Imagine coming home from the “Twelve Days of Christmas” workout at CrossFit Westchase in Tampa, Florida feeling great, RX’ing everything and ready to celebrate the holiday with your family. Then imagine taking a shower and feeling a lump in your breast. That is what happened to Robin Galley in December 2015. Fortunately, this indomitable woman knew what to do.
As Robin stated, “Over the next couple of weeks I underwent several diagnostic tests including a biopsy of 2 masses found in the left breast and an enlarged lymph node. I got the call on January 13, 2016 that all three biopsies were malignant -- I had metastatic breast cancer.” Robyn’s treatment began immediately. But before her treatment began she competed in the Wodapalooza Fitness Festival in Miami, FL as an RX Team competitor. According to Robyn, “It was one last chance to remind myself how strong I was before my life got turned upside down.”
A physical therapist and Director of Clinical Education for PT Program at Nova University, Robyn Galley has been working with cancer patients for the past ten years. Roby instructs students on completing differential diagnosis regarding the signs and symptoms of cancer. Robyn has a long history of athleticism prior to beginning CrossFit; As a former gymnast for Louisiana State University Robyn was a natural when it came to the bar movements associated with CrossFit, she can thank a former college teammate for introducing her to the sport of CrossFit. She clearly had a talent for the sport and began performing at a high level immediately. That athleticism, mindset and desire of a former college gymnasts remains; Robyn wants to compete in the 2018 CrossFit Games as a masters athlete.
Robyn credits CrossFit and her high level of fitness for the reason she was able to stay so healthy throughout treatments. She believes in exercise in general, but also believes that the increased blood flow generated by exercise helped during her recovery after the chemotherapy treatments. Robyn also made the decision to compete at the RX level in the 2016 CrossFit Open, she believes the mental aspect of competition kept her from getting really depressed.
Robin has been very open about her cancer and treatment process. She has used social media to raise awareness and helping other cancer patients with physical therapy. She said, “I have been very open about this journey with social media to raise awareness of what it means to be a "cancer patient" and how it can happen to ANYONE . . . even when you are in the best shape of your life!”
Robyn documented her journey through YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/RobinGalley. The page contains videos documenting her journey through chemo and there is even a special song she sung to her nurses on her last treatment.
The videos exemplify the principles she lives by - a great sense of humor with her dose of strength. She says her top three best decisions for the year were: “Compete at Wodapalooza, getting a second opinion and going public.” These decisions helped give her strength and because she has openly shared her journey whenever she faltered a message would always arrive at the right time to remind her she wasn’t alone.
As she approaches the end of her chemotherapy treatments she reflects on the year and says, “I could look at 2016 as the year I got cancer. Or I could look and say it is the year I beat cancer. There is only one way for me to look at it.”