“Knowledge. Confidence. Fearlessness. Three personal attributes that I have attained during my 4 year long cancer journey. Attributes that of a warrior.” –Allyson
Allyson was introduced to the Barbells for Boobs organization while battling metastatic breast cancer. She credits much of her support to their vibrant community:
“They have connected me with people that have been quite beneficial throughout this journey of mine. They are really a great overall resource for any breast cancer warrior seeking various types of support. I am forever grateful for them!”
In her own words, Allyson bravely shares her story with us:
My journey began in January 2012 after feeling a lump on my chest wall while massaging a sore pectoralis muscle. I had just started Crossfit and was recovering from my first ever attempt at “Murph”.
After seeing my OBGYN, a mammogram and biopsy were immediately set up the same day. That day will forever be painted in my memory. Results showed two tumors in one breast.
I was diagnosed with Stage 2 DCIS and Invasive Lobular Carcinoma at the ripe age of 33. A bi-lateral mastectomy with 5 years of hormone therapy was recommended and done.
I then went along living and enjoying life with my fiancé.
January 2014 arrives and we are on the brink of an April wedding when I feel yet another lump in the same place on my chest wall. I distinctly remember the feelings of despair and anxiety as I patiently waited to be fit into the doctor’s schedule.
Another biopsy and PET/CT scan that lead to hearing the least favorable news right before our wedding.
It was a local recurrence.
Surgery was scheduled 2 weeks before our wedding with radiation on the books soon after the wedding. Seven weeks of radiation consisting of 35 treatments with the end prize of a honeymoon to Italy 36 hours after completing my last session.
What a triumph!
This HAD to be the end of it.
Well, life certainly had other plans for me. Obviously nothing I couldn’t handle though.
In June 2015, I went in for a pre-op appointment in hopes of correcting radio necrosis from radiation therapy. In the process, I discovered another lump in the same spot on my chest wall. Surgery was canceled, biopsy done and a PET/CT scan immediately ordered. It was then when we discovered the cancer had metastasized throughout my lungs and demolished my right 4th rib.
I was in utter disbelief. So many questions needed answering.
From that point on, I made two promises to myself. I promised to trust my inner guidance and not allow fear to run my life or decisions. I began to look at the bigger picture with a profound sense of self-realization.
That meant seeking other medical professionals that fit my ideals and beliefs. I began reading more and asking questions about various research articles and studies. With patience and the knowledge I gained, I changed my lifestyle without hesitation. I began to heal my body with non-conventional methods with the added perk of killing cancer cells with Immunotherapy.
Cancer is not something to be feared. It is a wake up call that some aspect of your life needs to shift. And that is exactly what happened.
I believe in myself, therefore I believe in my healing.
Allyson’s positive, resilient attitude is indeed that of a warrior!
We are thankful for organizations like Barbells for Boobs who dedicate their lives to making a difference in the journey by offering support and a louder voice to those who need it.
But the real heroes are those who live it day in and day out, never giving up the hope that healing is possible. Those like Allyson who fight this battle every day, many fighting it multiple times, for many years.
We are in awe and inspired by your strength.