Inspiring Triathlete Overcomes Bulimia And Cancer

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  • Published Jan 14, 2016
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In her new book, “Just Three Words,” 54-year-old triathlete and registered dietitian Karen Newman writes about overcoming cancer and beating bulimia while remaining a top competitor on the racing circuit. Here, the South Burlington, Vt., resident tells the New York Post how cancer provided her with an unexpected and much-needed lifeline.

Cancer was an enormous blessing. It saved my life. That may sound crazy, but it’s true. The disease taught me that our greatest trials can be our greatest opportunities for growing and finding purpose.

When the doctor diagnosed me with Stage 3 breast cancer in March 2008, I was 46 years old and told that I had a 10 percent or less chance of living if I did not begin treatment immediately. I knew I needed to do it—I wanted to beat cancer.

But I had a secret that I could not share with anyone. I had been living a huge lie: While traveling around the United States, lecturing people on nutrition and talking about being a top-10 triathlete, I routinely had bile on my tongue. Literally. I struggled with bulimia, making myself sick eight to 10 times per day—to the point where I was throwing up blood—and I was too ashamed to admit it.

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