October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. At The Edge, we honor our Edge warriors who have been affected by Breast Cancer by hosting a Pink week during the month of October, sharing members and employees stories, and by selling t-shirts to raise money for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.🎀
Here is a portion of a story from one of our amazing fitness instructors, Hope. You may know Hope as the rock star fitness instructor, but like all superheroes, Hope has an original story. Hope came to fitness not only through her own interests but also by witnessing her father deal with heart attacks, triple bypass, and multiple open-heart surgeries. “I didn’t want to end up with a big scar down my chest.” Hope was always a girl on fire! She was a cheerleader in high school, a theater major in college, and even a mascot for a professional football team. She actually joined a gym to meet boys but instead fell in love with lifting. She found a passion for Spinning, post-baby number 2, and has been teaching for almost 20 years.
"My breast cancer story is really about knowing your body. I was wrapping up a bike trip in Iceland when I felt a slight bruise-like pain on the left side of my chest near my heart. I immediately got nervous and thought I needed to call my heart surgeon. I had open-heart surgery just a few years prior for a newly discovered heart defect (BAV). Time went slow as I packed, boarded, and headed home to the US. But the flight gave me time to explore the area this pain was coming from and to my surprise I found an odd-shaped lump. I was actually relieved in an odd way. It’s not my heart. I would call the gynecologist, not the heart surgeon.
I went for both a mammogram and ultrasound. Both tests came back normal. But something didn’t seem right to me. I then went on to see two different breast surgeons and the conclusion from both was the same. Neither didn’t really feel a lump, and both felt it was a swollen lymph node or “lump of fat.” My request for an MRI was denied I was told to come back next year if I still feel something. I left both appointments upset and disagreeing with their diagnosis even though no one in my family ever had breast cancer or any type of cancer. It wasn’t that I thought I had breast cancer, I just knew this was not a lump of fat or a lymph node. I still had an appointment with one more surgeon that I had made 9 months prior. Thankfully I did not cancel.
This surgeon really listened to me. She took the time to find it, feel it, and order an MRI. When the MRI report came back “normal” she pulled up the MRI images to find that stubborn mass the radiology report did not note. It had to be there. She felt it too. And she found it! I had a lumpectomy and then a lymphadenectomy. Then 11 months after that first pain in my chest Dr. Julia Tchou, MD. called to tell me I had breast cancer and that yes, I did know my body. No, it did not suck to be right and yes, I thank Dr. Tchou all the time. I am 3 years cancer-free. The moral of this part of my story is, LISTEN to your body. You know your body better than anyone. And don't hesitate to get a second, third, and even fourth opinion!" - Hope