Lori McCutchen, age 48; Lawyer and Cancer Survivor
In 2012, I awoke from surgery to learn my abdomen was filled with tumors. What I thought was appendicitis was, in fact, cancer. That day, the surgeon gave me a 20% change of survival, and suggested to my future husband that I get my affairs in order. I underwent chemotherapy and had a chemical cocktail dripped into my veins for 6 months - chemicals so toxic that hospital staff wore protective gear when handling them.
Before chemo, I was a vibrant person who rode horses, loved long distance runs, and undertook all sorts of physical challenges. But this all changed with chemotherapy: my hair fell out, my memory started failing, I had trouble thinking and speaking, and I suffered from crushing fatigue. My body aged so rapidly, that I went into menopause at 42. The days of riding horses, running half marathons and undertaking physical challenges were over. Ironically, saving my life meant the loss of the mind and body I once had. It took 5 years to recover.
I would not be where I am today without the unwavering love and support of my husband Matt Kaustinen, or the coaching and tough love from Christina Larson, Rob Crane and Andrian Iliescu of His & Her Fitness. I started training with His & Her Fitness simply to battle the fatigue I felt every day. Their training and guidance on fitness and nutrition has helped me recapture my life. My strength increased. My energy improved. I lost 20 pounds and my body fat improved from 28% to 11%.
Today, I am strong and I am fit. Surviving cancer and its effect gave me a new lease on life. I've let go of certain fears, and, at the age of 48, I'm competing in my first fitness competition in San Diego. If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would compete in a bikini on stage, I would have called them crazy. Not today.