Monday, April 6, 2015

ZINspiration Monday with LaRonda

LaRonda is a cancer survivor and a tremendous inspiration! Here is her story.

It has been super amazing reading and learning so much about everyone's journeys, accomplishments, and life changes! My story is a little different.

Back in 2007 (after 5 years of working a desk job - for a doctor), I was diagnosed with Stage 3 cervical cancer. I had NO insurance (yep, even working for a MD). When I was diagnosed, I had NO idea I had cancer. No symptoms, no trouble in that "department", nothing. I actually went for a possible bladder infection and it had been a few years since my annual Pap. I guess I didn't feel the need to go if there were no problems. And we all know how much an office visit is when you have no health insurance.


Soooo, back to diagnosis, HOLY CRAP! Cancer, WOW! I can NOT stress enough how important it is for women to be on top of their goods... seriously, get your check ups!! So now I'm asking myself, what am I gonna do with no health insurance? Well, I can sit here and tell you the gigantic obstacles I went through from 2007-2009 (yes, 2 years of little to no treatment or help). At stage 3, level A, you're pretty much on a serious time crunch of getting things handled, because stage 4 is No Bueno!

It was horrible. Absolutely horrible. I felt defeated, not valuable to society, depressed, discouraged, and because I "didn't meet the age bracket of health coverage for that cancer" I couldn't really do anything that was needed because I didn't have the funds. Really?!?! You're gonna put an AGE bracket on who is approved and not approved to get funding to save your life? But, jumping ahead, in 2009 I found ANOTHER doctor (God bless her soul to the moon and back) who was willing to do treatments out of HER pocket until we could find the funds. How amazing was that?

In 2009 and 2010, I underwent TONS of small surgeries, laser treatments to remove cancer cells, etc. I was so young that the idea of a total hysterectomy was at the very bottom of the list of solutions. My abdomen became complete jello, I mean, useless. 5 MAJOR abdominal surgeries later and the very last one in December of 2010 removed all female anatomy and cancer from my body! (Cancer FREE, yay!!!!). The downfall: every abdominal muscle had been cut and removed - yep, I was completely gutted. Couldn't sit up by myself, my internal organs were put in place with a netting to keep them put, I wasn't allowed to do ANY abdominal exercises. Mind you, I was never into dance or exercise and knew nothing of Zumba.

But, how was I supposed to gain stomach muscle again if I couldn't exercise? About 3-4 months after my final surgery, I was going through physical therapy to learn how to use my core again (trust me, you don't realize how much your core does for you until you don't really have one to use!). I was getting stronger but HATED the physical therapy. It was horrible. Anywho, one of my good friends had become a Zumba instructor, she kept talking about it and I just thought "Zumba, well that sounds cool, good for you"...until she finally talked me into coming to one of her classes.

WOW!!!! Not only was it fun, but I was laughing and smiling and everyone around me was too. After years of depression and stress, it was a breath of fresh air to say the least. I continued going to her classes and about 2 months later my core was stronger and I quit my PT. I was hooked, and decided never going back to a desk job! A few months later, I became a ZIN and taught my first train wreck of a class the following week.

That was November of 2011. In my years of being a ZIN, my life has changed, my perspective on life has changed, my everything has changed. I have been so blessed and humbled by the Zumba program, the experiences we get to have and share with others, the way I get to help others walk their journey as an instructor. It's pretty amazing what Zumba has done for me and so many of us. Zumba brought me back to life, truly. Depression and life's struggles will always be there for people, no doubt. But how lucky are we to be able to turn to a program, a class, a group of people to help us through it?!

To those who have overcome cancer, weight loss, depression, abuse, financial turmoil, relationship hells, or whatever your struggle was... cheers to YOU!! I always tell people when they come to me with a struggle: you never know where that struggle will lead you, you never know what path it might take you on, but never be afraid to take the first step. Some of the hardest paths lead us to the best journeys!!! Keep walking your path, keep shinning, keep dancing, keep believing, and keep the faith!

Need more ZINspiration? Check it out here!


  1. LaRonda I didn't know your personal story until I just read this. Oh My Gosh. I am in awe of your courage and strength and wonderful attitude/outlook on life. You are truly a huge inspiration to all who come into contact with you in any way. May you continue to touch the lives of others through your love of ZUMBA® Fitness. You are amazing......

  2. Lo you awesome! Kudos to you for overcoming so much. Thanks for telling your story.

  3. Didn't know this, LaRonda..You are amazing; and one of three I look at for my choreo now..and you were so supportive of me when I did my choreo..thanks so much for sharing...

  4. I had NO idea!! So very glad things worked out for you!! And now WE get the benefit of your talent...and you have given it to share so freely!!! I suggest you share this link on the Francesca Maria Zumba High page!! So looking forward to meeting you in person in the fall!! <3 <3 <3

  5. OMG- what a strong woman you are!!! you are a true inspiration!!!!

  6. I'm glad I'm not the only one who is AMAZED and INSPIRED by LaRonda! Thanks for reading, everyone!

  7. So inspired!!! What a crazy journey....stay amazing my friend!!!!

  8. I've been watching & using your choreos, honestly mostly because I love watching you
    and your lovely hair.
    Now I will watch your videos with honest admiration your are an Inspiration.
    Thank you for sharing your talent and your experience. Amazing you

  9. Ive also been using your videos. What an inspiration you are! Thank you so much for this post!

  10. And this is more of a reason to love and admire you - I told you from the beginning that I believe in you and now it is totally verified that you are a TRUE fighter, a TRUE winner and so down to earth and humbled. I am blessed to know and love you 'LO" - the struggle is real and so are you - - What an amazing journey you've had......

  11. Everytime I hear LaRonda's story, it brings me to tears. She truly is a beautiful lady, inside and out. Her struggles that she has overcome just makes me love and admire her even more.