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Underdog Stuns Breast Cancer with a Knockout

Article on Michele Wahlder, Dallas-based Life & Career Coach and Gritty Fighter

It was December of 2000 and the main stage was set. In one corner of the ring, stood a merciless heavyweight boxer known for taking down her opponents in record time. Across the way, awaited an equally gritty fighter, but commentators couldn't help but speculate if Michele Wahlder could contend with breast cancer, although she'd already defeated malignant melanoma cancer in 1995.

At the sound of the bell, a gutsy Michele came out swinging, but midway through the battle she began to tire. Sensing another victory, breast cancer began to overpower its challenger. First a left jab, then a straight right, and next a left hook; breast cancer was determined to bring the underdog to her knees.

"From diagnosis through treatment, I put on a real warrior's stance, but was I terribly ill," Michele recalled. "I was hospitalized after my first chemotherapy treatment with pancreatitis, and each treatment after, I was hospitalized because of my severe reaction to the treatments. The chemicals flooding my body really took a heavy toll."

Just as it appeared as though Michele was on the verge of losing the biggest fight of her life, the match took a spectacular twist. Sometime between Michele's last fall and rise from the floor, she seemingly attained a dose of energy and determination. Onlookers were mesmerized as she began to unleash a series of powerful body punches shortly after gaining her balance. Then, in an instant, Michele threw a jaw-breaking punch that dropped breast cancer to the ground. The crowd stood on its feet in disbelief as a bewildered breast cancer struggled to get up. But it quickly became clear, the fight was over. Michele had managed to pull off a stunning upset, defeating breast cancer in round six by knockout.

"The fights against melanoma and breast cancer reminded me how life can change in a split second — for better or worse," the champ said. "They made me realize how strong and fragile we all are. They also taught me to have compassion for people as we are all dealing with our own struggles, even though some struggles may not be apparent externally."

Michele is busy training for her next competitor. She said her strategy for getting in physical and mental shape includes maintaining a healthy diet, adequate exercise, a low amount of stress, positive thinking, and surrounding herself with supportive family and friends.

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