weight back. I thank God for helping me through the cancer and helping me make changes; I couldn’t have done it without Him.”