“I’m a very, very lucky lady,” is all Dr. Cecilia Watkins can echo after her scare with breast cancer. We’ve all had an encounter with Lady Luck at some point in our chaotic lives but Dr. Watkins has no other way to describe her run in with cancer.
Dr. Cecilia Watkins is a beautiful, vivacious, intelligent woman with a contagious smile and electric personality. She taught high impact aerobics before becoming an avid runner. She’s competed in marathons and triathlons as well as biked over 100 miles at a time. As an Associate Professor in Public Health at Western Kentucky University with a PhD in health education, she focuses on promoting a healthy workplace through her worksite wellness promotion and employee wellness programs. To say the least, she is the epitome of fitness and health.
Dr. Watkins was diagnosed with breast cancer in the summer of 2010. She had received abnormal mammograms in the past that always came back fine, so when doctors had different news for her, she was not prepared for what she heard. “I assumed it would be fine because it always had been.” When the results came back, Dr. Watkins was shocked to hear that she had stage 0 breast cancer. “It was stage 0, which was good news, but it was also cancer.” There was no family history of breast cancer so the news came as a complete shock. “I was stunned. It was surreal. I’ve always taken care of my body. I felt like it wasn’t fair.” She was determined to rid her body of cancer as soon as possible. “I was diagnosed on a Thursday and booked for surgery on the following Tuesday.” Dr. Watkins decided upon a bilateral mastectomy. Only one breast was affected, but with a 20% chance of the cancer returning in her other breast, she made the decision to remove them both. “I wanted to get it out of my body.” At this point, she had no attachment to her breasts. They were toxic and she wanted them gone. In less than a week, she went from a victim of cancer to a survivor.
During her recovery, she had a supportive family and amazing friends who took shifts to be at her bedside 24/7. In December of 2010, Dr. Watkins underwent reconstructive surgery and was feeling like a new woman. She had survived breast cancer and was finally able to get back to her life.
In January of 2011, just one month after her reconstruction, Dr. Watkins decided to try a class at Barre Company. Barre Company, founded by Jennifer Travelsted and Danielle Smith, is a growing fitness studio dedicated to building a stronger you. It transforms your body by targeting all of those “trouble spots.” Clients experience increased strength, flexibility and endurance in as little as 10 classes. Regardless of age or size, everyone works at his or her full potential. It is as much about mental strength as it is physical. “Jen and Danielle told me to give it ten classes and they were right. It worked. My neck and back pain from years of running was gone and my legs and hips were slimming. Going to barre became my time. It was my hour.” Barre Company classes are 55 minutes of intense, low impact exercise movements that elevate the heart rate and burn deep within the muscles. The instructors push you to be a better you. Your mind is stronger than your body and Barre Company creates a mind-body connection that helps you obtain what you never thought you could. “Barre Company gave me back the control I needed over my mind and my body.”
Dr. Watkins has been in remission for 4 years. She believes that all women should have knowledge of prevention when it comes to breast cancer. It can happen to anyone, whether it’s in your family history or not. “It’s imperative that women be proactive when it comes to their health.” After being told she had cancer and undergoing a bilateral mastectomy in less than a week, there is only one thing Dr. Cecilia Watkins can say. “I’m a very, very lucky lady.”
Come join us at Barre Co. for a morning dedicated to promoting breast cancer awareness. For only $40.00, we will provide you with a Barre Co. class, a t-shirt, lunch, an inspiring story from breast cancer survivor Dr. Cecilia Watkins, and a self-awareness presentation by Dr. Sara Mangold. Pre-registration will be provided at our studio in Bowling Green.