Hello there Survivor fam, we're happy to be back chatting with you and are super excited to introduce our champion for the month of July.
As you know, we love having so many tough and inspirational women in our network to learn from and grow with, and Anna Rodriguez is just another tiger in our pack.
Anna was diagnosed with breast cancer at the start of 2008 then just six months later received another startling diagnosis that she had uterine cancer.
In this instance Anna tells us her two cancers were not linked and the cancers did not spread but as we've mentioned in previous posts, having had breast cancer can make us more susceptible for other cancers, including uterine.
In more specific cases, studies have shown that having the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations can increase the risk of ovarian cancer, and more recently further studies have suggested that women with the BRCA1 gene may have a higher risk of serous or serous-like (producing or resembling serum) endometrial cancer, which is an uncommon yet aggressive type of uterine cancer.
Discovering you have two forms of cancer within the same year could bring most people down but it did the opposite for Anna, with an extra push from a special someone.
"That year I fought hard for my life and I knew I couldn't give up when my granddaughter said, 'Grandma, please don't die.'"
With that Anna got her groove back, enrolling in local Zumba classes. As many of us know Zumba combines fitness and dance using styles inspired from salsa, samba and many other Latin-infused beats.
Anna had some foresight here as in years past patients were encouraged to rest, nowadays medical professionals are actually encouraging patients to become more active.
The American Cancer Society tells us that rest is still good advice if in your case movement causes pain, rapid heart rate, or shortness of breath. However, newer research has shown that exercise can be safe and help your overall health and happiness.
Just a few of ways physical activity can help a cancer patient is by lessening feelings of anxiety or depression, increasing self-esteem and lessening nausea.
Anna can attest to this!
"Whenever I'm in my Zumba class it makes me forget about all the aches and pains, and I'm so happy."
Today, Anna dances cancer-free and we share in her victory!
Congrats to you Anna and we hope you celebrated your birthday last month dancing the bachata all night long!
We'll be back next month with more stories of survival and inspiration, until then keep your eye on summer, dancing -- and strength ;)
"Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,
I hope you dance!" - Lee Ann Womack