“I’m not as fit as I was pre-cancer.”
I read an article from the CrossFit games journal about a girl battling cancer competing in the open, those were her words quoted above. Her strength and vulnerability resonated with me, because I saw myself in that girl. It’s been exactly a year since I got the diagnosis - stage 3 melanoma. I’ll admit, I was prepared for that part; what I was not prepared for was everything that came after it. The surgery, hours of treatment, the fatigue, the adverse reactions, it was like a domino effect once it started. But with everything in a constant flux, CrossFit has been the one constant for me - on a good day or a bad day, the barbell was always going to be there. My incredible coaches have reminded me from day one, that there is not a single thing that could not be modified and that has remained true through it all. I am forever grateful for a sport that moves with me through the highs and lows.
One of the first things my surgeon said to me was that I was lucky to be in the shape I’m in, not everyone gets this lucky with melanoma. I recovered early from surgery, allowing me to compete in a competition I had already planned. I then went on to qualify for a regional competition, something I spent the entire past year working towards. And even still, on the days when everything aches and I hardly recognize myself, the barbell continues to bring me back to me. When the 2022 CrossFit open started I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do the workouts, and in other circumstances I maybe would have performed better; but the difference between participating in the open this year versus all the years before was being able to compete at all. The open allowed me to be the athlete/gymnast I worked so hard for despite all odds, and although I may have felt like I died a thousand deaths, it felt good to recognize myself again alongside the rest of the world's CrossFit athletes.
So yeah, I’m not as fit as I was pre-cancer, but I am a hell of a lot stronger and I have the barbell and the CrossFit community to thank for that.