Anna-Lena tells her story about breast cancer, hope, humor and love.
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The story about Anna-Lena

Meet Anna-Lena

This is Anna-Lena, she’s 57 years old. In 2016, she was diagnosed with a deadly breast cancer. In this article we tell you about Anna-Lena’s fear of leaving her daughter, how her humor took her through the darkest hours, about the “Death Club”, how she in all this found love and how she survived against all odds.

The cancer was discovered on a mammography in March 2016. Anna-Lena had postponed her appointment for 3 months because it collided with other commitments in life. If she had waited another month, she would not have lived today. On her mammography, she was told that she had a cancer with the highest mortality and that the doctors couldn’t tell how much time she had left.

“That was very scary to hear. The most frightening thing was not all the painful treatments I would have to go through, but the threat of having to leave my daughter Sara.” 

"The death club"

The day after the cancer was discovered, a 4 months’ chemotherapy treatment started. In August, the sick breast was removed. The cancer had, fortunately, not spread to other body parts, which the doctors were initially afraid of. After the surgery, Anna-Lena stayed at a patient hotel two days a week to receive treatments.

“I lived there with several other cancer patients. I called ourselves the “Death Club”. She says, laughing. She continues:

“Throughout my treatments, I used my humor to try to make the best out of the situation. Without my sense of humor, it would not have been possible. Everything turned upside down and got a new meaning, I appreciated new things. For example, every day is a chance to live."

It's Easter 2017. After many treatments Anna-Lena felt she wanted to do something fun again, so she took up the dancing.

"Panic attacks were a part of my daily life because of the fear of getting sick again, but when I danced I just seized the moments and felt pure joy."

By this time, Anna-Lena began to hope that things might go well, that she would survive after all.

"I remember thinking that I've managed so far, so now I just have to keep on going." 

Through the dance, Anna-Lena eventually met her boyfriend Lars.

“Falling in love this late in life is absolutely fantastic. He gives me such joy every day. By the time we met he was recovering from a severe stroke, so the dance was the way back for both of us."

Exercising to have less anxiety

Exercising has meant a lot to Anna-Lena's physical and mental recovery. She tells us that she has always worked out, but that she used to workout out for physical well-being, but now she does it for her mental well-being.

“I sleep better, feel happier and have less anxiety when I work out. I remember when I just got the cancer and met my former colleague Carro (now CEO at Workout Empire) in your pop-up store. She insisted that I should put on a jumpsuit that I could wear when I was working out. The fact that she believed in me and believed that I would survive, meant a lot, a moment I will not forget.” 

After the sick breast was removed, Anna-Lena thought she lost the body she once had.

“I have always been quite happy with my body, so it was a shock when I became single-breasted. I never thought I would feel good about myself again. Then one day my daughter Sara said -But mom, the scar looks cool! and after that it feels pretty okay." 

Nowadays, she has no problem being naked in dressing rooms or showing her scar, now she’s only happy if someone asks about it and she can support someone else through the cancer. 

“I feel almost more happy with my body now than I did before. It’s so cool that the body can cope with all the heavy medical treatments, I am impressed by how much it can handle. ”

Anna-Lena is currently taking an anti-hormonal medicine, that she will take for 10 years.

“It's 7 years left now. I’m counting down the days”, she says with a laughter.

Power woman

Today Anna-Lena feels more alive, here and now, than she did before the cancer. She appreciates everything around her much more. The energy is lower, she gets tired easily and needs more rest, but she has a lot of energy in-between.

“If there’s something I want to say; make the most out of life and go on mammography appointments. A cancer diagnosis doesn’t have to mean the end now, it can even make you a power woman.”

INFO: Not long ago, the mortality was very high for the type of cancer Anna-Lena had. Thanks to research, there is now a treatment that specifically target this type of cancer, which increases the chances of survival.

INSTAGRAM: @ekannalena

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