I never thought I’d be in this position. Fourteen years in, and I continue to have chronic breast cancer. I’m much better now and stronger than I was when my journey first began, yet I still see my oncologist for a maintenance dose of a targeted chemotherapy every three weeks.
I’ve built my new life around my breast cancer to keep moving forward. One of the best things I’ve learned is to never look back at what might have been. I try to live in the moment and I know that I can only control certain aspects of the future.
In addition to my maintenance chemo, I spend a lot of my week taking care of myself and doing what I can to improve my health and prevent another recurrence. I eat a healthy diet, exercise almost every day, get enough sleep, and try to live mindfully and as stress-free as I can manage, given the nature of my medical history. Read more… “How I help myself reduce the risk of another recurrence”
“You are running not just for yourself, you are running to make a difference in the lives of others,” says Marie Ortiz, who has run over 40 marathons since 2007 and in that time, she has battled breast cancer twice. This April, she will be running the London Marathon as part of TeamAICR. Here, Ortiz, a mother of four, shares her motivating story and why she has persistently strived over the years to run with TeamAICR.
What motivated you to start running marathons?
I ran in high school and college but after I had my first child in 1994, it was really hard for me to fit exercise in to my schedule. But, I resumed. Running was an activity where, at any given time, I could just put on my shoes and go for a run. My husband said, “you are always running and you are always doing these short little races and winning. Why don’t you challenge yourself a bit more and try doing a half or full marathon?” So, I signed up for a half marathon, and then a full marathon. I think my husband thought it was a one-and-done bucket list check off thing. But I thought to myself, wow, I really like this!
What led you to want to run with TeamAICR?
My diagnosis is the reason I signed up. When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I thought it is very important for people to know to get their mammogram done and also to eat well and exercise. Cancer research is also very near and dear to my heart.
For cancer patients, research suggests that exercise offers plenty of benefits for long-term health and with cancer-related side effects. Yet patients face numerous challenges to meet the aerobic and strength training recommendations.
Now a study provides insights into improving adherence to a supervised exercise program among breast cancer patients, finding that attending an exercise program decreases as chemotherapy sessions increase. Cancer-related symptoms and appointments were among the most common reasons women did not attend the program.