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  1. #1
    Red NerdyLady's Avatar
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    Should I/shouldn't I?

    So I have been lifting light weights (10lbs, sometimes doubled up) for a long time. It was mainly to keep my shoulders and back strong following my first upper back pain (at 17 y/o), which was so intense I had to lay on the floor to get relief before being able to talk acetaminophen. I was, at that point, a 34F bra size. I was around 112lb then.

    I knew I would one day get breast reduction but I wanted to wait till after having kids. Goal was to breastfeed then do the surgery.

    FF many years later and I finally go to get a consultation and it turns out I have breast cancer. No lump yet, it was minuscule, low grade, low stage. In the interim, I had been lifting still and had lost a bunch of post baby weight. I was in the best shape of my life. Or so I thought. I was thinking of getting into bodybuilding but hadn't researched the ins and outs of this sport yet.

    Upon research, and some terrible advice from a BC survivor (I have no family history and I also got genetic testing but I was scared), I opted for bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. Chose one of the the top 5 reconstructive surgeons in our city. 7 surgeries (50+ hrs) later and I ended that relationship because I couldn't do it anymore.

    Okay so my point is this: I want to get to the goal that I set myself 5 years ago. I want to step onto a BB stage and be a role model for my daughter, other women who have, and continue to, battled this insidious disease. And I want to do it for me.

    I am in good shape. I've been doing a program I set myself, for the past 3 months. This has increased my weight load and intensity substantially. I bought bars, plates, kettlebells, bands with up to 100lbs of resistance. I use my Bowflex and a pullup frame where I can also do a few dips.

    I want to try OCB. I have increased my caloric intake (I haven't been a big eater in a long time) and try to balance macros. I do upper/lower days followed by a rest day. On workout days, I do several hours.

    My limitations: I had extensive pectoral muscle damage, due to all the surgeries. I struggle to do pullups (assisted). Pushups, which I had no issues with prior to my first surgery, I still do but I struggle with them. It's an odd sensation due to having had the entire pockets rebuilt so many times (bearing in mind I had huge breasts before, it wasn't a simple removal of breast tissue surgery).

    So I have set this goal and I tend to believe I will attain it. Stepping up there, in a competition setting, is all. I don't need to win. Being there will be a win for me.

    Any advice?
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  2. #2
    Want to be the BIGGEST! ProYeo's Avatar
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    You sound like you have a good mindset. You also sound like you have the medical side sorted. You know what you are able to do - so I'm operating on the assumption that you are able to do what you are after.

    It also sounds like you have a lot of good stuff at home for workouts. So sharing back to my beginning... my husband put together what he could for me at home. After a motorcycle accident and a long stint in a care facility, I was rebounding from my starting point of 97 pounds. We also had a Bowflex, and various random stuff. The accident was in '08, and I was able to get on stage in '13. I started local, won, and just kept going. I did 3 shows in 2013, without a gym or a coach or knowing any competitors. Just me, my home equipment, and the internet.

    Not trying to draw comparisons between us, just giving a little backstory. My only goal was to get on stage just once, to prove to myself I could do it. But I was hooked, I still am, and I just kept going. I competed with a local group, then INBA, DFAC, NPC, on to the Arnold, and still going. In each of those places, I met many women with many stories overcoming many things. The environment has always been nothing but supportive - I've met so many lifelong friends.

    Competing is very tough, and you ask a lot from yourself. But if you do it the right way and maintain a healthy mindset, it can be very rewarding. I might be a bit biased, but I would definitely encourage you to explore it and achieve your goals!
    NPC WPD Nationally Qualified | 2018 Arnold Amateur WPD Top 3 | 2x WPD Pro World Champion (INBA/DFAC)

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  3. #3
    Red NerdyLady's Avatar
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    NerdyLady is offline
    Originally Posted by ProYeo View Post
    You sound like you have a good mindset. You also sound like you have the medical side sorted. You know what you are able to do - so I'm operating on the assumption that you are able to do what you are after.

    It also sounds like you have a lot of good stuff at home for workouts. So sharing back to my beginning... my husband put together what he could for me at home. After a motorcycle accident and a long stint in a care facility, I was rebounding from my starting point of 97 pounds. We also had a Bowflex, and various random stuff. The accident was in '08, and I was able to get on stage in '13. I started local, won, and just kept going. I did 3 shows in 2013, without a gym or a coach or knowing any competitors. Just me, my home equipment, and the internet.

    Not trying to draw comparisons between us, just giving a little backstory. My only goal was to get on stage just once, to prove to myself I could do it. But I was hooked, I still am, and I just kept going. I competed with a local group, then INBA, DFAC, NPC, on to the Arnold, and still going. In each of those places, I met many women with many stories overcoming many things. The environment has always been nothing but supportive - I've met so many lifelong friends.

    Competing is very tough, and you ask a lot from yourself. But if you do it the right way and maintain a healthy mindset, it can be very rewarding. I might be a bit biased, but I would definitely encourage you to explore it and achieve your goals!
    Thank you for your thoughtful response. Yes, my goal is to step up one time and see how it feels. So many women live in fear of recurrence, after BC, and are always looking over their shoulders. It would have been so easy to give up my fitness, considering how many surgeries and exercise bans I had over a two year period, but exercise was one of the few things that made me feel like I could actively help myself. I want to inspire other women in remission. There can be life after this kind of life altering event.

    It's great to see what you have achieved, considering your own hurdles. I realize it is a process and this kind of pain certainly beats pain received from surgeries.

    Thank you so much for your words. And encouragement.
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    I am one of the 1 in 8.
    www.metavivor.org
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