On April 16th 2019, my life changed. It started out as a normal work day, until I received a phone call from my doctor at 11 am. The results of my tests were in – I had cancer. I was told I had a 1 in 4 chance of dying. I had no idea that diagnosis was on the horizon, so this news was near impossible to process. I was afraid but not for myself, but for what it would mean for my family, especially my children, Isabelle and Nicholas (12 and 10 at the time), if my treatment wasn’t successful. Eight weeks of intensive treatment with many hurdles along the way, including an unplanned week-long hospital stay, and a brain scan due to chronic pain, came next. And then many months of trying to get back to my “regular” physical health again. But maybe harder than all of that has been the mental strain of coping with cancer.
When the treatment was done, there was no certificate of completion, the you are “cured” moment. Instead, I live appointment to appointment hoping that the cancer has not made a reappearance. And that has been really difficult to cope with. Through all of it, exercise has been my friend. It has helped me to stay calm, positive, and generally manage my mental health. And, now I want to double dip, and turn my exercising into an opportunity to give back!!
I am so proud to announce that my daughter Isabelle (the most fantastic daughter a Mom could ever wish for!!) and I, will be participating in the 2021 Bear Sprint Triathlon in Delaware on May 16th to raise money for the American Cancer Society. So many organizations do such good work to support the cancer cause, but since Isabelle and her three amazing friends ran a fundraiser for the ACS at their middle school in 2019 (and raised $3,000!!), it is an organization that is close to my heart.
Not only does the ACS fund cancer research – without which there would be no treatments like those I received – but they also support cancer patients in so many ways, not least lodging during treatment, and rides to treatment. Take it from me, patients have so much to deal with in terms of coping with the treatment itself, there is no room for financial stress. Any programs that can alleviate financial worries during treatment get a huge thumbs up from me!
Before cancer, I had never imagined that I would participate in a Triathlon. Not sure I am quite ready to do so now, but I will finish it!! I went through many dark times since my diagnosis, so I really hope that anybody going through, or dealing with the aftermath, of cancer treatment, can find some inspiration in the fact that I have not let cancer define who I am (well most days anyway!).
I am a very independent person, but cancer taught me that it is important to accept help, and lean on friends and family when times are tough. So, the icing on the cake for me is that I get to do the Triathlon with my good friend Kelly Bathgate (well, being honest she is to blame for the idea of even participating in the Triathlon in the first place!). Kelly has been the most amazing cheerleader, and supporter of me throughout my entire cancer journey, so that Isabelle and I get to do the Triathlon with her and her lovely daughter Ava, is something I couldn’t have imagined when I was in the throes of my treatment.
Isabelle and I would love to beat the $3,000 that she raised with her buddies for ACS back in 2019, so please consider supporting our cause. It is tough times for many these days so anything that you can give would be fantastic! I am indebted to all of my family and friends who have shown me so much love and support over the past two years. Anything that I can do to pay it forward for other cancer patients is a plus in my books.
Thanks from the bottom of my heart,