My name is Michelle. I am a two-time breast cancer survivor, but even more importantly-- I am a stubborn, hopeful, enthusiastic lover of life. Cancer never has, and never will define me.
My cancer journey started in 2011 when I was 28 years old. I was stage 0 DCIS breast cancer, so I underwent a double mastectomy and moved on with life. In 2015 I felt a lump, and just like that the cancer was back. Quite unbelievable given the amount of breast tissue I had left, and just like every cancer survivor, life was flipped upside down in an instant.
The second time around we went big. Port. Chemo. Surgery (2x). Radiation. Herceptin infusions for a year. Hormone therapy for five. Even now, two years out, I can't believe I still struggle with the aftermath. The new normal. The side effects from the drugs I am still on. Most days I wish I were normal. Every day I am glad to be alive.
Since my diagnosis, I've asked myself how I can help myself survive. How I can help others survive. I sincerely believe that exercise and overall health is what I can take into my own hands. Its what I can control in a world of uncertainty. I started riding when I had my double mastectomy. It got me out of the pit of cancer treatment and recovery. I kept riding, and then I found the Obliteride. A way to help myself while helping others at the same time.
This will be my fourth year of Obliteride, and it is incredibly special each time. The first year I rode with tears in my eyes, thinking of all the people I held in my heart and prayed for. The second year I rode for all of those people and added another 50 miles (100 total), feeling like the pain of a 100 mile ride was symbolic in so many ways and proving to myself that I can conquer all. Last year I rode 50 miles for the memories of those I've lost and the passion for saving not only myself but for everyone impacted by this nasty disease. My partner and I raised over $2500 between us. This year, I continue to ride with determination, heart, and courage. This year, I ride for new survivors. Newly diagnosed is why I am here, showing up. I wish for nothing as much as I wish for an end to newly diagnosed.
I ride for those people in infusion chairs, for the people trying to find a way to break the news to their family and kids, and for those that are praying for a miracle. It's time to kick cancer to the curb.
Ride with me. Donate. Let's put oncologists out of a job.