My name is Shannon Montgomery. I am a 31 year old wife and mother of two girls – a one year old and a three year old and I have breast cancer.
I was diagnosed at age 30 with stage 3, triple negative, invasive ductile carcinoma. I have undergone 16 rounds of IV chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, 28 rounds of radiation, and I am currently on an oral chemotherapy for 6 months.
I want to be here to raise my girls, to watch them grow up, to show them how to be strong women. I want my diagnosis and journey to be for a reason. I want to encourage and inspire others to be active and healthy. Philippians 4:13 motivates me to use this as an opportunity to help others and to realize there is a greater purpose.
In order to stay active, I try to do different types of exercise, including biking. But there is a catch – I. Hate. Biking. Literally, everything about biking. So why do I do it? In 2009, I had a goal to complete a sprint triathalon. Well, 2 heart surgeries and 2 babies later, I still hadn't done it. And of course, once I got cancer, it got turfed to the back burner again. I had just finished my IV Chemo and mastectomy and my best friend mentioned she'd always wanted to try one... so, I made her sign up with me because if I'm going to crawl across the finish line, I'd rather it be a friend cheering me (or laughing at me) than a stranger!
So, yeah... triathlons involve biking, so much biking! My bike and I are acquaintances now, not friends, but I don't cry every time I see bike day on my calendar. I'm usually riding for an hour or so which gives me lots of time to think. I want to praise God in this journey and find my purpose. There have been studies released that PROVE exercise decreases recurrence rates in breast cancer survivors. It isn't some fad diet or weird cream or other crazy idea – it's a proven fact and I'll take that advice any day. While suffering on the bike, I started thinking about how many of my survivor sisters are trying to be athletes while trying to survive, and how we need both financial and emotional support, and the idea for Try-Athletes popped in my head. I hope that we can bring awareness to the importance of exercise for survivors as well as the need to provide support, both financially and emotionally, as we go through this struggle.