Six years since receiving a Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis, Carlsbad resident Sana Moezzi has graduated from the University of San Diego, raised $1.3 million for blood cancer research and won a “Submit Your Fit” contest at the EōS Fitness Encinitas branch.
In a Q&A, Moezzi talked about receiving her diagnosis as a high school senior, and what she’s been up to now that she’s been in remission. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and conciseness.
Q: What is your story, starting with your cancer diagnosis?
Moezzi: When I was a senior in high school, November 2016, my mom noticed a huge bump on my shoulder. I went to the urgent care in Encinitas and they told me it could be a disease or something that could be taken care of with antibiotics, nothing too crazy, but they were going to do CT scans and a couple of other scans to see what it’s all about. Unfortunately, the next day I went straight to Rady Children’s Hospital, they did a biopsy and I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer, which is a type of blood cancer. Doctors told me I had four weeks left unless I started treatment that night. I was a senior in high school who was given four weeks in the middle of applying for colleges and starting a new chapter in my life. Thankfully, after chemotherapy, radiation and being treated at Rady’s and UCSD Moores Cancer Center, I’m really excited to share that I’ve been over five years cancer-free now.
Q: How did the diagnosis impact your life and how did you keep moving forward?
Moezzi: When I first found out about the news, I was really speechless. I was a healthy baby, a healthy young adult, so it was really unexpected. It didn’t run in my family. Over the course of the next 24 to 48 hours, once I found out that this is something I have to go through, that I might be losing my hair, that the chemo might be challenging on my body, there was no other reason than to live life to the fullest, whether that meant bringing a smile to my own face, to other people’s faces, to bring positive energy and be thankful that I’m living to see another day. Once I was in remission, I felt unstoppable, and since then I’ve felt unstoppable.
Q: How has fitness factored into your life after your cancer diagnosis?
Moezzi: Going back a little bit in my cancer journey, I did, unfortunately, gain quite a bit of weight because of the steroids that were prescribed to me that would increase my appetite. After I was in remission, I really wanted to get back into the routine of being healthy again and moving my body and because of the mindset that I can achieve anything I want if I battled something as difficult as cancer, why not allow fitness to become part of my life so I can become healthy again and give back in an even bigger way by being the best version of myself by working out more. I learned about EōS around the pandemic time. I heard about it from a couple friends, I really liked the colors of their logo, they really struck me. I really wanted to see what it had to offer, what it’s about. EōS really stood out to me during the pandemic, especially the Encinitas location, because they had an incredible outdoor experience for me to still be able to lift weights and be comfortable, especially with an immunocompromised system, to gain my health back and to feel empowered.
Q: Do you have any advice for people who are diagnosed with cancer about how to persevere and keep moving forward?
Moezzi: I would say when you first get such a taxing diagnosis it’s important to keep your head up, take things one day at a time. Just know that beauty comes from the smile on your face, and by keeping that smile and your head up, that the way to live is to hold that. Life throws crazy things at you and the best things you can do are to be happy and take care of yourself.
Q: Do you have any particular goals for fitness, raising awareness about cancer or anything else?
Moezzi: In terms of fitness goals, I feel as though EōS gives me a lot of different opportunities. I had a personal trainer who was the best personal trainer ever. I wanted to get stronger and learn how to use the squat rack and become stronger, and he really walked me through and was really detail-oriented as to how I could really have a strong form and help me increase [squat] weight over time.
For more on EōS Fitness Encinitas branch visit eosfitness.com/location/encinitas/
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