Breast Cancer 2 Bikini: Barbara Owens
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have. For Barbara Owens this couldn't be more true. Barbara's battle started before breast cancer. In our special Breast Cancer 2 Bikini Health Watch series, find out who inspired Barbara to fight through it all.
"Now you're feeling the lump on the left side?” asks an ultrasound technician. “Yes,” answers Barbara Owens, who has a calendar packed with doctor’s appointments. We followed her to a scan to examine a lump she discovered.. "It is what it is. You deal with it and move on. I mean, I don't have a choice, right?" This isn't the first time the 50 year old has been screened for cancer. "Four years ago right now I was in chemo." She was fighting for her life with four children who needed her - then more than ever. Their father had died just a year prior to Barbara's breast cancer diagnosis, which catapulted her into the fight of her life – not just for herself but for her kids. "Because of him dying, when I found out I had cancer it was not option - I have to live."
Barbara endured several rounds of grueling chemotherapy; she learned during treatment she was allergic to some of the chemical cocktails. Since she had two lumps on one side, she was forced to have a mastectomy. However, Barbara decided to remove both breasts instead, which may have saved her life! "The doctor said, 'What do you want to do?' I may as well have them match. I don't want to do this again. And after, in the lab, they found cancer in the other side!"
With new perspective four years post treatment, Barbara has her sights set on the future and a goal she's excited to share! "I'm training for a fitness competition. I'm going to be on stage in a bikini, representing the breast cancer survivors!" she shared with her doctor. The Breast Cancer 2 Bikini competitor is training with fellow survivors at Evoke Fitness for the NPC Nevada State Bodybuilding, Figure and Bikini Championships in June. Although it is not something she ever dreamed of doing before cancer, she is all in now. "I'm going to the extreme because when I was going through chemo I was at the other extreme." Just like then, Barbara hopes to prove to herself, her kids and her community that life doesn't just return to normal after cancer... it can be better.
By the way, the lump Barbara was getting examined during our story turned out not to be cancer!!