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Pilates instructor diagnosed with rare form of cervical cancer poses for eye-opening shoot

A Los Angeles-based Pilates instructor who was diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer earlier this year has posed for a stunning photoshoot to celebrate the end of her treatment— and to show the toll that cancer takes on the body.

Amy Jordan, the 45-year-old CEO of WundaBar, a Pilates studio in New York City and California, revealed on Instagram in June that she had been diagnosed with small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the cervix.

After undergoing multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation and a radical hysterectomy, Amy was declared cancer-free last month — and marked her final week of treatment with a set of breathtaking photos that highlight the effects of her ‘unspeakably brutal’ ordeal.

Sharing her cancer journey: Amy Jordan, the 45-year-old CEO of Pilates studio WundaBar, was diagnosed with small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the cervix

Brutal: After undergoing multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation and a radical hysterectomy, Amy was declared cancer-free last month

Brutal: After undergoing multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation and a radical hysterectomy, Amy was declared cancer-free last month

To remember: She marked her final week of treatment with a set of breathtaking photos that highlight the effects of her 'unspeakably brutal' ordeal

To remember: She marked her final week of treatment with a set of breathtaking photos that highlight the effects of her ‘unspeakably brutal’ ordeal

Speaking to Today this week, Amy explained that she wasn’t particularly worried when she started experiencing some symptoms of cervical cancer, which can include vaginal discharge, bleeding in between periods, and bleeding after sex.

She didn’t think her symptoms were a ‘big deal’ when she went for a regular gynecologist appointment — but her doctor discovered a five-centimeter mass on her cervix and sent her to an oncologist.

The oncologist eventually diagnosed her with a very rare and aggressive form of cervical cancer called small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the cervix.  

‘It is really, really rare. My oncologist had looked me in the eye and said, “There is no reason why you should have gotten this,”‘ Amy said.

Amy immediately began sharing her experience with cancer on Instagram. On June 22, a week after she started treatment, she posted her diagnoses online.

‘I promise to fight, to stay focused on peace, healing, and a metamorphosis into an even better version of life after this chapter is closed,’ she wrote.

Scary: Her doctor discovered a five-centimeter mass on her cervix and sent her to an oncologist

Scary: Her doctor discovered a five-centimeter mass on her cervix and sent her to an oncologist

Tough: While the chemo and radiation were killing the cancer, they also took a major toll on her body. Amy, who is typically in great shape from Pilates, lost 15 pounds

Tough: While the chemo and radiation were killing the cancer, they also took a major toll on her body. Amy, who is typically in great shape from Pilates, lost 15 pounds

'I went in as strong and as healthy as I could be. It gave (my doctors) the ability to attack the cancer really aggressively,' she said

‘I went in as strong and as healthy as I could be. It gave (my doctors) the ability to attack the cancer really aggressively,’ she said

Her treatment was aggressive. Because her tumor was too big for surgery, she had to undergo three rounds of chemo before getting a radical hysterectomy, meaning her uterus, cervix, and even part of her vagina were moved.

She then had radiation and more chemo at the same time. Amy said she was ‘so sick’ toward the end, feeling like she’d been ‘pushed’ to the ‘brink of death.’

While the chemo and radiation were killing the cancer, they also took a major toll on her body. Amy, who is typically in great shape from Pilates, lost 15 pounds.

When her hair fell out, she shaved her head. She was also left with a scar from surgery.  

‘I went in as strong and as healthy as I could be. It gave (my doctors) the ability to attack the cancer really aggressively,’ she said.

In addition to the physical toll, Amy said it took away time she spent with her kids, aged seven and nine, and meant she could neither work nor socialize with friends — particularly since she was immunocompromised in the middle of a pandemic.  

Surgery: Because her tumor was too big for surgery, she had to do three rounds of chemo before getting a radical hysterectomy to remove her uterus, cervix, and part of her vagina

Surgery: Because her tumor was too big for surgery, she had to do three rounds of chemo before getting a radical hysterectomy to remove her uterus, cervix, and part of her vagina

Rough: She then had radiation and more chemo at the same time. Amy said she was 'so sick' toward the end, feeling like she'd been 'pushed' to the 'bring of death'

Rough: She then had radiation and more chemo at the same time. Amy said she was ‘so sick’ toward the end, feeling like she’d been ‘pushed’ to the ‘bring of death’

Much better! After five months of treatment, she is now cancer-free

Much better! After five months of treatment, she is now cancer-free

Lessons: She said that her cancer 'scarred me,' but it also showed her she 'had more fight in me than I ever knew'

Lessons: She said that her cancer ‘scarred me,’ but it also showed her she ‘had more fight in me than I ever knew’

‘You are very alone and you are left to go inward and you better find some strength in there,’ she said.

In her ‘last week of unspeakably brutal treatment,’ Amy did something unusual: She had her friend Gregory Zabilski photograph her.

‘I had just completed my 90th hour of chemotherapy, was 2 months post op and about to wrap 25 daily radiation sessions,’ she wrote on Instagram.

She said that her cancer ‘scarred me,’ but it also showed her she ‘had more fight in me than I ever knew.’ 

‘I am sharing these very personal photos with you to normalize illness and the start of a human’s journey back to health,’ Amy wrote. 

Family: In addition to the physical toll, Amy said it took away time she spent with her kids

Family: In addition to the physical toll, Amy said it took away time she spent with her kids

She wants 'to normalize illness and the start of a human's journey back to health'

She wants ‘to normalize illness and the start of a human’s journey back to health’

Working hard: Her body is still recovering and she has started exercising again

Working hard: Her body is still recovering and she has started exercising again

‘I didn’t want to forget how hard I fought or how sick I was. I resisted being “sick” pretty sincerely, but I hope this glimpse into the pain that can co-exist with gratitude helps bring more empathy and understanding to the world.’

Speaking to Today, she explained that wanted to ‘share what cancer does to a body’ and ‘normalize having a health crisis.’

‘I wanted to normalize not having hair,’ she said. ‘That part of the journey is hidden. We know people get sick, but they wear a wig or cover up their scars or just don’t show this part of the path.’

Amy is now cancer-free, though her body is still recovering — and she is still sharing the lessons she’s learned.

‘My biggest takeaway so far is how to find peace in chaos,’ she said. 

‘That no matter what happens, we can choose to close our eyes, take deep breaths, and find gratitude for healing, those that are helping me heal, and the love from all who surround me.⁠’ 




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