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Fitness blogger shows what cancer really looks like on Instagram

Cheyann Shaw, a popular fitness blogger, has stage 4 ovarian cancer — and a positive attitude.
/ Source: TODAY

A few months ago, Cheyann Shaw was like any other 20-something woman, excitedly planning her wedding while pursuing her career as a fitness blogger in Seattle. She worked hard to inspire other woman to get active and strong. Today, the 23-year-old's mission has changed slightly, but her message remains the same.

In August, Shaw was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when her OB-GYN discovered a lump located above her pubic area. Her doctor originally thought it was an ovarian cyst, but spotted the cancer during surgery.

Following the initial surgery, Shaw was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer and was scheduled for more serious surgeries a couple months later. In October, doctors removed her spleen, appendix and part of her colon and bladder. She also underwent a hysterectomy.

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"My doctor and myself didn't realize how much the cancer had taken over my body till she got in for surgery," she told TODAY via email. "My tumor was the size of a beach ball and I also had four other smaller tumors."

"When I was first diagnosed I was stage 3, but after surgery, since the cancer was all over my spleen and in my lymph nodes, it was increased to stage 4," Shaw said.

She's currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment, but that hasn't stopped her from remaining positive and upbeat for her 190,000 Instagram followers.

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"I knew when I was diagnosed that I wasn't ready to die and I only had one choice: to put on my boxing gloves and get in the ring to knock cancer out," she told TODAY. "My faith has also helped me a lot and that is a big reason why I have stayed so positive during this time."

Shaw is writing about her health struggle on Instagram and on her YouTube channel in the hopes of helping others.

"People think that when you have cancer, you have no chance left and stop living their lives. That is so false. I wanted to show people that just because I have cancer, doesn't mean I will stop living and doing the things I love. I want to help people and inspire people," she said.

"I tell myself every morning that today is a great day to have a great day," she added. "Life is beautiful and at the end of the day, I would say I am very blessed. Cancer has taught me a lot already and I feel blessed that I am able to use my story and journey to help others."