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Bouncing Back: Chemo Recovery and CrossFit by Bev Venuti - CrossFit Journal

In Medical/Injuries, Videos

May 01, 2010

Video Article

Coping with cancer is difficult and confusing for everyone. Rounds of chemo and medication leave the patient drained and reduce quality of life—some say even more than the disease itself. Bev Venuti of CrossFit Mass finds that low-carb eating, fish oil and CrossFit help her cope with the demands of recovering from rounds of harsh treatment.

Venuti is surviving metastatic colon cancer, but it’s spreading. Doctors didn’t give her a resoundingly positive prognosis in the summer of 2008, but her current regimen of diet and exercise is steering them in another direction.

“I think I’m probably more fit now than I’ve ever been in my life,” she says.

Video by Again Faster.

6min 02sec

Additional reading: Mary’s Story: Part 1 by Mary Hieb, published Feb. 15, 2010.

Free Download


16 Comments on “Bouncing Back: Chemo Recovery and CrossFit”


Bryan de la Puente wrote …

You're saving the world one athlete at a time!!...very inspiring!


EC S wrote …

Bev, you are an AMAZING inspiration! Keep defying the doctors with CF and diet. Love it!


Stephen Wakefoose wrote …

I lost my mother to cancer and more over poor health habits her entire life. i remember sitting on the edge of her bed before she was diagnosed and telling her striaght out that she needed to change her lifestyle because I thought it was killing her. I wish i wasn't right and who knows but I wish I could have the chance to help her fight with crossfit on our side.



wrote …

Wow. Stories like these are the really cool ones, in my opinion. It's always neat to see some gym producer another firebreather that crushes some random WOD, but this video shows how it is truly possible to dramatically improves the quality of your client's life. Absolutely inspirational. Great job Bev and CF Mass! CrossFit affiliates are amazing with the work they do on a daily basis.


wrote …

All the best with your continuing recovery! Fantastic work :)


wrote …

This is a very inspirational story Bev and a testament for others to follow. This is an excellent opportunity for the medical profession to use as a case study and learn from. Press on Bev and God Bless you.


wrote …

Thanks for sharing your story Bev. It was very inspirational to see you working out and I love that garage gym. There should be one like that in every neighborhood.

My story is very similar to yours. I was diagnosed with colon cancer at 40 in late 2003. I had the surgery and chemo and all was well for 2 1/2 years. In 2006, they found the cancer had spread to my liver and I had another surgery and another round of chemo. My chemo treatments sound identical to yours; you learn to love getting that little take-home pump off! In 2008, I had a third surgery to remove another a piece of my colon when they found a small tumor. I started doing "crossfit style" workouts in late 2008.

I went to a level one cert in May, 2009 and I have a great little basement gym. All I'm missing is a rower. I'm far from a firebreather, but I'm in my basement 5 mornings a week at 5:30am doing a WOD. And, if it weren't for the scars and the surgical hernia you'd never know I had been sick. By the way, the hernia looks great exploding from my stomach doing GHD sit-ups! The Dr says it's no problem as long as I don't experience any pain. Maybe someday I'll get it fixed?

I have a PET scan and Blood work scheduled for this Wednesday, but I don't expect any bad news. I'm in pretty good shape for a 47 year old guy. Thanks again for sharing your story. I'll think of you on Monday when I do my workout. I'm a few days behind the main-site, but the WOD starts with 70 Burpees so you know it will be brutal. Take care or yourself Bev. You'll be in my prayers.


wrote …

Here's a story that affords a little perspective, on a couple of levels.

If a body under duress can respond so significantly to this kind of training and diet, the rest of us should be encouraged by the good we're doing for our long term health, even when the benefits are not so readily apparent.
Here's to your continued health and success, Bev: a toast with my next olive oil shooter.

Barry, above, wrote about this being an opportunity for a case study by medical professionals. I certainly agree, yet I'm not hopeful it would happen.
I've often wondered about why doctors are not more open minded to investigating the changes in lifestyle that could assist in the treatment of chronic disease. Do they not know about them? Are they so locked into the mentality of dispensing drugs to address immediate symptoms that they can't get out of the mindset? Is it the sheer volume of patients who need to be processed that forbids it?

I told a story in response to a journal article about The Zone ending my need for statin medication, the striking part of which was the doctor's complete indifference to how I managed the big change, despite the fact that I brought a copy of THE ZONE to the appointment.

My guess is that the doctors have to be realistic based upon their experience that 99 percent of patients won't make the changes necessary to effect a comprehensive plan of treatment. Doctors cannot control for these extracurricular forms of health maintenance, so they steer clear.

Somewhere in the universe, though, there's got to be some cool, hip CrossFitting doctor who could say to a patient, "Look: there are a whole bunch of factors contributing to your condition. In addition to this medicine I'm prescribing, I want you to consider meeting [So and So] who owns a CrossFit gym. They're going to show you a lot of things you probably don't know about exercise and nutrition, which are going to make a difference."

Would that be an ethics violation? Why?
Is there not enough literature backing the effectiveness of CrossFit, The Zone, and Paleo?

Is it a legal liability in case this person drops a kettlebell on their head?

My fear is that the medical profession is well aware of all of this, but they also know they have to keep their mouths shut.


wrote …

Bev, you are an awesome individual and example!


wrote …

Bev, you are an awesome individual and example!


I live in New Zealand and there are a small number of Doctors I know that do actually recommend the Zone Diet to patients.

With regards to heart disease and the Zone Diet, my father is also a great example of long term success. He had a heart bypass at the age of 55 for an almost occluded blood vessel. He increased his exercise and followed the standard heart foundation diet until his early 70's - with increasing cholesterol levels.

I discovered the zone diet in 1995 and convinced him to switch to it in 1996. His cholesterol improved markedly, his health improved and now at 79 he continues to be incredibly healthy, no statins, still follows the Zone, does a lot of tramping and cycling, and is still working part time as a psychiatrist. No sign of heart disease at all.


wrote …

Bev -- thanks for telling your story. Stay strong. You're an inspiration to us all.


wrote …

I want to show this to a bunch of friends who are not into CF or have access to the journal. Is there a way for me to post this to FB or email a link to my contacts?
A lot of great points made here about keeping active and eating well while battling illness. Thanks for sharing!!


wrote …

Bev, thanks for sharing your story. You and Joe make a great team!


wrote …

Bev we can't wait to get you back in the gym! Keep up your recovery so you can join us again soon!


wrote …

All the best!
Fantastic work :)

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