Buddy Check: Missy climbs a mountain

12:33 PM, Nov 11, 2011   |    comments
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A cancer diagnosis is enough to drag a person into the depths of depression, but for an Oak Ridge woman it only lifted her up. 

We first met Missy Pointer this past summer as she was wrapping up treatment. Since then, she has experienced things most of us could only dream of doing. 

Pointer overcame emotional mountains this year while weathering a divorce, she battled breast cancer and endured chemotherapy and radiation.

"There was a point I thought I was going to shut down and cry and spend the the rest of my days in bed. But I chose to live and to live life to the fullest," said Pointer. 

Her climb back prepared her for the real thing, a mountain in the Rockies. "I went to Colorado, never been and it was just an amazing experience," said Pointer. 

Pointer heard about the First Descents Program from a friend and fellow cancer survivor. It is a climbing expedition where young adults living with cancer scale cliffs. 

"I didn't think about cancer at all...It's a week without a watch, a week without anything.  You just go. You are with people who have had cancer so they understand what you are going through. What you have been through," explained Pointer. 

Like her journey with cancer, this first time climber rose above the fear. "I started up the rock and I was like what have you gotten yourself into. The first descent is always the hardest.  Once you got up, it was amazing.  On our last day we rappeled 250 feet," said Pointer. 

Each climber leaves with a sense of accomplishment and a nickname. Pointer's was "Cougar." 

By the time Pointer got back home to East Tennessee, she was primed for another physical challenge, the Komen Race for the Cure. It was her 4th 5K since her diagnosis. 

"It was my best race so far.  It was amazing hearing my name called out as a finisher.  I had so many people supporting me there also," said Pointer. "Once you find out you have cancer you look at new ways do things that empower you -- help you overcome."

Pointer said maybe she had something to prove to herself, that she can run life's races, climb the toughest mountains and even beat cancer. Missy said her next challenge will likely be running a half marathon.

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