October is finally here – and it’s breast cancer awareness month. Moxie Cycling is proud to do our small part in seeking a cure and this week, we released a limited-edition mini collection where $5 of every unit sold will be donated to Huntsman Cancer Foundation for women’s cancer research.
We followed up with Neva, who was treated at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. She is a cancer survivor. We hope to share her story and bring greater awareness of the effects of cancer and the unbelievable strength of the human spirit.
This is Neva’s story…
What were the steps that led to your cancer diagnosis?
I had read a medical summary and noticed that the report said to look for “dimpling” during a breast exam. I had noticed some weeks/months earlier, dimpling on one of my breasts but thought it was cellulite. Because of that report, I went to a doctor and got an appointment for the next day with the Huntsman Cancer Institute for a mammogram. The biopsy confirmed that I had breast cancer.
Can you briefly explain the treatment you underwent?
First I participated in a clinical trial that lasted 2 weeks. My chemo shrunk the tumor a great deal but the breast was deformed so they performed a mastectomy. Then, I went through radiation treatment. After I recovered sufficiently from that, I had a natural breast reconstruction surgery.
During your treatment, where did you find your strength and moxie?
You do what you have to do. I had family and friends that traveled to stay with me and take me to chemo treatments. My sisters stayed with me after surgeries. My son came out and stayed a few weeks with me to assist with radiation treatments, and before he left he prepared meals and froze them for me so I wouldn’t have to cook for the remaining 3 weeks. I had a therapist and utilized the fitness program at Huntsman. The doctors and nurses were so great! I knew they knew what they were doing and I just did whatever they said.
Has your battle with cancer changed your perspective on life in any way?
Yes, but it’s hard to describe. Probably the biggest change was opening myself more to relationships and vulnerability. There is a quote on a Miche handbag that another cancer patient gave me – “It’s not about whether you live or die; it’s about living.” I made a sign of that and put it on my wall and read it every day. I try to live by that motto still.
One of my sisters passed away from breast cancer. She had a much more aggressive form of cancer than mine and she passed away about 7 months after her diagnosis. It impacted our family strongly. This year, my other sister (a melanoma survivor) and our brother chose to make the commitment to train and ride in then Huntsman 140 in her honor. We had huge family support, our own team within the Huntsman 140 – Team Sandra. It brought cousins together who hadn’t met before, each supporting their parent – us siblings.
The Huntsman 140 is an annual non-competitive fundraising road cycling event from Delta, UT to the doors of the Huntsman Cancer Institute. In 2014, the event raised 372,331. All funds raised through this one-day event go to Huntsman Cancer Foundation (HCF) to support cancer research at the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI).
Do you have any advice for other women currently battling cancer?
Ask for help; let people help and love you. Use the programs offered at Huntsman – the fitness program, the artist in residence program – I love those. There are so many loving people – let them take care of you.