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March's Gorgeous Woman of the Month is Adriana Lombardo

Written by Adriana Lombardo

I’m Adriana! I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 17. I was trying out for soccer one December morning in 2014 when I had become short of breath quite suddenly and was rushed to the emergency department by my mom. After a series of blood work, they said the words, “You have cancer.” At that moment, my life changed. I was told I could no longer attend school – I was in my final year of high school where I had also applied to post-secondary schools, but that was all quickly put on hold.

After two and a half years of weekly treatment – in-hospital and in-home, I received a total left hip replacement due to damage caused by the steroids I had to take as part of my protocol. I was tired but it was something that needed to be done. The pain was unbearable to the point that I could no longer walk. A young 20-year-old woman, who loved working out and was always very fit prior to her diagnosis, hated moving because of the pain. The hip replacement was the mark of the end of my journey.

I attended a LGFB workshop during my first month of treatment when I was an in-patient at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. The environment was extremely welcoming which calmed the nerves I had walking into it. I felt a connection with the women there. The energy was not only coming from the volunteers, but the patients, too. A room filled with strength, courage, and hope, where we could forget we had cancer for that moment and just be women - women going through an unimaginable experience. Look Good Feel Better gave me the tools, the confidence, the support that I needed. It allowed me to be me and feel good about myself even if I didn’t look or feel like myself. And it’s not just the makeup – it’s how you feel after leaving the workshop, the support, the love, the connections that you make. Out of any of the causes or anything I participated in during treatment, this is one of the things that I deeply care about. I want to make a difference and help the charity, so more young women know that this program is there for them. I am now proud to call myself an LGFB Ambassador and a Blogger.

A huge part of my journey has been fitness, and this is a big part of the message I want to share through my blog: how to take “sickness to fitness”. I became a certified Personal Training Specialist months after my hip replacement recovery (which I told my surgeon I would cut the 6-week recovery in half....and I did it in 3)! It was time for me to take back my health and take back the control I once had. I am now a student at George Brown College studying Health & Fitness Promotion. Working as a Personal Trainer, I see the challenges women face day-in and day-out in finding confidence. But it isn’t about how I look anymore – it’s about how I feel. My goal is to show women that it is possible and FUN, with the right mindset to feel confident! I want to use my past experiences with cancer and my growing knowledge to educate women about the importance of putting yourself first. I am teaching them that showing up to the gym or just going for a walk, are celebrations of what our bodies are capable of. As women, we become fixated on how we look, but cancer taught me that it's about feeling STRONG. EMPOWERED.

I feel most gorgeous when I am in the gym lifting heavy weights (as funny as that sounds). Now that I can back-squat 200lbs with an artificial hip, which I had never done before, I feel powerful!

I didn’t let cancer defeat me.

I took back my life!

 

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