Moms Columns & Blogs

A breast cancer survivor's story

Kim Roman will participate this Saturday in the Urban Active Breast Cancer Boot Camp, to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month and honor those affected by it. The Breast Cancer Boot Camp is open to the public and will start at 10 a.m. at Urban Active Fitness: 12325 Copper Way, Charlotte. Participants are suggested to make a $25 donation, which will provide them with a limited-edition T-shirt, silicone bracelet, and a donation tag with their name that will be displayed in the club to demonstrate their support. Non-members will also have access to Urban Active for an entire month at no charge. All of the proceeds will go to breast cancer research.

After fighting her cancer, Kim became an Urban Active fitness instructor in North Carolina. Here, she shares her story.

My name is Kim Roman. I am a wife and mother of three beautiful children, ages 14, 8 and 6. All my life I had aspirations to be an elementary school teacher. As an alumni of East Carolina University, I was working on my bachelor’s degree and had only two years left before achieving my dream of teaching kindergarten.

At the age of 27, shortly after the birth of my third child, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Stage II, Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, ER/PR/HER 2+, to be exact. In laymen's terms, this means I have a very aggressive cancer that feeds of hormones, so being a woman is worst enemy. When my oncologist found the tumor, it was four centimeters in diameter. I had to make a decision on my course of action quickly before the cancer had the chance to grow.

On Nov. 5, 2005, I had a right radical mastectomy with reconstruction. I began chemotherapy on December 21 of that year and underwent four different treatments and a year of an experimental treatment to combat the HER 2 receptors. My hair fell out; I was extremely weak all of the time and ended up in the hospital twice for Neutropenia brought on by the flu.

Your white blood cell count is normally between 4000 and 11000 and it is needed to be that high to fight off infections such as colds. Neutropenia is where your blood cell count drops so low that it is impossible to fight an infection such as the flu I had. They had to quarantine me for a week from my family so my count would normalize. I almost lost my life twice to this! I then underwent several rounds of radiation. Numerous surgeries later from biopsies to a tubal ligation, I was finally on the road to recovery.

In January of 2007, just as I was finishing up the last of my treatments, my husband was deployed to Iraq. I was alone with the kids and miserable. Before cancer, I was athletic and in shape. After my last treatment, from the lack of activity, baby weight, and no work, I weighed in at 225 lbs! I wanted my husband to still find me attractive when he returned and I also wanted to be in good health so I can be there for my kids physically and mentally.

For the first time in my life, I joined the gym. I was scared. I wasn’t sure how to begin losing weight. I felt intimidated next to most men and women who worked out at the gym. Through the help of trainers there, I started to feel comfortable around the equipment and committed myself to working out every day. My energy levels started to increase, my stamina and endurance improved and I was seeing change in areas I thought I would never get back. It was rough being I had to retrain certain muscles to work again but I was determined. I wanted to look and feel better so I can be a better role model for my children and be ready if I ever had to face the disease again.

Eleven months later, I lost 80 lbs and uncovered muscle I never had! I was hooked. Through the encouragement of many people, I studied to become a personal trainer. I felt I had so much to offer. I became certified through National Academy of Sports Medicine and began my career as a personal trainer. I will never again do anything else. Being a personal trainer is so rewarding and not only am I an inspiration to most, they are to me as well. My clients motivate me to be the best trainer and person I can be. They motivate me to stay healthy. Having cancer wasn’t such a bad thing. Due to my illness, I realized how precious life was and it allowed me to find the career I was meant to do.

After four years in remission, I was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer January of 2010. They found it in an early stage but in my lymph nodes this time. I had more surgeries up to and including a complete hysterectomy so I can go on stronger cancer medications. Even though it was rough, if it wasn’t for the gym, I doubt I would have conquered the disease a second time. Being in the gym kept me strong both physically and mentally. Being active and in shape helped my recovery to be a smooth one.

I am now, again, in remission! A year and 10 months, to be exact. At the age of 33, I know I have been through so much, but I can also say I wouldn’t be the woman, wife and mother I am today if it wasn’t for the desire of being healthy and working out in the gym. Exercise increases your stamina, builds your endurance, gives you a mental clarity and focus, increases metabolism to help efficiently burn fat, helps shape and define all areas of your body, keeps you healthy and out of harms way for diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type II Diabetes and even certain cancers!! Exercise makes you look great and feel even better. I encourage both men and women to stay active and be healthy through exercise. It can be the cure to everything!

In the Charlotte area, you can find Urban Active in Ballantyne.