July 2014 marks the one-year celebration of survivorship for Angie Keiser of Jordan, Minnesota. On July 8, 2013, at 43 years old, Keiser was diagnosed with breast cancer. She attributes starting a running program to helping her discover the lump in her breast.
“On April 6, 2013, my son turned 13,” says the mother of five. “I was overweight and didn’t even own a pair of running shoes, but I decided I needed to do something about my weight. So I borrowed my son’s shoes and went running.”
Keiser says she ran a few blocks and had to stop, but it was a start. She stuck with it and by June had dropped “quite a bit of weight.” The weight loss revealed what felt like a lump in her breast, but she figured it was just fatty tissue due the changes in her body. When she told her husband about it, however, he insisted that she get it checked out.
When she struggled through her four-mile and five-mile runs over the 4th of July weekend, Keiser says she “knew it was cancer.” A mammogram and biopsy confirmed her fears, and on July 8 she was diagnosed with Stage 2A infiltrating ductal carcinoma. On July 16, she underwent a double bilateral mastectomy. Although Keiser had to undergo a second surgery and will be on medication for the next 10 years, she considers herself lucky that she did not need chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
After recovering from surgery, Keiser got right back into running and completed her first 10K race in August 2013. “I have not stopped running since,” she says. She finished her first half marathon in March 2014 and looks forward to running the Hope in Motion 5K in July. “You can either dwell in a sad place and let it consume you or you can fight it,” she says. “Celebrating being a survivor is a part of healing.”