In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, HYLETE's very own Senior Graphic Designer, Maren Reiter shares her breast cancer recovery story with our community.

How long have you been cancer-free?

I ask my oncologist what date people go by when they say how long they have been cancer-free, and she said she would go by when you were diagnosed. I didn’t know that, I was always going by when they told me my margins were clear after surgery. So, that said, I guess I’ve been cancer for 3 years next month according to the Doctor.

How has remission impacted your daily life?

I’d be lying if I said I have been fine this entire time. I went through some rough patches where I struggled mentally every day with how my body looks, feels, and the new limitations it has. Therapy, diet (even if I get derailed), family (dogs included), good friends, and medication has helped immensely.

*Note: Not everyone needs medicine to help them out.

Are there resources that have helped you during you remission?

I’ve joined a few groups out there on Facebook that have been the best resources. Someone in those groups is going through the same thing and it’s been a useful tool, so thanks Facebook. Also, all the Doctors at Kaiser involved on my side have been amazing.

Was there anything about the remission process that you wish someone told you?

I think everyone’s situation is unique to them, but it helps to have support. I wouldn’t have even known about the groups if my Oncologist didn’t suggest the therapist they had in their department. Also, Kaiser has a whole support system for cancer survivors.

What have you found has been most helpful to you during your remission?

I would go with the groups I belong to now. Flatties Unite, Double and Single Mastectomy Discussion And Support Group, Triple Negative Breast Cancer Support Group, Mastectomy Support Group-Closed (facts and support for women getting mastectomy closure procedure), Diep Flap Support Group, and Latissimus Dorsi Flap.

Advice?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, no sense to suffer alone if there are tools and people that are there for support.

Is there anything new that helped you stay positive during your journey?

HAHA, I guess it would that I’m done with all the surgeries I’ve had over the last couple of years building an A cup HAHA.

What do you enjoy during your free time?

Eating :), yoga, surfing, and camping. Not much change there.

How do you practice a healthy lifestyle today?

There is something to say about making the choice to exercise. It’s like, once you even go for a walk, you come back feeling better. You feel better about yourself, which makes you want to eat better, which makes your body and head feel better. So I would say my practice is just to try everyday to make something happen.

Why is health important to you?

It’s what makes you happy and feel good about yourself. I think there is something to be said about eating super clean, but also it’s not your fault if you get cancer or comes back, sometimes it’s just in some of our genes. I have PALB2, which means my body doesn’t make those receptors to fight off cancer slowly. Instead, it just grows as fast as it can. (I’m not a doctor, so I’m sure I botched a synopsis on that)

What type of activities or lifestyle choices helped you in your recovery?

I think if I picked one thing, it would be yoga.

Anything else?

Just keep kicking ass!