As I think most of my readers know, fitness is very important to me. I also think you all know that I found the lump in my breast the day after running a 15 K, my longest race in years. It felt like bad karma or something… like I was being punished for caring about my body so much and taking so much pride in it, both how it looked and what it could do.
I remember going for a walk the night before my surgery, with a dear friend. I told him I was scared that I would never be able to go for long walks again. He looked at me like I was crazy and reminded me that the surgery was on my breast. Of course I knew that, what I meant was I didn’t know how sick I would get, if I would need chemotherapy, if they would find something inside me that meant that I would never be healthy enough to go for long walks, and run, again.
Thankfully, that has not happened. I have walked throughout my entire treatment, sometimes as much as 20,000 steps a day, hitting at least 10,000 steps almost every day. Beyond walking, it’s been touch and go. I started trying to get fit again when I finished chemo, unfortunately radiation put a kink in those plans when I could barely wear a bra and any upper body movement hurt as it stretched my burnt skin! Eventually I recovered enough to start exercising again, including running.
Unortunately, my fitness has taken a big hit. I don’t have a lot of strength, especially in my upper body (I probably need to see a physiotherapist for my right side, since I’ve also lost a lot of my range of motion, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet). I also don’t have a lot of endurance, and cannot run or do other exerting activities for nearly as long as I used to. That was painfully obvious to me when we climbed BlueMountain a few weeks ago!
I was planning to do a 7K a few weeks ago, the RBC run for the kids. In the end I dropped out. I knew that 7K was too ambitious for me and that I would feel bad about myself if I walked too much, and I was honestly just too tired those days to wake up early enough to get there. I had also registered for the RBC run for the cure (which was today) and figured I would get another chance to participate in a running event a few weeks later.
And so I did. Zoë and I ran 5 km today. I don’t know how long it took me because the GPS was bad and the race was not timed, but I do know that I didn’t walk nearly as much as I thought I would, and I felt great about myself at the end!
Besides running, I was able to fund raise $814 for the Canadian breast Cancer foundation. I’m very proud of that, and hope the money goes to good use. I’m so grateful for all the people that sponsored me and donated. I was a bit sad that so few people chose to join me (Adam and the kids came, and one other friend and her teenage daughter), most of the other survivors there were surrounded by their friends and family, but that is what it is and hopefully next year my team will grow. In the meantime, I did some great fundraising, and got back on track as a runner. Unfortunately cold weather is coming so I probably won’t be running for much longer this year, possibly till the end of November… But I’m looking forward to starting again in the spring and getting back to the sporting life 10K! Adam has promised he will join me next year.
I would like to share what I wrote on Facebook about the CIBC run for the cure and my decision to do it for the first time:
Today, the #CIBCrunforthecure, was a very special day for me. I’ve never done this run before, not because I didn’t care about the cause, but because I always felt bad to do things that are focussed on one kind of cancer. I have to say that I still do, I know so many people are survivors of different kinds of cancer, and sadly so many aren’t with us anymore. I have lost people important or close to me to lung cancer, bone cancer, leukaemia, and colon cancer. In addition to these cancers people important to me have gone through thyroid cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, oral cancer and brain cancer. So, It’s important to me to support all survivors and all cancer research.
That said, after being diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2015, I definitely do feel something special about this cause. The treatment I went through (and still go through) wasn’t fun, and I have to live with the effects, and live the rest of my life worrying about breast-cancer; coming back not only to me, but to my daughters. There’s not much that is more important to me than finding a cure for all kinds of cancer, but of course breast cancer is what touches me personally and I hope that myself and women (and men) like myself get to live cancer free lives, and that treatments are found that give us a better quality of living during and after.