"I simply chalked it up to the flu," Greenfield said. "I had symptoms that were like the common cold and flu, with headaches and dizziness, but they didn't go away. I just didn't feel well for a number of weeks. But then my menstrual cycle stopped and I had a lot of abdominal distress. That's what told me that it simply wasn't the flu."
So Greenfield, the general manager of the Palisades Fitness Center in North Bergen, finally went to get a physical examination.
The results were devastating. Greenfield had ovarian cancer.
"When the doctors told me, I was shocked," Greenfield said. "I was in shock and fear. I couldn't believe it. I worked in a health club. I was healthy. I was young and into fitness. This couldn't happen to me. I wasn't a smoker. How could I get cancer? I was in denial."
The doctors told Greenfield that the cancer cells were growing in her ovaries for as much as 16 months prior to being diagnosed.
"It's not easy to locate," Greenfield said. "I was lucky. I started having the flu symptoms. Usually, the symptoms arrive later. I was fortunate that they found it sooner."
There are two forms of ovarian cancer that can strike women. One type generally strikes women in their 30s.
Those of Jewish descent tend to get it faster.
"Plus, I had a family history of cancer," Greenfield said.
The second form attacks post-menopausal women.
When Greenfield received the bad news, she tried to stay upbeat.
"I was determined to fight this," she said. "I knew I was going to make it. I had a ton of tremendous support from family and friends, and that made a difference."
One of the biggest supporters was Greenfield's boyfriend, Richard Mansour.
"He's a wonderful man," Greenfield said. "He was behind me 1,000 percent. He did things for me that no other human being should do for a person. He helped me tremendously."
Greenfield had to endure nine months of chemotherapy and radiation.
"It got pretty ugly," Greenfield said. "I was lucky that I didn't lose my hair, but there were days that I felt I was coming pretty close to death. What Melissa Etheridge [the popular recording artist who is battling breast cancer] said about cancer is all true."
But the determined Greenfield wasn't about to let the cancer win.
Fighting the fight While battling the hideous disease, Greenfield became involved with the Ovarian Cancer Research Center. In fact, she became a case study in her treatment and recovery.
"They're dedicated to finding methods of battling ovarian cancer," Greenfield said. "They're enhancing treatment and preventing side effects, like nausea. While I was going through it, I figured that there had to be a better way. I wondered whether I would make it. But I decided that if I did make it, I was going to do anything I could to help others to prevent ovarian cancer in the future."
Greenfield recently received great news. On Feb. 28, she was given a new title - cancer survivor.
"I'm 100 percent cancer-free," Greenfield said. "I definitely have to get regular check ups, but I am cancer-free."
As one of the first things she's doing to enhance ovarian cancer awareness, Greenfield has organized an open house fundraising event at the Palisades Fitness Center, located at 7700 River Road in North Bergen, directly next door to the Palisades Medical Center.
The event will take place today (Sunday, May 15) between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
"It's an open house for the community to both raise awareness and raise money," Greenfield said. "There are so many events to raise awareness for breast cancer, and that's fine. But ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death of women in their 30s, and there's not enough funding or information."
Greenfield has organized a host of different events for the day, like a 100-mile "ovarian cycle," which is an indoor 100-mile stationary bike event. There are master classes, like body sculpting and yoga, chair massages, blood pressure screenings and body composition testing. Many vendors will present exhibits and there will be fun and games for the children.
A portion of the funds collected today will go to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. It's a way for the community to give back, shape up and help the cause.
Also, if anyone chooses to join the Palisades Fitness Center today, a portion of the enrollment fee will go to the OCRF. All donations to the OCRF are tax-deductible.
Greenfield is excited about the event and about her future as well, one that was in question just 11 months ago.
"Of course, it's an event that is very close to my heart," Greenfield said. "I'm very lucky to be here and to be healthy. This is the least that I can do to help."
For further information about the Palisades Fitness Center's open house to raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, please contact the center at (201) 854-6666.