Linda’s Weight Loss & Breast Cancer Journey:
Linda has struggled with her weight for as long as she can remember. At her heaviest in 2005, she weighed 276 lbs. Linda decided to have Gastric Bypass after her doctor told her she was basically killing herself. Linda had the surgery in Sept. 2005 and lost 130 lbs.
Fast forward to 2010, while doing a monthly Self Breast Exam, she felt a small lump that felt like a pea in her right breast, she left it go a few months to see if there would be a change but knowing her family history she called her doctor. Her doctor did an exam and told her she wanted her to see a Breast Specialist, she made the appointment and the doctor told her he wanted to do a sonogram & biopsy, but he didn’t think it was anything. Linda had both procedures and the waiting would begin, that was November 6th, 2010. On the night of November 9th, 2010, she got the call that changed her life, 5 days before her 45th Birthday. Linda heard the words “You Have Breast Cancer”. Linda’s husband was walking the dog when she got the call, he came in to find her crying and that was when she told him. Linda’s husband was by her side throughout the entire time, she considers him her rock and biggest supporter.
Next, she sadly had to tell her daughter and had no idea how she was going to do that. Looking her in the eyes and telling her almost killed her. Linda also considers her daughter to be her rock and biggest supporter. While they took the news as a family, both of them told her it was going to be ok.
After that, it was back to the doctor, they told Linda her options, she could have a Lumpectomy or a Mastectomy and after talking about it for a few minutes, she decided she would have the Lumpectomy. They also found Calcifications in the Left Breast so they would also do a Lumpectomy on that side as well. The doctor told her he thought she would only have to do 5 days of Radiation, but wouldn’t know until the surgery.
Linda had her 1st surgery on December 15th, 2010, she was in the recovery room and the doctor informed her that her lymph nodes were involved as well and that she would have to do Chemotherapy & Radiation, she thought it was all a drug induced dream, but she woke up and it was real.
On to the Oncologist on February 20th, 2011, she started Chemo, which was what she feared the most. She came home and thought ok this isn’t so bad… well 2 days later it was bad, she was so sick, tired, couldn’t eat, and told her husband she wasn’t going back. Thankfully, she did go back because she realized she was letting Cancer beat her and she wasn’t going to let that happen. She finished chemo on April 28th, 2011 and during the time from chemo and Sept. 2013, she gained 60 lbs.
Linda started Radiation in June 2011 for 6 weeks, which she felt was the easy part. After all the treatments were done she couldn’t stop thinking about the Cancer coming back. Linda had a Double Mastectomy with Reconstruction Temporary Implants on July 11, 2012. Her Permanent Implant Surgery was scheduled for October 29th, 2012 but Hurricane Sandy had other plans. Finally, she had surgery in July 2013. During this time she was now 217 lbs, never thinking she would be this heavy again.
September 17th, 2013 was the day she started her new life, she was given a second chance at life and chose to make the most of that gift.
She started by following a food plan, then in January 2014 she started to work out, the 1st class she took she couldn’t even do a Jumping Jack or a Sit Up. Her friend just looked at her and said you can do this, you beat cancer this is easy just keep coming back, and back she went. During this time she met Kenny Pena of Rockaway Beach Bootcamp and now Pena’s Fitness Method he would give her tips on what she should be eating and what exercises she should focus on. By May 2014 she had lost 62 lbs, the gym closed but thank God it was summer and Kenny decided to do Rockaway Beach Bootcamp again.
Find Linda’s Fitness
To learn more about Pena’s Fitness Method/Evolve Fitness or Rockaway Beach Bootcamp, email email@example.com or meet them at Beach 97th street Rockaway Park Tuesday and Thursdays @ 5:30 am and Saturday @ 8:00 am. And Cyberzone In Rockaway Park @ 9:00 and 10:00 am on Saturdays. Linda also goes to CKO Kicking boxing in Bayridge when the time allows.
Linda also does Dragon Boat Racing with other Breast Cancer survivors, 3 of her Pink sister’s and her are in the process of starting their own Dragon Boat team called “Hope Floats NYC”. Their goal is to engage survivors in physical activity while promoting a healthy lifestyle through the sport of dragon boating. As survivors themselves, from diverse backgrounds and treatment experiences, they can relate to many of the aspects faced by survivors. They offer a supportive and encouraging environment for survivors that empowers them to regain or maintain fitness in their post-treatment lives. Dragon boating is a fun and stress-relieving activity that is uniquely beneficial to breast cancer survivors. It is a team building exercise that forges friendships. It is a sisterhood.
They will begin practicing in April 2015 with the Arrowana Dragon boat team at Flushing Meadows Arena. Contact them at HopeFloatsNYC@yahoo.com.
Linda is doing the ACS Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk on October 19th, Donate Here!
She will also be doing a Party In Pink Zumbathon Charity event on October 22 2014 @ 6:00 pm til 8:00 pm at All Season Fitness Studio 181 Beach 116th st. 2nd fl. Rockaway Beach NY 11694
Question & Answer with Linda
We were honored that Linda joined us for this special show. Follow the Q&A along with the show video!
What did it feel like when the doctor told you that you needed the Gastric Bypass surgery?
After the surgery was it easy to adapt to your new lifestyle?
You mention knowing a family history when discussing the lump you found in your breast. Is it breast cancer that runs or just cancer in general?
Can you speak to the importance of self breast exams?
How much did you wind up self educating yourself on breast cancer?
Sounds like your family has been a pillar of support through your fight. Did you also need to surround yourself with others going through the same situation? If so, where can people go?
September 17th, the day you began your new lifestyle, can you remember what that feeling was like? Were you nervous?
What kind of food plan did you start with?
How did you feel when you were able to start doing jumping jacks and sit-ups after not being able to do them?
Can you stress the importance of health and fitness in relation to prevention or during treatment of breast cancer?
What motivates you to get you up and to Kenny’s class when you are feeling tired on a Tuesday or Thursday morning?
Tell us more about your Dragon Boat team!
How important is it to surround yourself with support for any struggle you are faced with in life, whether through your illness or weight loss journey?
What advice do you have for people who may not have as much support around them to make a change in their life?
What has been your favorite part of your journey?
Has your lifestyle become an example for others in your family or community?
Your story is incredibly inspiring. What kind of advice can you give to people who feel like they can’t fight to make the change in their lives?
How amazing do you feel since making the choice to make the best of your second chance at life and live such a healthy and active lifestyle?
What’s next for you?
To join the Dragon Boat team, donate to Linda’s Making Strides walk, join her for a workout or learn more about her story check out the links posted on our site and/or email her at HopeFloatsNYC@yahoo.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.