October being “Breast Cancer Awareness” month means quite a bit more than the onslaught of PINK! While we are happy to join the cause and do our part to incorporate pink into this month, we would also like to take some time to celebrate victorious women in the hopes that their stories will further increase awareness and prevention of this awful disease. We further hope that any ladies out there currently battling breast cancer may find some inspiration from these women that have paved the way to keep fighting.
Nancy Normile was working as a medical assistant and office manager, as she does now in a pediatric office. She had a sixteen-year-old daughter, twelve-year-old son and also a two-year-old son when she first felt a small lump in her arm. Despite that both of her grandmothers had breast cancer, Nancy thought that at thirty-nine years old – it was too early, so it couldn’t be. She was even able to let out a sigh of relief when a biopsy came back negative and she was told to come back in six months. When the lump began changing, it was cause for concern and she attempted to return to the doctor early. Unfortunately, her insurance carrier would not allow her to be seen prior to the six-month waiting period from the previous visit. By the time she made it back to the doctor, Nancy had to have fourteen lymph nodes removed and eight of them were found to cancerous.
She began a rigorous schedule of chemotherapy and radiation that lasted around six months. Nancy says, “It was very important to me that my kids didn’t see me sick. I had to stay strong for them. I never stopped working and I never stopped exercising at least twice a week.” She went on to say that she attributes much of her success to maintaining a positive attitude. She said that staying busy and remaining positive is what helped her win the fight. She shouldered so much of the weight by herself and shielded her family from the pain that accompanies cancer. Nancy’s oldest daughter tells her, “I always knew you’d be okay” and that is simply a testament to Nancy’s strength and independence.
“It is something that used to stay in the back of my mind, like a shadow following me around.” That is how Nancy described the time after her treatment, up until about two years ago. She was getting biopsies every year and she wanted to rid herself of that lurking shadow. It was a double mastectomy and reconstruction that she says completely freed her mentally! Today, Nancy has been cancer free for nine and a half years and her doctor told her that the cancer road is a “dead end.” She decided after five years of being cancer free to get a commemorative tattoo and with ten years quickly approaching, she’s planning to get another! Nancy is grateful for opportunities that create awareness and ultimately promote prevention. In years past, her family has participated in Relay for Life and she has also been a part of a Young Cancer Support Group for individuals under the age of 60. Nancy’s message to other women is “Don’t wait. Don’t assume you are too young, and trust your instincts. Go get an exam, go see a surgeon, do what it takes…check, check, CHECK!”
Maintaining an active lifestyle is something that remains important to Nancy and we are so grateful to have her as a GIVE Fitness member! Please join us in celebrating her and look for more stories of celebration in the coming weeks. Also, we would love to hear of other brave women that have battled this awful disease. We understand that not all have won the fight, so feel free to share your stories that honor, remember, or celebrate. More than anything, it is our hope that we can create more awareness this month that will lead to earlier detection/prevention and ultimately save lives! We have exclusive GIVE Fitness/Breast Cancer Awareness T-shirts available for sale at the gym and 50% of all sales will be donated back to breast cancer research. We will also be donating 50% of all new member card fees during the month of October. Let’s all work together to GO PINK this month and do our part in this fight against cancer!