Ariell Flood- Volunteer, New Mom and SURVIVOR
My name is Ariell and at 35 years old I was diagnosed with breast cancer, just months into a new relationship with the hot guy I’d been eyeing forever from the gym! I’m healthy, play 3 sports, am even a retired pro athlete – how could this happen? In a blur I had a double mastectomy in which my left side turned black and died, 3 reconstruction surgeries, immediate fertility treatments to freeze my eggs, 5 months of intense chemo, the list goes on and on… My chemo regimen guaranteed hair loss (you can imagine the tears shed) but I decided to use the cold caps to try to keep my hair. My oncologist told me it wouldn’t work; she had a previous 0% success rate with past patients on ACT chemo. I pushed forward with the caps anyway –if you tell me it’s not possible, I’ll do everything in my power to prove you wrong. I still lost about 2/3s of my hair but just refused to go totally bald…and I didn’t. For me, keeping even a portion of my hair was keeping some self-esteem and a very personal struggle very private. Post chemo, I had my fertility levels checked and was told I had a 0% chance of getting pregnant on my own. It felt like cancer was trying to take yet another thing from me. One year to the month after my last chemo treatment, I was pregnant…naturally! Pregnant with not just one little miracle…but two!! Hot gym guy is now my fiancé and we have a beautiful set of twin girls. Through all of the needles, all of the scars (trust me there’s a lot) and all of the weakness…the only thing I had control over was my attitude and that gives you strength. Twenty-one months ago I beat cancer and am proof that despite the disease, we are all powerful!