Reaching Goals with Team Sarcoma – Chainbreaker Ride

Carol Skaja-Jacobsen

Carol Skaja-Jacobsen, Administrative Assistant, UMN Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery



Chainbreaker riders

Carol (left) with co-riders in 2017 Chainbreaker

Last year I participated in the Chainbreaker ride along with Team Sarcoma. I gave an update in “My Experience with the Chainbreaker Bike Ride” in the Rein in Sarcoma newsletter last fall.

After I completed the 25-mile Chainbreaker ride last August, which was really fun, I got off my bike and thought, "next year I’m doing 50 miles, losing 50 pounds, by the time I’m 50 in October 2018."

I started with a nice weight-loss plan and was still riding my bike. Unfortunately, during a routine physical exam in October, I was told that there was an abnormality on my mammogram. On my 49th birthday, I was told I had breast cancer. Needless to say, it’s a shock to hear, “you have cancer,” and it takes an emotional toll on a person. It’s very devastating.

I started chemotherapy in November, had minor surgery to remove the remainder of the tumor in February, followed by radiation in April, and am currently on an oral chemotherapy for the next few months. Fortunately, I am blessed to have tolerated all of this treatment quite well (due to all the prayers, without a doubt), and aside from some slight fatigue, I feel great!

Out of something bad comes something good. Sometimes a reminder of how precious life is, is what we really need. I never let things get me down too much anyway due to my deep faith in God, and I feel that this is just a small test from above - I don’t plan on failing the test. The cancer treatment put a little dent in my goal, since steroids make weight loss nearly impossible, but I’m heading to the goal at a good pace now.

My goal, more than ever now, is to get to a nice healthy weight with proper diet and exercise – doing it the correct way for the first time in my life. I have been bike riding with my dear friends, Brittney Kozak and Larissa Lavrov, who are also on Team Sarcoma. The chemo leaves me with less energy, but Brittney and Larissa push me along to ride a little further each time. Together, we are going to be ready for this ride on August 11.

The Chainbreaker ride is a fundraiser for cancer research. I feel blessed that there is so much progress in cancer research, including for my own diagnosis of triple-negative breast cancer, but there’s a long way to go. I plan to ride and raise money for everyone who has cancer, had cancer, and sadly will be diagnosed with cancer. Hopefully, someday together we can change everyone’s cancer ribbon color, whether it be yellow for bone cancer or pink for breast cancer, to Red to stop or end cancer.

Please join Team Sarcoma in this fun Chainbreaker ride. I hadn’t been on a bike since I was 18 until last year, so if I can do it, anyone truly can do it!

- Carol Skaja-Jacobsen