Alexis Mercer is a former college softball player, at Armstrong State, and avid body builder who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, over the summer.
While going through chemotherapy, Mercer kept up with her weight regimen, stated dailymail.co.uk. She would go to the gym on the second week of her break between rounds of chemotherapy.
“I tried not to miss more than five days over the course of two weeks,” Mercer stated in an interview. “For the first six rounds of chemo, it was really hard, but it was much better over the last six.”
“I’ve always loved the gym,” stated Mercer, who played college softball at Armstrong State. “It’s just a hobby that I love and it was really hard to not be able to do the workouts that I used to do. You know, I had these nice arms that were gone and I lost a lot of muscle. I wanted to show that if I could do it, then there were other people going out there going through the same thing I was that could do it.”
Doctors diagnosed Mercer with Stage 1 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which affects the white blood cells, about a week and a half after her hand first became swollen. Mercer had none of the other potential Hodgkin’s lymphoma symptoms, like itchiness, night sweats, fever and chills, according to flosoftball.com.
Mercer began her 12 rounds of chemotherapy in late July. Right before the second round, her hair began to fall out. She shaved her head and bought wigs until she became more comfortable, according to dailymail.co.uk.
A few months in, Mercer got comfortable enough to head back to the gym and post multiple pictures on Instagram with her shaved head. Someone she met at a bodybuilding competition began using the hashtag #FlexforLex and it caught on. Friends put it on t-shirts and money raised from sales helped pay for her medical bills, according to flosoftball.com.
“Sometimes I see people wearing the shirt who I’ve never even met before, but it’s really cool,” stated Mercer.
Mercer has now completed chemo and will begin radiation in February. She’s looking for jobs in pharmaceutical sales and wedding planning and recently became engaged to boyfriend Kaleb Writch, also a bodybuilding athlete, according to flosoftball.com.
Mercer also vows to continue going to the gym and to compete in bodybuilding and fitness competitions again, according to dailymail.co.uk.