Cowgirls vs. Cancer’s Amy rides towards the finish line

Thanks to Amy, guest blogger and 2010 Cowgirls vs. Cancer scholarship recipient. She blogs here monthly on her journey through breast cancer treatment.

It’s wet and rainy here – typical Wisconsin in April. But I’m all sunshine inside as I’m celebrating the end of radiation and cancer treatment. Although the year was rough, at least my timing was good; spring is a great time of year for me in general, and this year is exceptional. My hair is growing back at the same time the backyard is greening up. It seems so symbolic. At the very least, the end of a Wisconsin winter is worth celebrating. And this year, winter was more then cold – it was dark and ugly.

But that chapter has slammed shut. It feels great to look ahead as I plan for summer. In addition to the kids’ camps, family getaways, and grilling out with friends (editor’s note: AND COWGIRL YOGA in July, YEEHAW!), I have enrolled in an anatomy and physiology class and some other yoga teacher trainings this summer. With my last child going to Kindergarten this year, paired with a life changing experience, I have decided to take my passion for yoga to the next level. I must admit that a year of cancer treatments and surgeries has been pretty tough on my ability to pose, but I am amazed how the strength of the body is slowly returning as I have added a daily practice to my life again. The idea of teaching and improving others’ quality of life through an understanding of yoga has always brought me joy.

A quick recap on my progress: one more radiation treatment and I’m done (editor’s note: can I get another YEEHAW!!!). It was pleasantly uneventful. I was a bit tired, but as a mom of four, I can handle tired. The skin on my left breast looks like I have a bad sunburn; it has blistered and it itches. Again, the irony of all these treatments never escapes me; after years of faithfully slathering SPF 30 on my skin, I now make daily trips to the hospital to voluntarily fry it. It helps to visualize those rays scorching the last remains of any cancer cells.

My plastic surgeon is trying to talk me into a latisimus flap, where they cut and rotate the latisimus muscle in towards the breast, to create a natural looking breast. I’m trying to talk him into simple implants because I’m really afraid of losing my range of motion. These doctors don’t quite understand when I tell them I want to still be able to do urdhva dhanurasana wheel pose when I’m completely finished. Actually, they laugh.

I do have one more surgery (sigh), but at least this time I’m going into it seeing the finish line. SO worth celebrating. Welcome Spring!