Editor’s Note:
This post was originally published by Amy Williams while going through her cancer journey several years ago. This post along with a few others which we will note throughout the series are being shared with Amy’s permission as a reflection of her experience.

In the early 2000’s, I was too out of shape to walk my dog all the way around the block.  This was no surprise to friends who remembered me as “the kid who gets picked last” in gym class, and to my family who remembered my refusing Mom’s orders to pull weeds because I didn’t want to get dirty or sweaty. Since 2006, I have completed countless running races, including three marathons, several long bike rides, including a century ride (100 miles), two endurance swimming races and countless triathlons, including three half ironman triathlons and, most recently, a full Ironman triathlon, thought to be one of the most difficult athletic achievements one can undertake.  This spring, I was awarded the “triple crown” by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, celebrating my completion of a marathon, a century ride and a triathlon, all while fundraising to help find a cure for cancer.
I wasn’t sure what to do next.  I was tired, so tired, and did not want to do another full Ironman.  Among other things, I wanted to spend more time with my husband, Steve.  At the same time, I realized that I would not be content doing short, local races.  I needed some big challenge.  My challenge needed to be something a triathlon buddy of mine calls “epic.”  What was it?  I began to pray for God to tell me what my next challenge was to be.  Please, God, make it something big, I asked.  God answered my prayers.
After a “clean” mammogram in May, I discovered a little lump in my breast in August, while on vacation.  I usually check once a month, but I always have assumed that I could not feel anything even if it appeared.  Or even if I felt it, would it feel out of the ordinary?  Probably not.  Months have gone by when I didn’t check.  After all I do get a mammogram once a year.  And breast cancer is not in my immediate family–my great aunt and her daughter, my father’s first cousin, are the closest relatives who have had breast cancer.
But there I was, noticing something different.  Was it there in July?  No, it was not.  I did not think it was cancer, though, but I was scheduled to see my doctor upon my return anyway, so I would show it to her, “just to be sure.”  She, likewise, thought nothing of it, and surmised it was a harmless cyst, but she scheduled me for another mammogram and a possible ultrasound “just to be sure.”
I rather thought it was a waste of time, and got busy at work and nearly cancelled the appointment.  But I went, late on a Friday afternoon, to be tortured by the pressing machine.  This was my 10th mammogram, and by far the worst.  They marked the spot where I felt the lump and squeezed it many times over, admonishing me “do not move, do not breathe.”  Time after time, I thought I was finished, only to be told that the doctor wanted another shot.  Finally, this torture ended and I was taken to another room for ultrasound.  A doctor conducted the ultrasound, and without saying anything about what she saw, told me she was working with another doctor, who would be joining us.  The second doctor, older than the first, came in and repeated the same examination.  All of a sudden, I had a really bad feeling.  Why was it necessary to repeat this exam?
Dr. Ellison, the more senior radiologist, told me it was not a cyst and that she would like to do a biopsy to find out what it was.  “We can do it right now,” she said,  “or you can come back next week.”  Holy cow, let’s find out now!  They performed the biopsy that afternoon, but I would not learn the results till the next Tuesday.  But by Sunday, I knew that it was cancer, and I knew something else.  I knew I would survive.