My name is Kandace McMenomy and have been in the fitness industry for over fifteen years. I started working as a personal trainer while in college at San Diego State University and post-college I started my own business.
I remember the feeling of being so tired that I just wanted to cry. It was Tuesday February 22, 2011. That same week I felt a tiny lump underneath my arm pit. I thought it might be an in grown hair from shaving, but a few days later I went to the doctor and forgot to mention the lump. I was more concerned about feeling exhausted. I thought maybe I had mono, an infection, or that my hormones were not balanced. I even thought that perhaps it was because I was training for a marathon. None the less, I was tested for mono and had a complete blood count done. The test came back negative, my blood counts were excellent and my hormones were balanced. March 6, 2011, I ran the Napa Valley Marathon & qualified for the 2012 Boston Marathon. Four days later, I went back to the doctor and had the lump checked out; the doctor was unsure about the lump so she ordered an ultra sound and mammogram. The tests were done and on March 23rd I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. On March 31st, the surgeon removed seventeen lymph nodes, seven of which were cancerous from my left auxiliary area. I underwent twelve chemo treatments and thirty-six treatments of radiation. The cause of my cancer is still unknown and in my lifetime I will probably never know the cause of the disease. According to the doctor, he felt the cancer had been in my body for about seven years. I contribute my healthy lifestyle and positive attitude to not having symptoms of cancer earlier than last year. Needless to say, this experience has forever changed me…In a very positive way!!
Cancer is a scary word, until you are personally confronted with the disease; for example: Why me? What did I do to deserve this? And, a good cry- in fact several of them. A 30 year old going through cancer is hard to imagine, but attitude is everything. A 30 year old woman is not supposed to have the knowledge or poise that a 50 year old women does.
After surgery I was faced with making the decision to harvest my eggs, as chemotherapy can damage the reproductive system. My oncologist also recommended that I shave my head because seventeen days after my first chemotherapy treatment I would be completely bald. Can you imagine being told that? I took his advice. I had an unusual reaction to one of the chemo drugs- the drug attacked my lungs, my eyes and nose bled and I lost my eyelashes and eyebrows. It was Fourth of July weekend, but I pulled myself together and enjoyed the holiday with my dad and close friends on their boat.
I could not run for three months because of the condition of my lungs. How does a runner not run for three months? My pulmonary doctor put me on prednisone for a few months so that I could walk up the stairs without feeling faint. I decided to walk, lift weights and do Pilates vs. being upset that I could not run half of a block. Due to my condition I was unable to run the 2012 Boston Marathon, but I did run the 2013 Boston and Chicago Marathon. In 2014, I ran the San Diego half marathon.
Throughout my treatments I decided to use a holistic approach to help with the side effects of the drugs. I used a nutritionist, an acupuncturist, a message therapist and a reiki practitioner. My team of specialists enabled me to stay relatively healthy and strong throughout this process.
Physical beauty did not matter anymore- inner strengthen and my family’s presence was all that I needed. My mom was at every appointment, meeting and function. I was able to get through this process because of her. Thank you dad for your strength and steady eddie/calm attitude. My brother for his sense of humor-OMG and to my sister for her sisterly love. Sisters are allowed to be emotional together. I am so blessed and fortunate!
I am extremely passionate about exercise and nutrition. I feel that nutrition is a key component in feeling well and staying healthy. My diet closely follows a macrobiotic plan in addition to eating fish six times per week, enjoy a bit of organic wine and dark chocolate on the weekends. I eat organic fruits, vegetables and whole-unprocessed foods because they are not treated with antibiotics, chemicals or pesticides. I also make a vegetable juice daily. I find these foods keep me healthy and energized.
Eating healthy and exercise have been a way of life for me this past decade. I feel the condition I was in pre-cancer allowed me to endure a very aggressive cancer treatment protocol. Now sustaining these healthy habits is no longer a choice, but a necessity to a full life- cancer free!