Thonet’s Journey Back to Herself Through Breast Cancer to Bikini Challenge

Thonet’s Journey Back to Herself Through Breast Cancer to Bikini Challenge


My whole body I didn’t recognize myself.
There was a feeling like you didn’t want to complain about that because you were
alive, and if this was going to be the new me, well then I guess I just needed
to accept it. But there was a part of me that was missing, and I knew I wanted to
find that. The day I found out I had breast cancer was February 13th, 2015. I was
diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma in my right breast, and after hearing
about my options, I decided to go with a bilateral mastectomy. During that surgery
they also checked the lymph nodes, the sentinel node, and that kind of changed
the whole path of everything because I was positive. I went through eight rounds
of chemotherapy every two weeks, and followed up by 33 treatments of
radiation at Renown. My radiation team of people, they were like my
family! Dr. Sutton, my radiation oncologist, just, I could just ask her
anything and I felt really, really loved, and really cared for. The last time I saw
my radiation oncologist, she gave me the year. I can see her again in a year. I was
always an athletic and energized person, and I just referred to it as it kind of
broke me. I was so tired. The medication following radiation, a side
effect is weight gain. I spent a lot of time at home. I stayed home, and
I didn’t go to the gym. I think my daughter went with me to a, for after the
first treatment I didn’t. I had cut it really short because I knew it was gonna,
you know, be coming out, and then after about the second treatment it was just
coming out in clumps in the in the shower and that was really hard to take
so she went with me with a friend of hers from high school, and on the day
that I had my hairdresser shave my head, and that was a powerful thing.
It was hard for me. There were a lot of tears. All these women were strangers. I
wasn’t sure I could go through with that; I thought ‘I don’t want to be sick
anymore.’ There’s people here in all different phases of treatment. The
workouts they gradually went from about two days a week, to four days a week with
all of us, the whole group, for the weight training,
and then the cardio we pretty much had to do on our own.
Usually it was the three of us. We call ourselves the triangle, and
we would schedule our time to say ‘hey, let’s do the chew,’ and it stood
for ‘we’ve got this,’ and the first couple of times we did it
we were just huffing and puffing, so out of breath. I was a dancer
from the time I was a very little girl. I danced all the way through college. It made
me angry sometimes that that okay, if breast cancer has taken my breasts, it’s
now taken my feet. Last four treatments were called taxol, and a side effect of
the taxol for some people is neuropathy.
It is a numbness and a tingling in the tips of your fingers and your feet. In
the six months it got a lot better but just even in my tennis shoes to have to
get up on and have my feet not actually in contact with the floor was a
challenge for me. It basically was six small meals a day – very regimented. The worst
part was just eating so much fish. I lost a total of 40 pounds from the time I
started. The bikini is the teeniest part of this journey. It is gigantic.
Everything else about it is gigantic compared to that teeny bikini, and we
were happy to put ’em on by the time we were done. We were
just, we’ve come through a process that just changed us all emotionally and
physically. On the final day, 202 days later, we had to write a letter and share
it with our group. There is so much with cancer that is out of our control, but
also upon recovering and healing, once again, a great deal we can can
control. It’s a very powerful feeling to be in charge of getting back some of what
cancer took both physically and emotionally. The bond that was created
with these women does not end here. You will forever be connected with your
b2b breast friends along with your breast cancer angels who kept you all
focused, on-track, and encouraged. You have seen each other scars, and in spite of
them, have focused on the strength and beauty that radiates beyond them. So in
closing, what did the b2b journey mean to you? It was the final piece of your
breast cancer jigsaw puzzle that was missing, and now has been found. Stand
tall and be proud of yourself Thonet when you walk across that stage to
represent your journey. You’re back.

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