“ Mind over Matter! & don’t go reading - live your own cancer story- it made things much easier for me!
Geena Heaton is an adventurous mAss Kicker. She was selected to participate in the 2016 How to Kick mAss Education Series to South Africa. Geena was a Health Science student at California State University, Chico when she was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma. She was very involved in the Wakeboard community in college as the club treasurer her junior year and president her senior year. Since being diagnosed, she has become involved with many cancer organizations. We are excited to interview her before the trip to South Africa.
mK: Thanks for doing this, Geena! How did you find out about your diagnosis? What/when was your official diagnosis?
GH: I was diagnosed in August 2015 with Primitive neuroectodermal tumor/Ewings Sarcoma. I actually completed college about 8 months before I was diagnosed. My diagnosis was drawn out, unfortunately. It took two years to find my cancer. I first realized something was wrong during a Crossfit Competition when I felt a tear in my right oblique. After a long journey of random illness my cancer revealed itself with a collapsed lung & broken ribs. After a thorencentisis and two biopsies I was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma.
mK: So, what were your symptoms?
GH: I had extreme pain in my right oblique, coughing, fevers, stomach issues- the whole nine yards.
mK: Glad you finally found it! How are you doing now?
GH: I finished treatment May 1, 2016 and I am feeling better daily. I still fight fatigue but, I am working on gaining strength daily.
mK: Recovery is a long process! It’s actually more of an “adaptation”… Why do you want to go to South Africa?
GH: I want to go to South Africa to educate others on life after cancer, to let others know a cancer diagnosis can be extremely scary but life after cancer can be very rewarding!
mK: What makes you laugh, cry, angry?
GH: Now, these are my secrets! You’ll have to find out yourself ;P
mK: HAHAHA! Touche’… What would you say is the most interesting thing you’ve ever done?
GH: Hmmm, the most interesting thing I have done. I feel like everything I do can be considered interesting. But, something amazing I did – I went surfing thirteen days after my last chemotherapy with a foundation called Send It. That was the most rewarding thing I could have done for myself after treatment.
mK: What is the toughest challenge a survivor faces?
GH: I think life after cancer can be the toughest challenge. You almost are restarting your life and for me I think so differently now. It is a complete start over.
mK: Yeah, in geek-terms… it’s like system re-boot. What is your guilty pleasure?
GH: I love SUSHI! I could eat King Salmon Sashimi everyday.
mK: If you had a “do-over” for anything you’ve done in the past what would it be? Why?
GH: This might sound intense- but I don’t do “do-overs”. Everything I have done in the past has created who I am and where I am at. Luckily, I haven’t done anything regretful!
mK: What are you looking forward to doing in South Africa?
GH: I am really looking forward to meeting others in South Africa. I also am looking forward to meeting the fellow mAss Kickers joining in the South Africa trip.
mK: Tell us something about yourself that people probably didn’t know… anything.
GH: At eleven months old I was bit by a rattlesnake on my big toe!
mK: Any advice for people or loved ones that get daunting diagnoses?
GH: Mind over Matter! & don’t go reading – live your own cancer story- it made things much easier for me!
Geena Heaton: Rattle snake bite survivor, future world traveler, “no-do-over” advocate, king salmon sashimi addict, secret keeper, Crossfitter, Sarcoma “Thriver”, and cool girl. We are excited to explore Cape Town with her. This is the first time for all of us to visit Africa! Please support Geena Heaton and the rest of the mAss Kickers team get to South Africa by clicking here: https://www.gofundme.com/