October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. If breast cancer is found early, there are more treatment options and a higher chance for survival. Following is part one in a two-part series from an inspiring breast cancer survivor and YMCA staff member.
Nancy McCollom Gonzalez describes herself as a “step-fanatic.” As a group exercise instructor at the Katy Family YMCA, she teaches beginning to advanced step aerobics classes. But exercise and everything else in her life came crashing to a halt when Nancy faced a double mastectomy this summer after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Three days before her surgery, Nancy was still leading step classes. To her surprise, Katy Y members showed up to her class that day all wearing pink. They wanted Nancy to know she wasn’t alone in her fight. Here’s what Nancy had to say to her YMCA family, in her own words:
To All the Awesome People at the Y!
I have found such widespread support from everyone at the Katy Y (whether there now or from there is where we met) that I cannot describe my feelings in words. The best way I can try to explain it is this: whenever I feel like I need to shed a tear or show emotion privately, I find that I want to cry from tears of joy and happiness for the love I feel all around, me rather than a feeling of sadness or defeat.
I don’t feel like I’m carrying a burden because with everyone else’s prayers and encouragement, it’s like the burden is being carried for me. I’m humbled by everyone’s comments, smiles, hugs, winks, cards, gifts and of course, prayers! I find when I pray at night, I thank God for all the friends and family and love and care He has around me before I pray for strength and healing.
That’s how powerful the support has been! It has been so strong, it has overshadowed this disease. The only sadness I feel is for those ladies who do not have such a wonderful support system around them as they try to go the “the fight” alone.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!!
P.S. (I feel PINK running through my veins!)
That was July. Today, Nancy is back at the Katy Family YMCA, still leading and inspiring others in her step classes. She tells us she has one chemotherapy treatment left and that her reconstruction surgery is scheduled for December.
Next week, Nancy will share how her breast cancer was discovered, and tell us what her doctor says has been key to her recovery.