In January of 2012, Allyson Lyle had just started CrossFit in Aliso Viejo, CA. Coming from an athletic background with weightlifting experience, she was immediately addicted to the fast-paced, effective workouts. During her first week, she faced the challenging hero WOD, “Murph,” the arduous running, pull-ups, pushups, and squats workout. After the workout, Allyson was massaging her chest muscles to relieve some of the soreness from all the push-ups when she noticed a lump. She was able to get an appointment the very next day, and her physician immediately ordered a mammogram and biopsy. The tests showed two tumors: stage 1 and 2 breast cancer. Allyson opted for a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction in hopes of ridding herself of the disease.
Allyson did not realize it at the time, but this would be a journey of self-exploration and improvement, as well as inspiration to all those around her. She battled through treatment with a gentle stoicism and humor that helped friends and family members understand the process. She helped people in her own time of need. Not long after the healing process was nearing an end, Allyson found herself confronting another challenge.
“In March 2014, a month before our wedding, she felt another lump in the same location on her chest as before,” her husband, Trevor explained. “She had a reoccurrence, but thankfully it had not metastasized.”
Even with another treatment on the horizon, Allyson and Trevor were the picture of happiness during their gorgeous outdoor wedding in San Marcos, CA. Surrounded by friends and family, they glowed with love for each other and gratefulness for every moment together.
Originally from Texas, Allyson moved to California after she met Trevor while on vacation in Orange County. Allyson has worked with autistic children for the past 13 years. She has a love and passion for her work and a special way of connecting with the kids. Perhaps the patience and persistence required in that field helped develop her positivity.
“I admire her resilience, gracefulness, and determination throughout her journey,” Trevor said. Even while being hundreds of miles away from her family and in treatment, Allyson keeps to her CrossFit routine and still accomplish her fitness goals. “Her inner and physical strength never ceases to amaze me. With six surgeries, medication mishaps, and seven weeks of radiation therapy all within a two-year timeframe, she’s a pro at recovery,” he wrote.
CrossFit has been an essential part of Allyson’s treatment and healing process. “I never imagined I would be doing half of the things I do on a daily basis in a WOD,” she said. “I’m in better health and more in shape now than I have ever been. CrossFit has provided me with a healthy lifestyle that I believe has carried me through the fight these last three years. It challenges the mind and body, just like cancer can challenge the mind and body. There is no better feeling than hitting a PR during radiation treatment, or lifting the same amount of weight less than eight weeks post-surgery without any injury.”
Allyson even participated in a CrossFit competition in 2014, showing a steadfast dedication to a sport she loves and to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Changing her own lifestyle in order to stay strong during treatment inspired a vision and desire to help others. She now has a Clinical Nutrition license and continues her education in natural health. Her goal is encourage and assist individuals to become advocates for their own health. Not one to stray from her dedicated roots, this also includes continued support for children with autism and their parents.
Her future plans have been met with a third and daunting challenge. In June 2015, Allyson had a pre-op appointment for and revision surgery to correct radiation damage. She noticed another lump in the same area as before, and this time there was malignancy. Her PET scan came back with lesions on both lungs and her fourth rib indicating stage 3 lung cancer, along with stage 3 breast cancer. As conventional medicine has not been effective, she must undergo more testing to find the right treatment for her.
Meanwhile, she has continued CrossFit: “I listened to my body, scaled appropriately, and did LOTS of mobility. CrossFit is what prepared my mind body for “battle”….a three-year-long battle. Yes, I still WOD 4 – 5 days a week. My lungs have definitely been feeling it lately, so I’ve had to back off the endurance stuff quite a bit.”
When asked if she was angry she replied, “Am I angry? No. I strongly believe this challenge was put in front of us for a reason. A reason that will eventually present itself. Until then, all we can do is take each day as it comes. Life is too precious to worry.”
Her CrossFit community has been a great source of support for her the past few years with offers of meals, driving her to appointments, words of encouragement, and helping her talk with other survivors. Her box suspended her membership fee until she finishes treatment, which means she can put that toward the groceries and supplements she needs.
Thanks to CrossFit and her own inner strength, Allyson is confident about the future. “I know my body can handle anything, including cancer.”