Continuing our series on breast cancer awareness throughout the month of October, Carla Sullivan sat down with dedicated Corefire client Susan Goldstein, who openly shared her battle with the disease. Her strength and endurance are mind-blowing. We feel blessed to have her as a part of our Corefire family.
Carla: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Susan: First off, thank you for asking to meet with me, Carla. Corefire has been an extremely valuable resource for my health awareness. I have lived in Montclair for the past 30 years with my husband Bruce. Prior to having our son, Zach, who is now 24, I worked in the fashion industry. Once Zach was born, I decided to embark on a different journey. I always had a passion for science and children, so I got my masters and became a science teacher at the middle school level.
Carla: The COREFIRE family has been so inspired by your journey. Can you share a little about your battle with breast cancer?
Susan: I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. This was six months after my sister, Carol, was also diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. Before undergoing each chemotherapy treatment, I was placed on steroids that caused me to gain 60 pounds, altering my body’s entire image and figure. This was beyond devastating for me both mentally and physically. My treatments involved double mastectomies, total reconstruction and the removal of my ovaries. I was fortunate enough to complete the invasive treatments with positive outcomes, and then was placed on a chemo drug for the next 5 years. These drugs come with a myriad of side effects that add physical challenges to the body; from bone and muscle pain to nerve pain – and then there is the depression.
Sadly, my sister’s cancer kept getting worse and she died in 2004. Lets face it: it was a tough deck of cards.
Carla: How was exercise and COREFIRE a part of your recovery?
Susan: For the most part, I was always avid about working out, but I needed to find some alternative ways to help make the changes I desired. I was finally mentally strong enough to truly dedicate time and effort to losing the weight I had gained, and searched for other sources. In 2014, I started working with an acupuncturist who helped me with my pains and my nutritional awareness. I finally began to feel better, eat better, and started to lose weight. Later that year, I decided to try Corefire. I immediately felt connected to the positive energy that flows through Angela and Caitlin and their entire staff! Corefire is challenging – believe me, you sweat! – but the workout itself has provided me with more strength than ever. Corefire has helped me to improve my mind and body with their workouts and overall positive energy!
Carla: What have you learned about yourself through the experience?
Susan: I learned that when faced with adversity, if you mentally tell yourself to fight, you can handle the challenges thrown your way. In a way, I think I became a better person.
Carla: Any advice that you could give to someone newly diagnosed with breast cancer?
Susan: Breast cancer is extremely overwhelming. Therefore, my best advice would be to tackle 1-2 steps at a time. If you just focus on what is the NOW problem, the future problems become less stressful and demoralizing.
Carla: How has breast cancer changed your outlook on life?
Susan: With my sister dying at the same time that I was sick, I realized how short life can be. It was tough to lose her, and my survival made it tough for my entire family. We always wished we could have survived this battle together.
Therefore, I try to focus on and appreciate the good things in life amongst the bad – my family, my friends, my work. I also think it is important to put effort into taking care of yourself. Sometimes you just need to take a moment to breathe.
Early detection of breast cancer is crucial to diagnosing this disease at a stage when cancer is more easily treated and outcomes are most favorable. For more information and ways you can help others battling breast cancer, visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation.