Participant Spotlight: Victoria May

We often hear our participants say that the need for support doesn’t end after cancer treatment ends. For many survivors, a cancer diagnosis and treatment can have physical and emotional consequences that last for months or years after their initial diagnosis. That was also the experience of Survivor Fitness participant Victoria May. 

Victoria was diagnosed with DCIS breast cancer in 2019. In addition to undergoing a single mastectomy, Victoria underwent several surgeries and had to fight numerous infections during her treatment. After her final surgery, Victoria was diagnosed with lymphedema—an uncomfortable and often painful build-up of lymphatic fluid—in her right arm. 

Seeing Tangible Results, One Step at a Time

Victoria experienced many side effects of breast cancer treatment, including weakness, weight gain, and scar tissue development. She also had swelling and pain in her arm and hand from the lymphedema. 

In order to treat the lymphedema, Victoria wore a compression sleeve for more than a year. During that year, Victoria heard about Survivor Fitness and decided to reach out. 

I started Survivor Fitness to help me learn from a trainer how to properly work out, especially with the lymphedema,” Victoria said. “And I wanted to take back my life and create better habits for myself.“ 

Victoria filled out the application and was connected with a trainer who designed a personal fitness plan that would help her achieve her goals. Like many Survivor Fitness participants, Victoria received a scholarship that allowed her to participate in the program at no cost. 

Over the course of 12 weeks, Victoria worked out with several trainers to regain strength and relieve some of her physical discomfort. This made a tremendous difference in her recovery journey. 

“I know that I feel stronger and have less pain and my arm feels much better,” she said. “I know working out helped my lymphatic flow.”

Victoria acknowledges that her trainers have made a tremendous impact on the mental and emotional aspects of recovery as well. 

“[My trainers] have been some of my biggest supporters and are so knowledgeable and encouraging,” she mentioned. “I can’t thank them enough.

Embracing the New Victoria

Today, Victoria continues to participate in the Survivor Fitness program through small-group sessions. This allows her to keep up her workout routine. Having a group to work with offered her helpful accountability. 

“This program is too good to pass up,” Victoria said. “To have such an opportunity given to me was too good to not go for!”

Like most cancer survivors, the journey after treatment hasn’t been easy for Victoria. But her strong spirit and decision to accept her situation proved to be life-altering moments.

“The most difficult part of the journey was realizing that I was never going to be the same again. I had to embrace the change in myself both physically and mentally. Once I started doing that, I was able to move forward and embrace a new me. Survivor Fitness has definitely helped me do that.”

When asked what advice she would give someone who has experienced similar challenges, Victoria summed it up perfectly:

“Talk to people to see what will be right for you. The bottom line is, you have to start somewhere. We never know until we try, so what are you waiting for?”

Interested in Becoming a Survivor Fitness Participant?

Victoria’s bravery to start the program and perseverance to continue the journey has been such an inspiration to our team at Survivor Fitness. If you or someone you know is a cancer survivor looking to regain health and wellness after cancer, we’re here for you! Connect with us today to learn more.