I received a call from Kandace and wanted to share her story with my followers as I find her story told all too often these days. Publicly, you might know of Giuliana Rancic’s story–I thank her for being so candid about her experience with breast cancer, as well as her diagnosis and treatment. Although Kandace and Giuliana have never met, their personal journey’s are significant for both men and women alike. I’ll update tomorrow with a post about recent medical findings for breast cancer treatment and more importantly, as it relates to our diet and lifestyle factors. Thank you Kandace for sharing your story!
My name is Kandace McMenomy. I am 31 years old and have been in the fitness industry for the past twelve years. I started working as a personal trainer while in college at San Diego State University and post-college I started my own business. I remember the feeling of being so tired that I just wanted to cry. It was Tuesday February 22, 2011. That same week I felt a tiny lump underneath my arm pit. I thought it might be an in grown hair from shaving, but a few days later I went to the doctor and forgot to mention the lump. I was more concerned about feeling exhausted. I thought maybe I had mono, an infection, or that my hormones were not balanced. I even thought that perhaps it was because I was training for a marathon. None the less, I was tested for mono and had a complete blood count done. The test came back negative, my blood counts were excellent and my hormones were balanced. March 6, 2011, I ran the Napa Valley Marathon & qualified for the 2012 Boston Marathon. Four days later, I went back to the doctor and had the lump checked out, but the doctor was unsure about the lump so she ordered an ultra sound and mammogram. The tests were done and on March 23rd I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer.
On March 31st, the surgeon removed seventeen lymph nodes, seven of which were cancerous from my left auxiliary area. I underwent twelve chemo treatments and thirty-six treatments of radiation. The cause of my cancer is still unknown and in my lifetime I will probably never know the cause of the disease. According to the doctor, he felt the cancer had been in my body for about seven years. I contribute my healthy lifestyle and positive attitude to not having symptoms of cancer earlier than last year. Needless to say, this experience has forever changed me…In a very positive way!! Cancer is a scary word, until you are personally confronted with the disease; For example: Why me? What did I do to deserve this? And, a good cry- in fact several of them. A 30 year old going through cancer is hard to imagine, but attitude is everything. A 30 year old woman is not supposed to have the knowledge or poise that a 50 year old women does.
After surgery I was faced with making the decision to harvest my eggs, as chemotherapy can damage the reproductive system. My oncologist also recommended that I shave my head because seventeen days after my first chemotherapy treatment I would be completely bald. Can you imagine being told that? I took his advice. I had an unusual reaction to one of the chemo drugs- the drug attacked my lungs, my eyes and nose bled and I lost my eyelashes and eyebrows. It was Fourth of July weekend, but I pulled myself together and enjoyed the holiday with my dad and close friends on their boat. I could not run for three months because of the condition of my lungs. How does a runner not run for three months? My pulmonary doctor put me on prednisone for a few months so that I could walk up the stairs without feeling faint. I decided to walk, lift weights and do Pilates vs. being upset that I could not run half of a block.
Throughout my treatments I decided to use a holistic approach to help with the side effects of the drugs. I used a nutritionist, an acupuncturist, a message therapist and a reiki practitioner. My team of specialists enabled me to stay relatively healthy and strong throughout this process. Physical beauty did not matter anymore- inner strengthen and my mom’s presence was all that I needed. My mom was at every appointment, meeting and function. I was able to get through this process because of her. I am so blessed and fortunate! Perhaps young females need their moms shoulder and steady counsel for marriage, raising children and yet another mile stone in my case- cancer.
I am extremely passionate about exercise and nutrition. I feel that nutrition is a key component in feeling well and staying healthy. My diet closely follows a macrobiotic plan in addition to eating fish six times per week, enjoy a bit of organic wine and dark chocolate on the weekends. I eat organic fruits, vegetables and whole-unprocessed foods because they are not treated with antibiotics, chemicals or pesticides. I also make a vegetable juice daily. I find these foods keep me healthy and energized. Eating healthy and exercise have been a way of life for me this past decade. I feel the condition I was in pre-cancer allowed me to endure a very aggressive cancer treatment protocol. Now sustaining these healthy habits is no longer a choice, but a necessity to a full life- cancer free!
More about Kandace and her Personal Training Programs: http://bodybydesignoc.com/