Author of Andie Beth and two-time breast cancer survivor, Jan Alexuk, has lived in Hinesville for 30 years. Her husband was stationed at Fort Stewart for two years before deciding to stay.
Originally from Orlando, FL., in 2008 she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 58. She underwent surgery for a lumpectomy followed by 38 radiation treatments in Savannah.
“I just always figured if anyone was going to get breast cancer it would be me,” Alexuk said.
Through the diagnosis she continued to teach world religion at Central Texas College along with her husband. After beating breast cancer the first time, a bad car accident damaged vertebrae in her neck and led to her gaining weight.
In 2014, she was introduced to Crossfit by a former student. Crossfit is a high-intensity fitness program incorporating elements from several sports and types of exercise. She joined the local crossfit gym in Hinesville and eventually lost over 70 pounds.
“Crossfit saved my life,” Alexuk said.
In 2016, she began to realize something was off with one of her breasts. She made an appointment with oncologist Dr. Negrea and had a biopsy performed in late August. In late September at the age of 66, she was again diagnosed with breast cancer. Initially, the doctor wanted to remove just one breast but Alexuk decided to remove both.
On December 30, 2016, Alexuk underwent surgery for a double mastectomy and did chemotherapy from February to June in 2017. She ultimately decided against getting reconstruction surgery.
“I love being flat chested,” Alexuk said. “The only thing is that it looks like someone cut me in half.”
Through chemotherapy she lost an additional 40 pounds but was able to gain most of it back when she began crossfit training again. She even participated in the Georgia Senior Olympics in Warner Robins in late September.
“If I were to say anything, it would be don’t give up and stay positive,” Alexuk said.