A look at people in our community

My Name Is ... Cathy Fischer

Pushing through cancer treatment to reach '1-million-meter' fitness goal

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Longtime survivor

I live in Aurora, borderline Centennial. I am 46. I survived my first time of stage 4 breast cancer over 15 years ago, in 2005.

In July 2020, I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. I had to do medical scans and testing to determine the right treatment — I was told that my cancer was hormone-related. Next step was to get a hysterectomy surgery to stop me from producing hormones.

After my recovery from the hysterectomy surgery, where they also removed my ovaries, it was time to start my cancer treatment. But at this point, the doctor told me they discovered cancer in the ovaries that were removed. My new diagnosis is now stage 4 metastatic cancer. This is when the cancer has spread from the primary cancer. 

Coming to terms

I'm holding up as best I could … It was heartbreaking when my husband and I asked about remission, cure and survival rate. Metastatic cancer does not go away, but … it can be treated.

With my cancer, the survival is estimated four years, maybe less or maybe more depending on how my body or myself endures the treatment.

Rowing 1 million meters

Once you have kids, as women, we gain a lot of weight. My husband and I have three kids. Plus, after cancer the first time, my (goal) was to be healthy … Exercising makes me feel strong, healthy and cancer-free rather than a cancer patient.

I've been at Row House gym (in east Centennial) for over a year since they first opened up.

Row House tracks your rowing goals by milestones (up to) a million meters rowed. (Rowing is an exercise that mimics the motion of rowing a boat.) The gym hosted a “Resolve 2 Row” challenge last January, which my husband and I joined … we heard it was against all Row House locations throughout the states.

From August 2019, when Row House opened, to November 2020 — and minus the closure from the COVID-19 pandemic and surgery recovery time — it took me less than a year to reach my million meters at the same Row House location. 

Positivity attracts

Life can be hard, but surround yourself with positive people. Don't isolate yourself — make friends. Friendship is hiding everywhere. You just have to go out and find it.

'Not the end'

Everything is all about your mental mindset. People hear “cancer,” and that's all they focus on and forget about how they were living before the diagnosis. Don't let cancer define you! Don't let cancer win!

During my first cancer 16 years ago, it was hard. Then I had convinced myself that I couldn't go through it a second time around. Here I am going through it again. This time, it's different for me … I have a lot of support from my community and friends local, over social media and afar.

I've lost my mom through cancer, along with family and friends. On top of my battle with cancer, my dad is undergoing treatment just as I am. Cancer is not the end. The end is if you let cancer win.

Be supportive to those around you — you never know what they are going through because it never really shows on the outside because some hide it well. Live smart and most importantly healthy, and be kind. Lose the hate because it's not worth the time and effort. 

If you know someone we should cover in My Name Is , or if you would like to be featured in the segment, contact Ellis Arnold at earnold@coloradocommunitymedia.com.

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