Jenny Mathews, contributing writer
Amy Davis’ first question for her oncologist wasn’t “How bad is it going to hurt?” or “When will I lose my hair?” She asked, “If I push through this, is that going to harm me in any way? Will I still be able to teach?”
Amy believes fitness is more than just a number on a scale or even a test of endurance. Fitness adds power to our whole package—it’s the place where our inner strength and outer strength meet to tackle the challenges of life. And her particular challenge is no small one.
Amy Davis has lived, worked and raised her family in Cache Valley most of her life. She is the director of group fitness at Sports Academy and loves her job. Amy was recently married to John Reese and has two sons, Davis and Nate Nixon. She has been coping with breast cancer for five months now and credits these three men and her Sports Academy family with not only filling the gaps that the cancer has created in her life and work schedule, but also surrounding her with the positivity and love that will get her through it. She credits the study and practice of yoga as the preparation she needed to accept her diagnosis and create a positive space for cancer and what good things can come from it.
“My yoga life and my yoga mentality has taught me that you have to have trials; you have to have challenges, but it’s your attitude during your challenges that matters,” Amy said. “Yoga has taught me to surrender. This is how it is now. I don’t have hair; I don’t have energy; I have to go to the doctor all the time, but from this point, what can I do with what I’ve got now?”
Five infusions down, 12 more to go and, “only one more really bad one.” This is how Amy is looking ahead at her treatments, procedures and side effects. She said chemotherapy is like having someone pour cement into your muscles. You feel heavy and you can’t move as you usually would, but she uses her yoga breathing techniques to cope with pain and fear, both familiar side effects for cancer patients.
If you had talked to any of Amy’s family or friends before her diagnosis, they would have said Amy is a private person. She even admits to lying to all of them about her doctor’s appointment so she could face it alone. Going public with her diagnosis was not easy or natural, but she had a desire to make her cancer into something positive.
“I remember thinking that people get trials because there is something they need to learn,” Amy said. “After my sister’s cancer and now my own diagnosis, I thought ‘No! What didn’t we learn? Why me? Why do I have to go through this?’ And then it hit me… Why not me? I am at a place in my life when I am open to learning new things and new ideas. From that point on, I decided to turn my cancer into a yes. I choose cancer.”
“I’m learning so much,” Amy continued. “I’m learning who loves me and who supports me. I am accepting opportunities to share my story. I don’t even like to use negative words like kill, fight or battle breast cancer. It’s all yes, why not. I can do this. I embrace it. Don’t get me wrong. I cry every day, but I can cry and be sad, and I have cancer, or I can be positive and work and do things, and I still have cancer.”
When asked what has been the biggest surprise about the last several months, Amy said, “So much support! People like me. People I see every day that maybe I didn’t even know stop me and tell me they’re cheering me on and they love me. Giving me a hug or sharing his or her own story, whatever it is; I love it.”
This isn’t the first game changer in Amy’s life, but she knows that it has forever changed how she looks at future bumps in the road. She explained that while the challenges in her past carried with them a lot of anger and bitterness, now she just gets that anger doesn’t help in healing. She doesn’t necessarily hope for more challenges, but she now knows she can do hard things.
“I know I can handle it,” she said. “If I can do cancer, I can handle someone cutting me off in traffic or whatever else. The little things don’t bother me like they used to. It gave me perspective.”
Who inspires Amy? Her 14-year-old son Nate.
“He’s one of the sweetest kids in the world,” she said. “He understands cancer. When my hair fell out, he put his hand on my back and was there to love, protect and hold me until I stopped crying. He inspires me to be a better person, both of my boys do.”
Does she have a message she feels compelled to share? Yes! She said to trust your intuition because we know our bodies so well. If something seems off, trust that. Also, for cancer survivors, acceptors and their loved ones, doing service and putting positivity out there, doing the good that you can do, will help ease your own fear and worry.”
You can see more of Amy’s story on Instagram at @amy.davis.fitness where she shares more of her positivity, yoga lifestyle and cancer journey.