In October 2016 my life changed forever when I was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer; the same disease that killed my older brother 5 years earlier. With survival rates in the low single digits my oncologists refer to me as an extreme responder. There is no cure and treatments are harsh and ongoing. I finished my first 6 months of chemo in April 2017 and in June I still had no strength, stamina or energy.
I was never an exercise hound but I always had projects and activities on the go and energy to push them through. That ended with chemo. I remember asking my oncologist for advice thinking he’d say I was being too hard on myself and it was still the after effects of chemo. I couldn’t have been more wrong. With a smile on his face he kindly recommended I get myself what he referred to as an an “exercise therapist”.
That day I booked myself in for a consult with Claudia. Claudia has been a tremendous positive impact on my life. Our first 6 months of sessions were one on one twice a week (not missing a session no matter how tired I may have been). Then my cancer started growing again and now I’m in a new drug trial. I see Claudia twice on non treatment weeks and once (sometimes I push in a second) on treatment weeks. Whenever I leave our session I feel 100% and able to conquer the world. For me, Claudia has been a trainer, supporter, confidant and friend. The cancer is just as much a mental as a physical disabler and my sessions with her strengthen my body, mind and spirit. When I am exhausted there are 3 things that I never cut out; my doctors appointments, my kids and Claudia.
My journey with Claudia is one to build a strong body with the stamina needed to constantly fight my disease so that I may continue to be here for my children, family and friends. I could have called a different trainer or joined a fitness centre and tried to do it on my own. Every day I say a prayer of thanks that my path crossed Claudia’s because I know I would never could have accomplished anything close to what I have with her. Her knowledge, drive, attitude, empathy, enthusiasm, endless repertoire of exercises, kindness, and flexibility are just a few of the characteristics she embodies as a trainer and a person. In a nutshell, without my doctors, family and Claudia I wouldn’t be where I am today; alive, strong, fighting and hopeful.