Last night, May 4th was the second Black-n-Bluegrass (BBRG) home game of the 2013 season, BBRG welcomed to the Bluegrass state the Killamazoo Derby Darlins from Kalamazoo , MI. Susan G. Komen of Greater Cincinnati was the featured charity for the evening. While the Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls lost their game Killamazoo 297-121 the message of cancer awareness was well heard.
Stephanie Rogg, who skates under the name ‘Kung Fu Hussy’ (Fu) is a blocker for the Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls, and is facing her second bout with cancer all before the age of 38.
In February of this year Fu found a lump under her arm while showering, and having been down the path of ‘cancer patient’ once before she knew it was something that needed checked out. After a visit to her doctor and a biopsy- it was confirmed to be invasive ductal carcinoma. I have never experienced what a ton-of-bricks feels like, but I imagine this was comparable.
After a diagnosis, treatment and recovery from ovarian cancer just eight years ago, coming face-to-face with cancer again was not an easy finding to hear, but Fu has met it head on and is taking steps to recover and beat cancer for a second time.
Her doctors moved quickly and put a plan in place to fight her newfound cancer. Fu had a lumpectomy and a sentinal lymph node biopsy, and is currently receiving chemo therapy which will be followed by 4-6 weeks of radiation.
If there is good news, it is that Fu’s prognosis is bright. The lumpectomy was successful, and the chemo and radiation are being used as a precaution by her physicians. Ovarian and breast cancers are often linked, but in Fu’s case they are not. Unforeseen successes are sometimes the sweetest.
For anyone who has had chemo therapy they know what it is like, the side-effects affect your day-to-day functionality, and ability to enjoy even the simplest of tasks. Fu says that the first week of chemo was to say the least, a challenge.
‘The first week of the chemo round I’m really tired. I get the neulasta shot the day after chemo and about 2 days after I get it, the bone pain starts, which is pretty excruciating for me. The first round I couldn’t get out of bed for 4 days. I was just taking pain pills and praying for it to end.”
Fu has also had to take a break from roller derby because of a low platelet count which means her blood doesn’t clot as it should. So playing a sport where she takes hits or falls down is not on the menu. She hopes to return to roller derby when done with treatment because it is a love she does not want to be without.
“After my first cancer and my divorce, roller derby gave me a reason to get up in the morning I felt like I was living life again…it probably won’t be until September, but I will be back someday. I am still the interleague liaison, setting up the bouts with other teams. It gives me a small measure of comfort to know I can stay involved in some active way.”
While the sickness, treatment and missing out on roller derby is tough for Fu, the toughest aspect she says is making her six-year-old son understand what she is going through.
“The hardest part is trying to make my son understand. He knows I’m sick, but cancer isn’t something that you can see, so it’s just a word to him…the worst part is that I don’t have the energy to play with him like he wants. Or, I have to have his father take him for a few unplanned extra days. When he gets back from his dad’s, he wants to be with me every moment because he missed me so much. I know he’ll understand when he’s older, but for now, it’s really hard for him.”
Fu has participated in Susan G. Komen events and American Cancer Society events, a positive action for her physical health, spirits and of course helping to further the cause of fighting for a cure.
It has been said that there is no one who cancer has not affected, so searching for a cure is important for all of us, and organizations like Susan G. Komen are the trailblazers and tireless warriors looking for that cure.
Through all of this, Fu has an attitude to be lauded. A positive outlook is something that only comes from inner-strength and Fu’s inner-strength is what is going to put Fu 2-0 against cancer.
“Sometimes things just take you by surprise, and you just have to do the best you can to get through it and come out on top.”
The Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls will be donning special pink uniforms this Saturday, in support of cancer research, in support of Susan G. Komen and most important the support of their derby sister Kung Fu Hussy.
Thank You to Stephanie Rogg ‘Fu’ for sharing her story.