This former Olympian has been living with cancer for more than 11 years. Diagnosed with small cell viral cancer at just 27, Ann Green is a testament to how cancer patients can transform the negativity surrounding disease into inspiring stories of positivity.
SheKnows: How old were you when you were diagnosed with cancer? What was your initial reaction?
Ann Green: I was just shy of my 28th birthday when I was diagnosed with what was believed to be cervical cancer. A strange pap smear convinced my gynecologist to have a full spectrum biopsy. It revealed fully metastasized cells in the form of small cell viral cancer. I was in shock but firmly believed the next “little” appointment would take care of it — it would be cut out and gone. I was wrong. I guess you could call me idiotic or insanely positive, but I just knew I was going to be okay.
SheKnows: What kind of treatment options were you offered?
Ann Green: My cancer path has taken many turns since then. In all, I have been treated in various areas of my body more than five times for what we believe to be the same small cell viral cancer. I have received treatment in my uterus, brain, breast and back. I have had chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and hormone treatments. I opted to maintain my balanced lifestyle with fitness, clean eating, and tons of yoga.
SheKnows: How did you feel emotionally and physically throughout? How do you feel now?
Ann Green: I just found out the tumor in my back is “no longer of importance.” We are certain that means I am officially beginning remission again! I feel this is the final curtain call on cancer for me and my immediate family.
In the end, I do not blame anybody for my cancer but, don’t kid yourself, I have been angry about it. I would not want anybody else I know to go through what I’ve gone through. It was trying, especially while losing people in my life… people saying I didn’t look sick enough or doctors not knowing what to do.
But I am glad it happened to me. It is a human experience that I am glad to have taken with all its incredible lessons (for me and those I love).
SheKnows: What’s been most important to you in your fight against cancer? How did you get through it?
Ann Green: Somehow, possibly miraculously, I have been given the best and most precious gift ever: My son, Matthew. He is phenomenal! He is a gift I truly should not have physically been able to pursue or be presented with. He is my balance. He is my devotion.
There’s also David, my husband. He proposed to me just three days after we were given my brain cancer diagnosis — it was unlikely I would live the next three months. We got married and have been having an excellent life journey together ever since.
SheKnows: What tips or suggestions would you offer people who have just been diagnosed with cancer or to those who are gearing up to battle the disease?
Ann Green: I don’t have advice. Cancer is both a personal and a public journey. What happens at home is vastly different from the experiences you have at work, at the hospital and sometimes, within yourself. I know what worked for me is not what may work for others. But, if I could pass along something, it would be to enjoy each moment you are given. To be free in your emotions and with life. To be completely honest and never hurtful. To trust that you are enough just the way you are, living with cancer or not. To live like you are blessed.
For more information on Ann, please visit her website at www.anngreenyoga.com.