The Final chapter – It’s Just as Well we Can’t See Into The Future …
Into 2010 and I took part in the following races – Silverstone Half Marathon in March; Good Friday, 2nd April, the Easter 10(miles) held in Maidenhead; 16th May, the Staines 10K; May bought the BUPA London 10K, the first time I had taken part in this race. What an absolutely fantastic experience! Running through the streets of London, past famous landmarks, superbly organised and although a big race, friendly. And I set a new 10K PB – 57:45.In July I completed the New Forest 10(miles), a race in a beautiful setting but it was very hot, finishing in 1:52:55.
As the end of the school summer term approached we were looking forward to a family holiday to the USA, a couple of days in Washington for sightseeing and then on to the Gulf Coast for a relaxing ten days in a rented villa.
But, at the beginning of August, three days before we were due to leave, life bought me back down to earth with a huge bump. A lump had appeared in my left breast, out of the blue, nothing one minute and a lump the next. I made an appointment to see my GP who said I would have to be referred to a specialist and would have to attend a hospital appointment within the next 14 days. I explained we were due to leave for our holiday and she agreed that she would get me an appointment the moment we were back. She did say though that it more than likely would be cancer, given my history.
I really did not understand why I would have a cancer again. In a very weird way it was easier to cope with a second time around – it was almost as if I had been waiting for it to come back in some form.
You can imagine that our holiday wasn’t what it might’ve been. My emotions ran all over the place, I was very low and despite trying to hide it from our two children my teenage daughter knew something was wrong. So, I tried to explain to her about the lump and what it might mean. She became very distressed and we spent some time just crying and hugging each other.
I saw the oncologist on 23rd August, almost a year to the day since we had buried Mum so an emotional day. I had taken the decision not to tell my Dad about the cancer, I figured he had been through enough. On 31st August I was told that I had two different kinds of cancer, both invasive and would need surgery. In fact, if the lump hadn’t come up the other cancer would have gone unnoticed. This would mean some time out from running again and I would have to miss my two favourite races, the R4W Windsor 8K (although we did still go and watch the 8K – I wasn’t prepared to miss out completely!) and the Great South Run.
After more tests and scans I had surgery on 16th September to remove the lump and some nodes to see if the cancer had spread. I then had to wait for the results which I received on 28th September, the day after my son’s 11th birthday. I was so, so lucky – they had got it all, the cancer hadn’t spread and although I would need a course of radiotherapy I would not have to go through chemotherapy. The relief was indescribable and still is. I still get very emotional when I think back to that day.
We had a few days away in Cumbria in the October half term to rest before radiotherapy started.
On 31st October I was back racing! A friend of mine was taking part in a 5K in Basingstoke, some of which was inside the shopping centre there and asked if I would like to take part. An unusual race to say the least but I was overjoyed to be part of the running community again.
At the beginning of November, I started a course of 18 radiotherapy sessions at St Luke’s in Guildford, finishing just a few days before Christmas. My husband was with me for almost every session and I was so grateful for his support. I thankfully received no side effects from my treatment and finished ten days before Christmas feeling extremely well.
I got back to running regularly, booked races for 2011 and got life back on track. Since then I have done a number of races and am now lucky enough to work for my favourite running club – Running4Women of course!
People think it’s strange when I say I am lucky but I think I am, I’ve had two cancers, both of which have been caught early by the NHS and my running fitness has helped me to recover quickly. My children still have their mum and my husband his wife, and my Dad his daughter.
People tell me I’m an inspiration – I don’t think I am, it’s just that you fight and get on with life or you go under. I chose life. I had the support of the most wonderful network of family, friends and R4W. If I am an inspiration and have inspired just one person then telling my story has been worth it. I have never shied away from my cancers and if people want to ask me about it I will always answer the best I can.
If you think I can help you in any way, if you want to ask me anything, please contact R4W and I will be more than happy to get in touch. Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
ou can also follow me on Twitter – @CarolR4W.