2007 More Magazine story: What I saved: My Identity as an Athlete
Deb Yamashita, Chemical engineer, Holland, PA
“I was training for a 10-mile race when I found out I had it. The tumor first felt like a little grain of sand. If I had gone by my mammogram results, which were negative, I probably would have lost at least a year in diagnosing my breast cancer. My doctor was diligent enough to perform an ultrasound, which detected it. After the diagnosis, I still kept running, and the day after my lumpectomy—probably thanks to my painkillers—I did an 8K walk. Two weeks later, I ran the race I’d been training for. It was one of the toughest runs I’ve ever done but also one of the most exhilarating. Before my surgery, I was a much faster runner. Now my aerobic endurance isn’t as good. I used to always push myself, trying to break a personal record. Now, just finishing a race is a big accomplishment. I’m not entirely sure if it’s part of the experience of being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease or a part of aging gracefully and being OK with who you are.”
I keep a copy of the October 2007 issue to remind myself just how lucky I am. A lot has happened over the last two years and I feel even more blessed.
The year 2007 was another turning point in my life…the October 2007 MORE magazine article and being asked to be a breast cancer survivor model in a fashion show made me realize how much I had been in a state of denial facing my breast cancer and how lucky I was to be surrounded by people who could see my inner beauty and help me to realize again how fortunate I really am. The past two years have been even more incredible as I got engaged at the Louvre art museum in Paris, survived the stress of an acquisition and massive reorganization of the company I had been employed with for 29 years, and recently went on an amazing two week cross country adventure on a Harley Davidson motorcycle with my fiance, George. The breathtaking beauty of our country, friendliness of people we met along the way and spending two solid weeks with the man I am so ready to spend the rest of my life with just reinforced all the blessings in my life. I hope that all of your readers can look within themselves and at the world around them to see their inner beauty and all the positive things around them. Needless to say, George and I are getting married next year and I’m definitely running the 10 mile Broad Street Run…and finishing with a great big smile!"
Our blog for the Harley adventure is posted on Google at: