Elizabeth's Incredible Journey - Integrity Fitness

Elizabeth’s Incredible Journey

It was 2006 and I started the year with high expectations and a strong readiness to achieve.  However, my greatest fear came to visit me instead.  On February 28, I found a lump in my breast.  For the most part I concluded it was only a cyst but after all the medical examinations and tests it was shockingly confirmed on Thursday (the day before Good Friday) that I actually had invasive stage 3 HER2 positive breast cancer.  The air escaped me and everything was a complete blur in that moment. I remember having to lean up against a wall to avoid falling – I was devastated.. To make a long story short, my year ended up being NOTHING I ever expected, but somehow still an opportunity to strongly achieve.  I was 32 at the time with no other health issues, making me a good candidate for the more aggressive breast cancer treatment available.  Over a span of 18 months I had 3 surgeries, 2 types of chemotherapy, Herceptin treatment (i.e. targeted ‘biological’ therapy) and radiation.  One of the surgeries however was due to a fall I had down my stairs landing on my left ankle, after a routine nurse visit.  That accident caused two fractures in my leg and a severely broken ankle, which needed two pins to put back together again.  Because I was a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy, I had to keep my cast on for 3 months, instead of 6 weeks like the average person. After all my medical treatments and physiotherapy I was ready to return to work and I was ready to do something about my health again.

On separate occasions I joined Good Life, YMCA, LA Fitness, various workout groups and other in-home fitness programs.  Each time I didn’t retain the urge to return.  I usually felt lost with what I was doing and began to believe that I could never make fitness a permanent life style.  Each time I failed made it harder to get back up, but one day I started to wonder if a boot camp would be the answer for me. I knew at that point I needed more structure with a strong push.  So as intimidating as it was, I was ready to give this a try.  In my searches I couldn’t find anything that would work reasonably for me.  Their availability was pretty restricted to the same few days a week, with the same inflexible time slots.  Then I spoke with a friend at work who told me about Integrity Fitness.  I checked out the details online, was excited with what I had seen and visited the next day for a trial session without delay.  OMG!!  As soon as I arrived I was greeted with warmth and support.  Yes, I felt like I was going to pass out during the session, but I felt so comfortable too.  I was never made to feel like a loser and always reassured I was doing okay.  And whether I was or not didn’t really matter, because I was encouraged and assisted anyhow by staff and clients alike, then and still now.

Integrity Fitness is the first place EVER where I finally made the decision to never quit.  Yes, I’ve had brief periods of falling off course, but Integrity Fitness is the only place where I just couldn’t stay away – I always had to come back and press on.  I believe the integral design of the program promotes commitment and accountability and is a reason why I’m still here after 4 years. And though I still have certain goals I’m working towards, I have already made some gains in the process.  I’m healthier, stronger, optimistic, energetic and confident that I can actually keep going!!  I’ve been told my ailment would have been back by now and yet I remain cancer free and for that I’m grateful every single day. Integrity Fitness has been a meaningful part of my wellness journey and I look forward to what is to come.