On July 1, 2017, my life changed. The love of my live of seven (going on eight) years got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It wasn't long before I was filling out a waiver at Orangetheory Fitness Smyrna with his name and number as my emergency contact. I still remember writing the word ‘fiancé’ as my relationship status with him and snapping a picture. I didn't want to ever forget that moment.
I joined Orangetheory for many reasons: I'm competitive; I'm a runner, but I really wanted a full year to get in the best shape of my life before our wedding in India.
Orangetheory Smyrna quickly became a home and for the first time in my life, I had gym friends! I remember getting to class one day (early on) and feeling unmotivated. I told myself I would power walk. Then two of my new friends walked in and I ended up with a personal best on the treadmill. The community at Orangetheory and the infectious energy had truly changed my life.
"I continued to go to class 5-6x/week and was very quickly becoming addicted!"
I started waking up early on weekends and finding studios when I traveled for work, just to get my workout in. It made me feel good -- 1 hour/day that was my time and no one else’s. As wedding planning became well underway, the weeks and months were flying by. I was proud how dedicated I stayed to my new fitness regime.
In December, the world around me started to slow down, almost standing still as a nodule on my thyroid was biopsied and sent for genetic testing. I remember looking in the mirror on treadmill #10 during that time thinking: "There's no way it's something bad. There's a 95% chance its benign. I'm 26 years old."
Unfortunately, the results came back indeterminate, meaning the only way to determine if it was bad was to remove it. The plan was to remove the left side of my thyroid with the nodule, send it for pathology, and take the other half if it was malignant while I was still under. Throughout this month of testing and waiting, Orangetheory remained a constant in my life. In fact, I went to class all the way up until the day before my surgery.
January 23, 2018 -- my parents flew down for my surgery and I went under for the first time in my life. The first question I asked when I woke up was: "Did you take my whole thyroid?” The answer was: "Yes." I was shocked. I was 26 years old. I had cancer.
I had so many questions. One of my first questions was about when I could get back to Orangetheory. That was my first attempt at making my life feel like it was back to normal again. Three days after my surgery, I went hiking with my parents; five days after my surgery, I was back at OT; and seven days later, I was back to running and rowing at my true All Out pace.
I single-handedly thank OTF for getting me in shape for my wedding and surgery so that I could recover as quickly as possible. I've been back at the gym ever since, still going 5-6x/week and staring at that life-affirming, badass scar on my neck, in that same mirror, in front of treadmill #10.
I feel transformed - my life is different now, in so many ways. Orangetheory has brought me more strength (both physically and mentally) and has brought me more life. Oh, and I forgot to mention -- the highlight of my bachelorette weekend was that all of my friends surprised me, and we took an Orangetheory class together! Our wedding is less than 30 days away and I ask that everyone check out my scar before you look at my amazing dress or awesome biceps!
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