I’ve always enjoyed running and had previously done a couple of fun runs, but my world was rocked when in September 2016, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The day before I found the lump in my left breast that I was soon to be told was cancer, one of my running friends told me that she had registered for the 10km Carman’s run, and I said I’d consider it. In the weeks to come, that conversation took on a whole different meaning, particularly as my treatment progressed and I learnt that I would require the chemo that I was so hoping to avoid.
Race day saw me 2 treatments into a 4-treatment cycle. But I was determined, and I ran the 10km, crossing the finish line hand in hand with four of my running mates. That day was one of the proudest days of my life, to achieve that while having chemo…well let’s just say there were a few tears when I crossed the line. My third round of chemo was two days later, and I physically couldn’t run after that. It knocked me around more than I could imagine. If the run had of been any later, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.
Like so many other women going through treatment for breast cancer, completing my chemo treatment and then undergoing radiation saw me struggle with my energy levels and what I could do physically, so the idea of exercising again was a scary prospect. To get over this and to take some control of my body again, I saw an oncology exercise physiologist. He told me that my body would never be the same as it was before cancer, but that doesn’t mean that I need to put limitations on what I can physically do. So he asked me to set a goal that I hadn’t achieved pre-cancer. I thought about it, and the first thing that came to mind was to run a half marathon.
Prior to this, the furthest I had run was 15km (and that was many years ago), so a half marathon is definitely a stretch. I initially thought that this goal was 2 – 3 years away, but my running is going well, so I’ve decided that now is definitely the time.
To be able to run the half marathon, a distance I’ve never run before, less than 12 months after finishing chemo for breast cancer would mean a lot to me, and also to be able to give back to BCNA. They have been there with their invaluable resources and support from the time I was diagnosed, and are still there now.
I also hope that it inspires others to believe that despite what we come up against, that we shouldn’t put limitations on what we can achieve and that nothing is impossible. A breast cancer diagnosis, as shocking and as devastating as it is, doesn’t mean we have to put limitations on our lives. If anything, it should inspire us to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life. I know that it has definitely had that effect on me!