DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — A Delray Beach executive is citing stress as the cause of her cancer.
Amelia Pulliam says she has always lived a very healthy lifestyle. She ate healthy, exercised daily and always kept up with her yearly physical, never having any scares or diagnosis of disease.
Then, one year after her 2018 physical, which was completely clear, she found a lump on her breast.
"I wasn't particularly worried, but called my doctor just to be sure," said Pulliam.
Her doctor read tests and gave her news she never expected.
"It had not only spread to one breast, it was in the other breast and lymph mode and liver and moving literally quickly," said Pulliam.
Pulliam said she never had a suspicious test, has no genetic history at all and was dumbfounded looking for a cause. She got a second opinion from a well- known cancer institute, and they could not find any link at all to any medical cause, that is when she started looking at the way she has handled the stress in her life.
"You can have all the healthy habits in the world, but if you don't have that one part of your habits in check, it can have a significantly adverse impact," said Pulliam.
Cleveland Clinic Dr. Claudia Mason agrees with the impact of stress on health and says she sees many women who complain about the amount of stress they are under on a daily basis. She says there is good stress and bad stress.
"Some stress is good for people because it motivates them, but excessive amounts of worry and stress really dampen the immune system," said Mason. She says there could not be a clear link to Pulliam's stress level, but has no other answers.
"No one definitely said, 'yes, it's stress,' but the challenge is they can't say but, 'it's this,'" said Pulliam.
Pulliam began making changes immediately upon her diagnosis. She started meditation and slowing down her life, she also says talking about her experience with other women is helping her deal with the diagnosis.
Part of her therapy is sharing her story with other women and warning women to slow down and prioritize what really matters.
"I think there needs to be a better balance of how are you be the best version of yourself and how can you contribute the most without feeling you have to be a super hero," said Pulliam.