“Breast cancer isn’t going to kill me, it’s going to save my life.” Find out how one determined START patient viewed her diagnosis as a godsend.

When 53-year-old Debbie Garcia was diagnosed with breast cancer, the part that really scared her wasn’t necessarily the disease.

It was the fact that her surgical oncologist, START’s Dr. Alex Miller, couldn’t perform major surgery like a mastectomy to help treat her, due to her extreme weight.

“My options were limited because I was morbidly obese,” remembers Debbie, who eventually underwent a lumpectomy instead of removal of the whole breast.  Debbie, whose professional background is in HR, says as she recovered from eight weeks of radiation and began to heal, she went into business mode and decided it was time for change. She met with family and friends and asked them to pray for her as she embarked on a journey to lose weight.

“I told everyone that breast cancer isn’t going to kill me, it’s going to save my life,” she says.

Since then, Debbie’s lost 75 pounds and is half way to her goal. She found a high-intensity fitness program that she loves, CrossFit, and committed to it, attending classes three to four times a week. She attributes more than half of her weight loss to CrossFit.

Debbie says the hard work she commits to each week has helped her achieve success. As she continues to take Tamoxifen to treat her breast cancer, she hopes her story inspires others who might be discouraged in life.

“When I go to CrossFit class, there are two doors I have to walk through,” says Debbie. God gave me two doors to walk through in my life… cancer and losing weight. Every time I go through those CrossFit doors, now I just giggle.”