Soy or not to soy – that is my dilemma.

I never been a huge soy consumer. Soy milk occasionally, miso soup every now and then and some tofu or tamari in stir fries.

After my breast cancer diagnosis in 2014, soy was totally off my menu.

I, like so many other women, had oestrogen positive breast cancer and after radiotherapy started on aromatase inhibitors (which stopped my body from producing oestrogen).

Is it ok for women with oestrogen positive breast cancer to consume soy?

Here is where I started to become totally confused.

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I’m a gym convert

I’ve never been into playing sport or jogging.

I love watching tennis or the olympics but I never had the co-ordination or perseverance to actually be good at anything sport-wise. I did pilates reformer for few years and loved it, however I don’t count this as a real gym. I thought gyms were just for men, lifting heavy weights and showing off their muscles.

Around 4 years ago, I had a bit of health setback. Early breast cancer, which I consider myself lucky to have had diagnosed through mammogram screening, no lump or anything palpable. I had the surgery and radiation treatment and then aromatase inhibitor medication for 5 years.

I have a family history of osteoporosis and my medication decreased by my bone density – so I had to look at ways to strengthen my bones.

There’s a gym here in Sydney that only works with people who have had cancer. Unfortunate entry criteria, I know, however I checked it out, everyone there was really professional and we worked out some fitness goals that would suit me. Research has shown that exercise as part of cancer care is really beneficial And may help with adverse effects of cancer treatment (I’ve added a link to the reference at the end of page)

Increasing my bone density would be one and the other – let me see – I know how about a chin-up? Seemed like a good idea!

The gym was really well equiped, well trained health physioligists, fantastic machines and I lost my fear of the gym.

Took me a year, but at the age of 62, I did my first unassisted chin-up.

My first unassisted chin-up – so proud of myself

I became obsessed with doing chin-ups. Every time we walked past a children’s play group I looked to see if there was a suitable bar. Here in Australia, the local councils have been removing all the equipment like monkey bars which means its difficult to find a suitable bar at a height I can reach.

I’m no longer going to the cancer gym. My husband retired and I decided that we should go to the gym together.

I didn’t fancy going to a regular gym – too many fit young people.

In New South Wales (NSW) we have Police Citizens Youth Clubs (PCYC). These clubs were set up to empower young people to reach their potential via fitness and personal growth programs, with the ultimate aim to reduce crime.

Our local PCYC has a well-equiped gym and lucky for us anyone in the community is allowed to join. The membership cost is pretty reasonable and there is a wide range of people who work-out at the gym. There are personal trainers onsite (for a fee) if classes or extra help with training is needed.

I’m still doing my chin-ups and my husband is following my lead. He can do 10 chin-ups now and we are motivating each other.

I’m going to the gym at least 3 times a week now and I love going to the gym.

My next goal – I’d like to be able to do a handstand.

I encourage all women – young and old – to find a gym that is not too intimidating and set yourselves fitness goals – you will be amazed at what you can achieve.

Do you have a fitness story to share – I’d love to hear from you.

Chin-ups at the PCYC gym

Links and references

Police Citizens Youth Clubs –

Position Statement regarding Exercise in Cancer Care –