Erika lost 33 lbs*
*People following the WW program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds/week. Erika lost weight on a prior program and is continuing on WW FreestyleTM. Watch Erika's journey of building her team, making a plan, finding support, and staying positive in the video below.
In Erika’s words:
I’d watched a few friends battle breast cancer in their 30s, so when I turned 40 last October, I decided to be proactive and get my first mammogram. Afterward, I was called into the doctor’s office for what I figured was a routine chat. But my radiologist said she’d found something suspicious. After several tests, I was diagnosed with stage 3 lobular cancer, which begins in the breast’s milk-carrying ducts. The tumor was right under my nipple, where I couldn’t feel it.
Stop questioning, start focusing
Step one: make a plan
When I heard the diagnosis, my heart dropped. I have three children — how would they react? What would my husband do if I died? As I started building the medical team that would help save my life, I realized I needed to take one step at a time. I couldn't think about everything all at once. All my choices coalesced into a plan: a lumpectomy followed by chemotherapy and radiation. Once that plan was in place, I knew I could get through it.
Working through it
As a third-grade teacher, my students were on my mind a lot. I love my job as a teacher, I love my school, and I didn’t want my students to worry. I planned to keep working during my treatment, so the school psychologist and I talked with my class. The kids had a lot of great questions, which we answered as truthfully as we could. The entire school community rallied around me. When I went back to teaching after my surgery, my students threw me a Welcome Back party, which included homemade signs, treats, and an original song that they wrote and played on their recorders. It was so special.
How Erika’s success with WW has improved her life
A personalized approach
I often felt helpless during my breast-cancer journey, so it was good to control one part of my health: my weight. I’d joined WW before my diagnosis, and in addition to using the Digital tools and attending WW Workshops, I also signed up for Personal Coaching. My WW Coach and I consult on the phone, and she creates an action plan. During my treatment, if she knew I couldn’t track one week because of everything that was going on, she set a different goal for me, like upping my water intake. That was enough to keep me focused. It gave me peace, knowing that I was doing what was best for my body.
One beautiful benefit of this struggle is that you start seeing all the support around you that you may not have noticed before. Everyone cheered me on: my friends, my family, my husband (who operates on the assumption that I will beat this thing), my school, my church, my personal coach, my fellow WW members in my Workshops, my virtual friends on Connect. And my diagnosis has helped others take control of their health. At my urging, girlfriends went for mammograms, even if they thought they were too young to get breast cancer. My younger sister, Amanda, even went for a skin checkup and was diagnosed with melanoma (which luckily was caught early). She sent me a text that said, “Thank you for saving my life.” I can’t tell you how great it feels to know that my disease has actually let me help others.