Kathy Carrington, Fitness Instructor/Cancer Survivor, Interview by Regina Jeter
BTM – Kathy, tell us something about you.
KC – I’m 51 and my life’s philosophy is to stay physically active, eat nutritious meals and maintain healthy habits, mentally and spiritually. I have exercised all my life and participated in various fitness activities such as: aerobics, kick boxing, weight training and Taebo. I joined my church’s fitness ministry and wanted to instruct classes, so I became certified in land aerobics in 2006 and water aerobics in 2011. I also instruct at the Prince George’s Community College and for the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
BTM – While you get self-satisfaction in keeping your body agile, what do you want to give to others?
KC– “The feeling of accomplishment”. I love to exercise – not everybody, even instructors, can say that. I want people to challenge themselves to just move and set weekly or monthly goals. Start small and work their way up. Building endurance makes a strong heart, strengthens bodies and builds confidence. Sometimes people sabotage their own goals when they say, ”I can’t or I’m too old to do that”…when sometimes it’s just making an effort.
BTM – What do you think about when you are in front of people as an instructor?
KC – My goal is to show people the exercise and how to do it correctly in order to get the full benefit of the exercise. I know everybody is not going to move at the same pace, but I have to be lively and in control since I am their example. If I have no energy or control and hold back, so will they. I want the class to be responsive, excited and feel like they are getting something out of the class or why come at all.
BTM – Let’s talk a little regarding your bout with cancer. What would you like to share with our readers?
KC – I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2009 and had no family history of the disease. I felt I was healthy and did all the right things. I never asked God why I had this cancer in my body. I didn’t worry but trusted Him to guide me through this journey.
Somehow I knew the journey really wasn’t for me but for others to see how God works. My way would have been filled with frustration and worry but God gave me peace in the middle of a storm. Also I beseech every woman to have her vitamin D levels checked…Please. It was discovered that my Vitamin D level was dangerously low which was one of the key factors in the cause and discovery of my breast cancer. Most women have Vitamin D levels that are very low. Vitamin D is vital for calcium absorption and promotes breast health.
Cancer has four stages. I was in stage one, and it was found in the right breast. I prayed about everything including what operation and post treatments I was to receive…. lumpectomy or mastectomy, radiation or chemo or both. After reading and researching all the information, my spirit chose to have a mastectomy with no post-op treatments.
BTM – I remember the ministry praying for you and offering our support. You declined our help, but of course, we continued to pray. What was going on at that time?
KC– I will say my mind was also in recovery because the process was very intense, physically and mentally. The fitness ministry was a very significant part of my strength and assurance of victory during my journey. I am forever grateful for their love, support, concern, spiritual and prayer power. I want to thank them all for their powerful prayers and wonderful hugs!!!
BTM—You talked about this experience with cancer, mentioning it wasn’t for you but more so for others. What did you mean?
KC – During my journey as I talked with Jesus and trusted Him openly, my co-workers got a closer walk with Him as well. We started a bible study, talked about the Word and prayed with one another. They were from different religions and a few of them didn’t know the Lord at all. My journey led two co-workers to surrender their lives to Christ. Leading people to Christ or renewing their faith is what it’s all about.
BTM – Kathy, do you think being physically fit played a part in your recovery?
KC – Oh yes! I had a breast implant. That was an experience and almost a tragedy. I had two 12-hour surgeries in two days. It’s a long story, but I will say God is amazing, and His mercy and grace endures forever. He brought me through. Being physically fit helped me to heal quicker after surgery. The benefits of working out, I believe, contributed to my survival and complete recovery.
BTM – Hope you don’t mind me asking, but how do you feel about the transplant? Do you feel less than a woman?
KC – Your physical body and form change after that type of surgery, so I had to make some adjustments, and do things differently, especially in my movements.
No, I don’t feel any different from before as far as my womanhood. My heart and spirit makes me a woman…a real woman. When the righteous man comes along, this is the package he gets. I have to live life without fear; I make choices and have no shame.
BTM – What now Kathy?
KC – It will be two years this October since the surgery. I started back exercising in March 2010 and completed the “The Race for the Cure” that same year in June 2010 and again in 2011, both in one hour. My doctor instructed me not to lift more than 25 pounds, so I lift up to 25 pounds. I walk 5-10 miles and do strength and weight training 2 hours daily. I have resumed instructing fitness classes. Food intake should make you happy; I just try to be conscious of what I eat. I think I’m good.
BTM – Wow Kathy, you are doing more than most people who never had surgery are doing. You are truly amazing and a trooper. Remind me to call on you should I be in a situation such as yours. Thank you for sharing your story with our readers!
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