October-Breast Cancer Awareness- My Story | TOP Martial Arts and Fitness for Life
ACCESS OUR SCHEDULE
& EXCLUSIVE WEB SPECIAL

Secure your spot and get started today with our EXCLUSIVE offer!

ACCESS OUR SCHEDULE
& EXCLUSIVE WEB SPECIAL

Secure your spot and get started today with our EXCLUSIVE offer!

Kathryn Shasha reviewed TOP Martial Arts and Fitness for Life
5
via Facebook

When I needed to get in shape for television pilot season; Ellen was the person that drove me to be my very best above any other trainer I ever had. I had the privilege of being trained by her during my Kick Boxing Ultimate Training (KUT program). She not only taught us to perform the movements safely, she motivated us to get the results we wanted. And above all...she always made it fun! She has an amazing personality and her nonstop energy is contagious. I looked forward to every class. I HIGHLY recommend her for any fitness/Karate program. She is the best!

Krista Gambino-Seymour reviewed TOP Martial Arts and Fitness for Life
5
via Facebook

My kids began taking karate about 5 years ago. My kids are not at all into sports or competitive but I am so glad they went. They grew so much in their confidence and inner strength. This was in part of their Masters and teachers. Master Ellen, however, was one who took my daughter under her wing. She recognized immediately when she was feeling anxious or sad. Her pep talks were so heartfelt and meaningful to her and for that, I am incredibly grateful.

It was not much longer when I joined in school’s KUT program. It was such a motivating group and the instructors were so encouraging and supportive. There was a point when I was feeling very discouraged about my progress (lack of). Master Ellen immediately pulled me aside and helped me through that period. Her words of encouragement and her belief in me stays with me to this day.

I am so glad she is taking this amazing venture. Master Ellen is truly gifted and a wonderful individual with a caring soul. She is an excellent and fun (my kid’s words) instructor.

Karen Vega reviewed TOP Martial Arts and Fitness for Life
5
via Facebook

Ellen is one of the most kind, caring, determined and unforgettable people you will ever meet. I met Ellen in 2003 when she was my daughter Airiel’s Hapkido instructor. Ellen was a consistent instructor during the 10 years Airiel trained. While Airiel was training for her Black belt Ellen would come in and work extra hours to make sure she was ready for her test. There were many times Airiel would have given up if it wasn’t for Ellen helping and guiding her through. Over the years Ellen has become more than an instructor for us; she is someone we can both truly call a friend.

Deb Trevelin reviewed TOP Martial Arts and Fitness for Life
5
via Facebook

Three years ago I was looking for a fitness class that was not a gym. My cousin recommended that I try the KUT program with her. I had never done kickboxing, but a couple of my friends had and thought I would like it. They were right.
That’s where I met Master Ellen.

She has great patience in showing the correct form and would come over to my bag to “fix” me if I was doing something incorrectly. Encouraging me by letting me start at my own pace yet motivating me to keep up with her once I figured out what I was doing.

When I started I could not do a full push up, with the training motivation my highest was 42!!

Her energy invigorates, motivates and encourages you to do your best…. You will feed off her energy!!

Airiel Vega reviewed TOP Martial Arts and Fitness for Life
5
via Facebook

I started training in 2003, when I was six years old, so I have known Ellen for most of my life. She is one of the most amazing people you will ever meet and I am lucky to say that she is more than just my instructor, she is family. Throughout the years of training, she pushed me when I needed it most and helped me every time I asked. She trained me through both of my black belt tests and I know I couldn’t have done it without her. She didn’t just look at me as a student, but as a friend and it made the world of a difference to me. She makes you feel like you’re her number one priority and ensures that you’re at your fullest potential. Anyone who meets or works with Ellen is lucky because she will have a huge positive impact on your life.

Request Information

Blog

Our latest news & thoughts

October-Breast Cancer Awareness- My Story

In honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I wanted to share some of my story. You see I never in a million years would have thought that I would be affected by this terrifying disease. We had no cancer in my family. Imagine that, it was me that broke that run, overachiever that I am, lol. I eat tons of vegetables and fruit. I limit my meat intake. I don’t eat a lot of dairy. I go for my 3-D mammogram and ultrasound faithfully every year. I go for my yearly gynecological visit faithfully every year. I do not abuse alcohol. I work out all the time and have a healthy body mass index and % body fat. I never had children and depending on what study you look at, that is either a plus or a minus.

So here I am, doing the renovations on the building that is to be my brand new karate school while working full time. I am trying to fit in all my yearly appointments because I know once I start the school, this will be near to impossible. I go for my yearly gynecological appointment thinking let’s just hurry up and get this over with because I have things to do. My doctor is talking to me as she is doing the exam and stops dead in what she is saying. She asks me if I have felt this lump in my breast before. I was like what lump? She has me feel the lump. I write it off that it is a cyst. She asks me when I am scheduled for my mammogram and encourages me to go right away. I had an appointment in the next month or so and told her I would wait.

Over that weekend, I started getting concerned. I called her to put the order in for a diagnostic exam so that I could schedule it earlier. Insurance thing. I was busy when I scheduled it, I waited a couple of weeks because again I was busy with the renovations. This was a very inconvenient time. I did a lot of the work myself with the help of my husband and friends. My doctor’s office keeps calling asking if I have the test scheduled, encouraging me not to put it off.

Finally the day of the testing comes. I get a call from my doctor’s office again, when am I going? I remember thinking all right already, I have my appointment this afternoon. I am at the appointment. I walked in there thinking, after this I will be relieved because it will just be a cyst. It can’t happen to me, I have none of the risk factors. I go into the Mammogram, the nurse is very upbeat. She is telling me that it happens all the time, this test will hopefully prove it benign. She puts me back in the waiting area. My heart is racing. She comes back in and tells me the doctor wants more images. I think to myself, that’s not good. Back to the waiting area. Women are coming and going. I want to be one of those women leaving carefree. They come to get me to do an ultrasound. The nurse stays on that one area where they found the lump. Click, picture, click, picture, click picture. I can feel my heart in my throat. She says she is finished and tells me to wait in the room in case the doctor needs more images. I am now texting my husband, he is asking me if I want him there. I keep telling him no, I am ok, resolved to be brave, Black Belt training kicking in, never back down, stay strong, no fear, dig in mentally, meditative breathing to calm the body and mind. Waiting for what seemed to be hours, the doctor and the nurse come in and tell me it is definitely not a cyst, it is an abnormality that needs to be biopsied. Now to the Consulting Room ( I hate the Consulting Room, my experience has been the news you get in there is never good.) I am talking with my Navigator. She is an amazing person. She tells me that the odds are 80% benign to 20% cancer for the biopsy. I remember telling her that I will take those odds. They are trying to facilitate the biopsy for that very afternoon. They said I may have to wait until the following week. I think I told them that I was not leaving until they did the biopsy. My doctor’s office, awesome as always gets the orders to the center and gets the insurance buy in. They move around appointments and fit me in. At this point my husband who did not know exactly the office I was in this medical center is walking the halls and is asking people for me. He finds the office. They bring him into the room with me. I see him as he appears behind the staff member who brings him in, he is white as a ghost. He is extremely worried. He sits next to me holding me tight. They are ready to take me into the room again to do the biopsy. They numb everything, the doctor is very skilled and quick in his movements. Biopsy is done. The waiting continues until the middle part of the following week. That is when my husband and I found out I had invasive ductal carcinoma-Cancer. Honestly for that appointment, I could not tell you what the doctor said after “You have Cancer”.

So why I am I telling you only this part of my journey right now. I know how we as women are, we put everything and everyone ahead of us. It is our nature to take care of everyone else first. I write this today because I realized even though everything worked out for me, I know that it might not have and the time I waited could have significantly impacted the results that I had. In honor of October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I strongly encourage you to make yourself a priority:

1) Go to your yearly gynecological visit.

2) Go for your Mammogram and Ultrasound Testing

3) Exercise, Eat Healthy, and Perform Self-Exams

4) Limit alcohol intake

5) Practice good stress management

6) Forgive yourself and others (the resentment and negative energy we carry only hurts us)

7) Most of all show ourselves Love, Compassion and Respect

I was so fortunate to have amazing friends that were survivors, Seymour Pink, my friends and family that helped me through. To pay that back, I am here to help. I am honored and happy to talk with women, their families and their friends that are travelling this journey. I experienced the power of talking with a survivor first hand. It gives Hope and Courage. I am happy to pay that back and pass that on. Be well. Live Your TOP Life.  –Master Ellen from TOP Martial Arts and Fitness For Life