In December of 2003, I began the journey that every woman fears – I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was in good health with no history of the disease and so the diagnosis came as a complete shock to myself and everyone around me.  My treatment started with a lumpectomy, followed by a mastectomy a month later. A few months later, my oncologist recommended another mastectomy due to a possible reoccurrence on the opposite side.  Fortunately, I was a candidate for a reconstruction procedure that would use my abdominal muscles and surrounding tissue.  Given that I would lose the use of my abdominal muscles, the doctors recommended working out to increase the strength in my arms and legs so that I would be better able to recover from the surgery.  It was this that brought me to Bodies by Design in May of 2004. Having never been to a gym, the thought of joining a gym made me anxious – I signed up to do two-on-one training sessions along with my daughter.  My first session, I was met by Paul Cianchetti’s smiling face – he put me at ease and made me feel comfortable in that alien environment. Surprisingly, it was not as intimidating as I had imagined – everyone was helpful and approachable.  By the time I had surgery, my upper and lower body strength helped my recovery immensely.  Six weeks later, I began working out again – this time doing one-on-one training sessions with Daniel. rosa melia pic [1]Getting in shape has been the best medicine as I have battled this disease.  I feel stronger and healthier than I have ever felt.  I’ve been told by my oncologist that regular exercise is one of the factors that can significantly lower the risk of reoccurrence.  Many thanks to Daniel – who has handled my case with a lot of compassion, understanding and encouragement – and many thanks to everyone at “Bodies” who have helped encourage me to keep going.