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Tatiana Suarez on Beating Cancer and Inspiration from Ronda Rousey

Maybe the quarantine carried a silver lining. Solitude, after all, forces you to listen to yourself. When the solitude is medically prescribed, you can’t run from it—quite literally.

Most people never experience this firsthand. Tatiana Suarez did. Doctors employed radioactive iodine to treat her cancer, and that in turn required isolation. So she retreated to her bedroom, covered all four walls in plastic sheeting and proceeded to contemplate the loss of her lifelong dream. She was 21 years old at the time.

“I couldn’t be around people at all,” she recalls. “I had to stay there for like a week. Imagine going through a treatment for cancer and you can’t be around people to comfort you. To me, that sucked.”

Different cancer treatments cause different side effects in different people. Individual responses to the treatments are equally variable. To get through, some patients rely on familiar resources to help them define the terms of the battle. Sometimes it’s best to find comfort in what you know during difficult moments.

Suarez had been wrestling since before she could remember. So she took on the situation the best way she knew how.

“I started chugging water to get the [iodine] out of my pores. Get it out of my body!” she remembers. “After I drank all that water, I weighed myself and I weighed a lot. So I was like, ‘This is the heaviest I’ve ever been. I have to go for a run!’ I couldn’t run, so I started working out in my room.”

Alone in the quarantine room, she did wrestling drills, pushups, situps, burpees, jumping jacks. Then, having sweated sufficiently, she sat and gave her situation some thought. A lot of thought.


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