In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness for the month of October, Flywheel is sharing stories from members of our #FlyFam community relating to their experiences with Breast Cancer.
Please stay tuned, and thank you for reading!
“My name is Margaretha Ehret and I am from Philadelphia, PA. I am 32 years old and I am an Elementary school teacher and a high school sports coach (field hockey and lacrosse). I went to University of Pennsylvania, and played field hockey there…Go Quakers!
This past summer I was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer is any form of breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast to the liver, lungs, or bones. As a fit, active, healthy 32 year-old with no family history of cancer, this was certainly unexpected and overwhelming news. I went from taking Flywheel classes and coaching youth sports one day, to spending two weeks in the hospital going through test after test, to eventually receiving this life-altering news and starting chemo treatments within days. While only 5% of cases happen in people under 40, I have a new sense of awareness and understanding of how shocking that original diagnosis can be regardless of your age or medical history. Breast cancer can happen to anyone with what feels like no reason or explanation. Although I have a long journey of chemo and surgery ahead of me, I feel positive about the direction my treatment is headed and have great trust and a deep respect for my oncologist and medical team. I am slowly trying to learn and appreciate all the things cancer is teaching me as I take some time off work to focus on my health and treatment. One of the things I have learned is that while you can’t always control what happens to you, you can control how you react. My family, friends, and the giant support teams of all the communities I have been a part of have been nothing but encouraging and motivating. As I face this phase of my life I am so thankful for their love and support and they inspire me to have a positive mindset and continue my fight.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I had issues with a lot of swelling and nausea due to my body adjusting to all the new medications and the chemotherapy. Those first few weeks were very challenging for me. As a college athlete, a fitness enthusiast, and someone who coaches sports and fitness to high school athletes, it was hard for me to understand how it was even painful for me to lift myself out of bed. I found myself thinking “this isn’t my body”. As I have slowly been learning to be grateful for all the things cancer is teaching me, one of those things is just how amazing the human body is. How amazing my body is! I have gone from being bed-ridden for several weeks, to slowly going on 15 minute walks and stretching, to doing 30 minute run-walks with family and friends, to now on my “chemo off weeks” taking classes like Flywheel and barre. It is therputic for me to just be in the dark room, listening to great music, and feeling a sense of normalcy after feeling like my whole world has been flipped upside down. Although I am nowhere near the shape I used to be in and I am careful to push myself, it is incredible to notice and celebrate the small incremental growth and know that my body can thrive and do a lot more then I ever thought it could while battling cancer!
Although cancer can be daunting and I have moments of anxiety, uncertainty, and pain, I have chosen not to be scared of my diagnosis and focus on the things that make me feel joy, happiness, and most like myself. Working out and being fit has always been a part of who I am and I feel incredibly lucky to be in the Flywheel community, particularly during this time in my life. So many fellow riders, friends from class, and instructors have been so encouraging of me getting back on the bike and the energy and spirit from the classes always leaves me inspired.
Metastatic breast cancer is technically considered the deadliest form of breast cancer as the average life expectancy is 2 to 3 years with over 40,000 deaths in women and men across the US each year. The Breast Cancer Research Fund is the largest private funder of metastatic breast cancer research in the world funding both their own researchers as well as grants for lab groups across the country. More and more people are thriving significantly beyond this three year mark thanks to research that has created more cell targeted therapy and preventive medicine research. So please when you are thinking pink this October, consider donating to BCRF and supporting all those fighting metastatic breast cancer!”