Answering a standard medical questionnaire is no longer straight forward for me. In my medical history is cancer, Stage 3 Breast Cancer, my cancer was aggressive but my tumour was small when I found it and thankfully as far as I am aware the Cancer has not spread further. For a while I was on mediation a hormone treatment Tamoxifen a prohibited substance if you’re an athlete. It is far from performance enhancing but it has been abused by athletes in the past which is why it is banned.
I live with my history, it’s often simply a fleeting worry, one that surfaces more prominently at certain times of the year, typically the anniversary of my diagnosis the 23rdJanuary and October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I’ve shared my story openly, the attention brought to my situation and the responses I receive stirs the emotions at times but if I have encouraged you to check your breasts or to take comfort if you identify with me and share my experience, I’m cool with it. I have been approached by women in my situation, in person and private message and I’m grateful for them all, they are a comfort to me and I hope also to you too.
My simple screening has not been simple. Every 6 months I front up for a mammogram and ultrasound. My history means that an anomaly in my lymph nodes usually dismissed results in further testing which so far has revealed nothing.
I’ve continued to run. It is one constant in my life that has helped me through some of the dark times. As is the connection it brings especially through Running Mums Australia. Given one in eight women will experience Breast Cancer that’s a lot of Running Mums. Know that you are not alone and that this amazing network is one of many open to you.
I had the blessing of my Oncologist and Surgeon with my passion for running. They are both women and at the top of their field so I think you can trust that if you have an experience similar to mine then running through treatment and fairly soon after surgery is possible and encouraged. Almost every other day someone takes great pride and jog in beating me to the finish. I take it with a smile and thanks as recognition that in the past I was capable of more than I can give right now.
My running results so far despite my best efforts are far from the level they were on my diagnosis in January 2016. I have had some remarkable results and I’ve been happy to compete and be competitive and performed to the best of my ability despite the challenges. I do wonder what might have been but I try not to dwell on it because that is something I cannot change. It is natural to consider what might have been but I know too that while I have health and the legs and heart still work I must tame the mind to pursue the next exciting experience.
Just one week ago in transit from my flight from Taiwan at the Hong Kong airport, I watched the sunset over the mountains. Mountains where I know there are many challenging trails waiting for me to explore them. I run on, circling endlessly, relishing each exchange, forging friendships and spreading joy with a smile because I’m doing this. I lead a full life before my diagnosis and not much has really changed.
Always representing Australia with pride. On track in Taiwan.