Conquering Cancer at the Barre

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NY Instructor and Manager of Global Training, Antonietta Vicario, is known around the studio for her tough as nails classes, positive, upbeat attitude and the ability to push you past your limits. This past July, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and discovered how much she would need the strength and positivity of the Physique 57 community to help pull her through this journey. Read her inspiring story below.

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The Backstory
I have always considered myself incredibly blessed. I was fortunate to have fully lived out my first dream as a professional dancer in NYC. When it was time to change careers and create stability in my life, I found Physique 57. Now, 7 ½ years later, this company has become such a vital part of who I am, helping to shape my strength and character. I have the greatest, most supportive husband and an incredible family. In 2014, I was blessed with the birth of my son, Oliver, and my life was forever changed. I never knew that love could run so deep, that life could feel so full and that I could feel something so fierce and powerful as the love I have for my son.

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Which is why on July 8th my world came crashing down for 3 excruciating, long and painful weeks. The CAT scan I thought would reveal a pulled pectoral muscle (why else would I have chest pain than an overworked muscle?) showed a tumor. My primary care physician diagnosed me with cancer – how extensive was unknown. I met with an oncologist, had a biopsy taken and 1 liter of fluid drained from my lungs. A week after that, on my birthday, my husband and I were sitting terrified in the cardiologist’s office, questions racing throughout our minds. What type of cancer do I have? How extensive is it? Am I going to live?

The weeks leading up to this day were heartbreaking. Every time I looked at Oliver’s sweet little face, his beautiful smile, his call for “momma” with extended arms because no one but “momma” makes him feel as warm inside – were the toughest weeks of my life. I needed to see this boy grow into a whole-hearted, brave and generous young man. And he would need his mom throughout that journey. I needed to live.

olly and ant

On July 23rd I was told that I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which has a 95% rate of curability — essentially the best worst news I could ask for. I would be going through hell but nothing like what the past 3 weeks had been. I would be putting up a fierce fight but I would be cured.

I left my oncologists office and vowed to walk through this process with unshakable courage, meeting each challenge with resolve and drawing from the support of my family and friends to help pull me through. My work at Physique 57 helped shape me into the strongest version of myself, both in mind and body, and that strength is being tested daily but continues to endure. I have been committed to taking class, knowing that by continuing to keep my body in the best condition possible, I’d be better able to manage chemotherapy. I have also been committed to teaching throughout this process, to create a sense of normalcy throughout all the CRAZY and to stay connected to a community that is always such a source of inspiration.

I never fully realized the depths of my physical and mental strength and the power of the Physique 57 community until this fight. There are truly no words to explain how profoundly supportive this community of friends, colleagues and clients have been. From inspiring words, to listening ears and shoulders to cry on, my Physique 57 family has shown up so fully for me and been champions in my corner. Although I wish this experience never happened, I do now have a deeper level of appreciation for all the people in my life and for the blessing of each and every day.

There have been painful and disappointing moments along the way. The chemotherapy does wear on your body and some days are tough for me on a physical and emotional level but I’m currently more than halfway through treatment. 8 chemotherapy treatments through and 4 more to go! To date, my doctors are thrilled with my progress – in no small part due to the physical strength I’ve built and the positivity I’ve been able to maintain with help from Physique 57! I know that I will live to tell this story someday to Oliver and that the course of our families life is forever changed. Oliver, Brad and I are only that much stronger for living through this experience and we will carry it with us as a constant reminder of how precious life is and to live each day to its fullest with abundant gratitude.

I look forward to December 31st, my last day of chemotherapy. What an auspicious way to begin a new year! Until then with a lot of pulsing in between…

With love,
Antonietta

Antonietta’s strength and resolve have always been a source of inspiration to so many of us. And she is fighting cancer with the same grace and positivity as anything else she approaches in life. We could not be more grateful of her amazing progress and proud to have her as a member of our Physique 57 family.

Do you have an inspiring story to share with us? Share your story with here.

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