In January 2010, I heard the words no one ever wants to hear from her doctor. I’d been diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer called adenocarcinoma.
I had no symptoms, no previous abnormal test results and no family history of cancer. By all accounts, I was a healthy and extremely active 32-year-old….surfer, kiteboarder, cycling instructor, and scientist.
Now… I am a young adult cancer survivor.
My OB/GYN detected the abnormal cells on a regular check-up, which was then diagnosed further through biopsies. I was extremely lucky that I’d been diagnosed while the cancer was in its early stages. My team of oncologists at Johns Hopkins University was able to perform surgery to immediately remove the cancer.
The treatment and follow-ups didn’t end there. My health is closely monitored due to the aggressive nature of this type of disease. I’ve had some reoccurrence of abnormal cells in the past couple years, but I’ve been able to keep a positive outlook on the course of treatment and what lies ahead for me.
Two years ago, I decided that I wanted to get involved in an endurance event. Through my local running store, Charm City Run, I learned about Team Fight, a training team that raises money for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.
I began training with the team, along with volunteering with the Cancer to 5k program, which is an amazing program that helps individuals with cancer train and run in a road race. I can’t begin to describe how wonderful the experience has been with the entire Ulman Cancer Fund organization. I feel so lucky to have connected with such amazing people and resources. Over the past two years, I have not only been able to run my first races ever, but bring continued awareness, such as running in the coveted New York City Marathon, participating in many more triathlons, coaching the Baltimore Cancer to 5k program and even running across America with Rev3 Triathlon benefiting UCF.
Prior to joining Team Fight, I was not able to talk easily about my cancer. Meeting other people like me has given me the strength to fight this disease and speak out and share my story. In addition, it has given me the strength to swim, bike and run like I never have before.
The support, coaching and friendships are truly amazing. Being a part of the Ulman Cancer Fund has helped me to face adversity with a smile. It has given me the support I needed and allowed me to help spread awareness about young adults fighting cancer. It’s about living life half full… The way I have always lived my life, cancer or not.