In the summer of 1996, Balance instructor Elizabeth Rogers had just begun her family’s two-week vacation on Nantucket. Her 4 and 7-year-old daughters were excited about ice cream cones, exploring the island’s bike paths and spending long days in the waves at Surfside Beach.
Waking up that morning, Elizabeth’s hand grazed her chest and felt a lump. Despite a clear mammogram the month before, she experienced no doubt – just instant dread and a preoccupation with the tumor in her breast. She returned home to her doctor’s diagnosis confirming what she knew and feared: Breast cancer.
Elizabeth underwent a lumpectomy and six rounds of chemotherapy, followed by three months of radiation. A woman who barely took aspirin quickly found herself attached to an intravenous cocktail of drugs with names so long they included every consonant and vowel in the alphabet.
After a year of chemotherapy and radiation, Elizabeth was still regularly screened, tested and scanned. She faced doctors with grim prognoses, long-term medication recommendations, and no guarantee that the cancer would not return. A silent anxiousness grew inside her, the stress manifesting itself in migraines and a brief losses of vision. A fear had developed, as though she kept hearing an intruder’s footsteps in the dark. The cancer had gone, but the anxiety remained.
April 8, 1998 was Elizabeth’s birthday, and the celebration of a year post treatment. Elizabeth’s neighbor arrived on her doorstep saying, “Come on- you’re coming to my yoga class with me tonight. You need to do this – it will help you.”
Elizabeth had never done yoga before. “I resisted, I had no interest in going,” she recalls. “I didn’t want to leave my family on my birthday night! I didn’t have a clue as to what yoga even was.” But she went – and then slept soundly for the first time in two years. Elizabeth returned regularly, committing to yoga so completely that she eventually trained as an instructor at the Kripalu Center, studied meditation, and became a level 3 Reiki Master.
On August 16, 2016, Elizabeth celebrated the 20-year anniversary of her diagnosis. The date was also a celebration of a life now blessed with nutritional mindfulness, regular yoga and meditation practices, and an empowered state of being.
This month and always, the Balance Studio community celebrates Elizabeth’s inspiring survival, strength and endurance, and we are beyond grateful to count Elizabeth as a member, teacher and friend. She brings a graceful gentleness to the space and offers a genuine kindness to her students. Elizabeth’s Hatha classes are offered on Tuesday evenings and Thursday and Sunday mornings. She also regularly hosts a Restorative & Reiki Workshop, the ultimate relaxation experience.
The American Cancer Society reports that one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. We face these odds together – as neighbors, friends, colleagues, family members – and together we work tirelessly for a cure, even as we care for and strengthen ourselves and each other in so many ways, body and soul.
Join us this weekend and help support breast cancer research and treatment. Friday, 10/21- Sunday 10/23, from 7am-3pm Balance Studio will be donating 10% of all retail purchases to the Susan B Koman Foundation.