Fit mum shares cervical cancer aftermath
The owner and instructor of a pilates studio who was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cervical cancer believes her own fitness regime saved her life.
Amy Jordan, 45, was at her peak physical fitness when she went to a routine check-up at a gynaecological clinic.
Doctors discovered she had a five-centimetre growth in her cervix.
The tumour was too large for surgery, so Ms Jordan underwent months of chemotherapy.
Now she has shared some eye-catching photos to normalise her cancer treatment.
The mother-of-two, who owns pilates studios LA and New York City, shared her journey on Instagram.
"I had just completed my 90th hour of chemotherapy, was two months post-op and about to wrap 25 daily radiation sessions," Ms Jordan said about the photos.
"I am sharing these very personal photos with you to normalise illness and the start of a human's journey back to health. I didn't want to forget how hard I fought or how sick I was."
She called the photos a "glimpse into the pain".
Ms Jordan contacted a photographer friend of hers, Gregory Zabilski, to take photos of her throughout the process.
"I really did want to share what cancer does to a body," she said.
"I want to normalise having a health crisis. I wanted to normalise not having hair … That part of the journey is hidden. We know people get sick, but they wear a wig or cover up their scars or just don't show this part of the path."
Ms Jordan was very unlucky - doctors were stunned that she had developed the extremely rare form of cancer. According to MD Anderson Cancer Centre, her cancer accounted for only 100 out of the 11,000 cases of cervical cancer diagnosed every year.
"It is really, really rare," Ms Jordan said to TODAY. "My oncologist had looked me in the eye and said, 'There is no reason why you should have gotten this.'"
They needed to hit the cancer hard and fast, and she claims doctors pushed her "to the brink of death".
"My oncologist said, 'This is really rare and aggressive and we have to throw everything at it,'" the mum said. "'We are aiming for a cure.'"
Ms Jordan credits her amazing level of fitness to her survival, and is unsure whether she would have made it through the rigorous treatments without it.
First, she underwent hours of chemotherapy. Then she had a hysterectomy, which means a surgeon removes the uterus, cervix and parts of the vagina in the hopes of removing any traces of the cancer. This was followed by radiation then several more weeks of chemotherapy.
"The last three weeks were unspeakable," Ms Jordan said. "I was so sick."
She lost seven kilos and her hair. But she didn't lose her life thanks to the pilates.
"I went in as strong and as healthy as I could be," Jordan said. "It gave (my doctors) the ability to attack the cancer really aggressively."
Matters were made harder as she had to complete the treatment at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, and was in hospital isolation most of the time with no visitors allowed.
However, treatment ended on November 11 and she is now cancer-free, according to doctors.
Ms Jordan also hopes to share her recovery process.
Her fitness isn't what it was, but she looks forward to building it back up, even if it's just by doing a 10-minute walk every day.
She's noticed her body weakening and slowing down. Just the other day, she stumbled attempting a pilates pose she could have "done six months ago with my eyes closed".
However, she looks forward to the challenge of making a full recovery.
Originally published as Fit mum shares cervical cancer aftermath