A Very Personal Story of Courage Part 3

A Very Personal Story of Courage Part 3

Feeling like a runner again!

January 2007 – love that date – it was when I started running again.  I followed Liz Yelling’s 30 Day Walk to Run programme.  It was like being a complete beginner again but even the walking days of the programme felt wonderful.   When I got to the run days of the programme I was so happy – a couple of minutes at first, building up until the last day of the programme, 30 minutes of running.   Those 30 minutes marked a real turn in my life, I knew I could still run and that cancer hadn’t taken away one of the things I loved.   I was back doing my part time job at school and people there seemed amazed that I was running again – “but you’re running again” and “how can you still run?”.  Simple answers – because I wanted to and I could, my legs and the rest of my body still worked – besides, had everyone expected me to stop because I had cancer?  

In March we went away for an extended and much needed family holiday to the USA, I was only too aware of how much strain my cancer had put on my husband and two children and to spend time with them away from hospitals and worrying was very special.  We returned home mid-April and my mind returned to my running. 

In early May I had to have a scheduled CT scan to check on my progress, something I would have to do once a year for the next five years.   Everything was fine.

Something that I keep and that is very special to me is a photo album of my running – maybe that sounds big headed but it shows me how far I’ve progressed, I have photos and times of each of my races and it really motivates me.  But, it had a very big gap in it – no photographs since May 2006 and it was now 2007.   This needed sorting! 

Some of the staff and older girls from school had signed up to take part in the Race for Life at the Old Deer Park, Richmond on 19th May so I decided to join them. 

Before then though our family had to face another heartbreak.  My darling father-in-law, who had been battling a cancer related illness for a number of years, lost his battle and died just before then.  He was a gentleman, one of the old fashioned kind and although we knew how ill he was it was still an awful shock.   I said to my husband that I would pull out of the run but he didn’t want me to, Dad wouldn’t have wanted me to either.  

So we set off to Richmond Park on the day, my excitement though less than it had been.  My daughter did the race with us so it was a lovely family day and I felt I was back to where I wanted to be, on a start line with like minded people.  My son made himself a special ‘number’ to wear to remember his Grandad.  I finished the run in about 28 mins.

I wanted to get some more races booked to keep motivated. 

I had, and still have, problems with my tummy after running for any amount of time.   Having had my rectum removed my body has nowhere to store waste, it just went straight to my bowels.  I know this sounds really repulsive and I’m sorry if it offends anyone but there it is.  I have never shied away from talking about my bowel cancer, have always answered people’s questions and always will.   So I had to learn to get some control back of what my body was up to in its new form! I spoke to my Colorectal nurse who said that I should try taking Imodium or something similar before I ran as this would slow everything down.   And it  worked – I felt more confident to run knowing that I wouldn’t have to look for a toilet while I was out.

In June I had to attend hospital for a scheduled colonoscopy, for which two days before I had to stop having anything other than clear fluids and then the day before had to take some really horrible stuff which completely clears the system out.  I was told a small lump had been found – so once again I was back to worrying and waiting for test results.   A couple of weeks later when my Colorectal nurse told me the lump had been nothing to worry about I just cried with relief.   Life certainly was putting me through every kind of emotion possible!

I booked some more races – I did a 5K in June 2007 at Bushey Park and another Race for Life in July at Kempton Park, remembering my father-in-law and how lucky I was to have received such speedy treatment from the NHS and to have had such a positive outcome.  

So I was back running but needed some new challenges ….

next time – upping the distance, and more heartache  

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