Fit to Fight like a Girl: I Could Have Died but I Came Out Fighting
Hey, ya’ll! My name is Krystle and I’m a sweet (although some would disagree) and sassy southern girl from the coast of North Carolina. During my 29 years on this earth, I have held many nicknames, including Kriss Priss, Krystleboo, The Beast, and Special K. However, the majority of my close friends and family just call me Krys, so you can too!
As some of you may know, I am currently working at the front desk of Onslow Fitness, a Jacksonville health club, with the 20/30 Fast Track Program and in the nursery. On the days that I’m off, I enjoy taking nice, long walks on the beach and relaxing by the pool. Justtttt kidding. In real life, on my days off, I work as an intern with the district attorney, in preparation for law school, with the hope of becoming a cancer rights attorney. However, this wasn’t always my future career goal and I’m here to tell you why everything changed.
The summer of 2016, I was in the “prime” of my life. I had a prestigious research fellowship working on an HIV vaccination project, I was going into my last semester of graduate school, and I spent my weekends by the pool with my amazing friends. Little did I know that within a few weeks, everything would change. Forever.
On July 15, 2016, on the same bed where I had spent countless hours studying some of the world’s deadliest diseases, I received a phone call that would throw my whole world into disarray. That day, at the ripe age of 27, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, more commonly known as breast cancer. Three weeks later, I also found out that I am BRCA1+, which gives me a much higher chance of developing breast AND ovarian cancer.
After I was diagnosed, it didn’t take long for me to make the (very easy) decision to come back to my home state of North Carolina to be treated while surrounded by my family and friends. Within 5 months of my diagnosis, I had a double mastectomy, went through fertility treatments to preserve the chances of having children, and 4 rounds of chemotherapy. During such a dark time, I saw the good in so many people, including the staff and members of Onslow Fitness, the best gym in Jacksonville. You all became my family and I will forever be grateful for the love and kindness that I was shown.
Throughout my short life and breast cancer journey, I have learned many valuable lessons. I’ve learned that eating that second piece of chocolate cake won’t kill you and that stepping out of your comfort zone is okay.
I learned how to make a wig look more natural and fabuuuulous, and I learned that chemo sucks, but laying on the cold bathroom floor helps it suck a little less.
However, the most important lesson that I’ve learned is that every single day is an opportunity to do something good, to love someone, to value something. I’m living, breathing, and I am here and I want to take full advantage of that.
Prior to being diagnosed with cancer, I was easily in the best shape of my life. I worked out 5 days a week, made sure that I got at leasttt 15,000 steps in every day, and typically ate salads every day for lunch (because that plays a role in being in good shape, right?).
However, cancer changed that. During chemo, I still tried to work out as much as I could, but I slowly began to gain weight. To compensate for my nausea, I ate every carb I could get my hands on. It was my “feel good food” and it sure did make me feel good! In addition, I was thrown into a medically induced menopause, which I am still experiencing. Didn’t you know that cancer is the gift that keeps on giving? If anyone knows about the devil that is menopause, you’ll know that it makes it even harder to lose weight and it also gives me a nasty sweet tooth. Cookies and donuts for breakfast!!
I’ve decided that it’s time to take my body back.
So, now you’ve heard my story; I’m ready to hear yours!
Although I can’t control what havoc cancer and chemo wreaked on my body, I CAN control what I do to help the situation. This is where this new blog series comes into play. I want to bring ya’ll along on my fitness journey, which I have affectionately entitled “Fit to Fight Like a Girl”.
During this series, we will talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’ll talk about the days when I’d rather sit on the couch, eating a bag of chips and watching Netflix, than step foot in a Jacksonville gym. But we’ll also talk about the days when a fitness goal was crushed.