The world lost a fighter on Sunday.
That fighter’s name was Jen Young, or JY, as she’s known. She was a member of Crossfit Altitude, the gym I’ve been a part of for more than five years; if you know anything about CrossFit, you’ll know that we’re a tight-knit bunch. And while JY and I weren’t close friends, I have certainly admired the battle she’s waged over the past year and a half. In her case, the cancer began as cervical cancer and metastasized to her liver. She was 31 years old.
I’ve written about her a couple of times here and there, but now I’m going to share her education and advice, in her own remarkable, touching, transparently honest words, courtesy of her blog ‘From Potato to Paleo.’
How she was initially diagnosed:
“One of the first things people seem to ask me is how I found out. Since cervical cancer is one of the most preventable and can often be detected earlier than most, I don’t mind sharing. In May I went for my regular annual physical, and the doctor did not see anything abnormal. I did not get a pap at this time, because paps are only every 3 years now and I had had a normal one the year before. In principle, I am very much against this change in policy, but my particular cancer tends not to show up in paps in the pre-cancerous “abnormal cell” stage like many others do, so it likely would not have made a difference in my case. In June/July I noticed bleeding outside of my cycle that seemed different. I went to the doctor again in August and asked for a pap and exam. She could see the tumor, and sent me to the gynocologist right away for a biopsy. The gynocologist took one, but was convinced it was just a fibroid given its rapid appearance; most cervical cancers grow much more slowly than my mutant variety (aren’t I just the overachiever). Obviously she was incorrect, although I’m not in the least bit upset with her. I would rather have spent that week believing it was no big deal than all stressed about it waiting for results.”
Her take on fear and inspiration:
“I’m not inspiring. I’m just terrified, and too proud to show it…. That said, you needn’t feel bad every time you talk to me about some aspect of life, yours or mine, that is not cancer related. Just because you didn’t feel terrified at any point today doesn’t mean that you don’t have problems. Having cancer didn’t make me suddenly immune to “ordinary” problems. I still get unreasonably angry at old people in parking lots and irritable with poor customer service. Problems are relative in the life experience, and I am not judging yours.”
“1. Smile more”.
“1b. Do things that make other people smile”.
“2. Pay attention”.
“3. Trust the universe”.
JY also co-founded the Love the Snatch Foundation while fighting her courageous battle. LtS goals include fundraising, cervical cancer awareness, open conversation, and promoting/supporting wellness through health and fitness. If you’re inclined and able, please consider donating here.
Lastly, have a read of this image that’s been floating around the internet. “It cannot conquer the spirit“.