It was world book day 7th March and so many parents were dressing their children up for school. A host of Matildas, Harry Potters etc…great fictional characters…but I always wonder if anyone else would think of Jane!
I read avidly in my youth and loved the classics, falling for Mr Darcy long before falling for Colin Firth! I still adore the literary walk with Thomas Hardy in the first chapter of Under The Greenwood Tree and feel lucky to have a second edition copy bought from his house.
But above all the Elizabeths, Nells and Annes…. there was one alone the touched me more than any other…Jane. Which ties in nicely with the other even of the week, International Womens Day.
You see for me little plain, simple, bright Jane Eyre spoke to my soul. Her difficult, bullied upbringing made her resilient and strong. School while cold and harsh, educated her but kept her kind and humble. It also saw her go through loss and know what the word friendship meant. Her adult role saw her work hard, secure a favourable position and she would have been happy just with that, but that position also meant falling in love for the first time. She then learnt heartbreak but in spite of it stayed true to herself. She didn’t waltz into the sunset on a Disney happily ever after. She took some time to think, had other challenges…but then took a leap of faith and returned. She married for love the scarred, blinded man who had kept the harshest secret from her, deceived her…to make himself feel better and get what he wanted…not realising his full error until the worst happened. Probably never understanding the depth and strength of the woman he loved.
Life is not all highs, not all plain sailing. We need to be kind, humble, accepting, pursue goals, dream dreams, live but understand life and be true to ourselves. Sometimes just when we think we’ve got exactly what we want, fate will show a hand. You then need to make your decisions, move your way…no-one elses, finding your future and staying true to you.

Sunday – Following my long run I felt refreshed, happy, not tired. Infact I had to force myself to take an hour out and sleep as I knew I needed it. Pre-chemo when I was training for my first half marathon long runs left me drained, ruled out the rest of the day. Cancer played a huge part but I do see a change now, fuelling and hydrating better also play key roles.

Monday – My first full radiology visit for my CT scan and planning. I had an early start to ensure I’d completed my 6.5K recovery run first, to both get in my training and warm my body up – on strength training and recovery days I struggle to get, and keep, warm but a running day makes me glow inside. As my body hair grows back, my skin regenerates and my muscles strengthen this will get better.
I was thankful for my inner warmth given how cool the radiology department felt, plus then how cold the bed in the machine was! Stripped to my waist and laid on sheet metal for 20mins l felt icy. It was however the longest I’ll be laid on that bed over the coming months.
We worked on my breathing first, teaching me how deeply to belly breath and hold so that as treatment is carried out my heart will be safely moved out of the way. Due to the site of my cancer and their need to treat my whole left side, they can’t do anything about the damage the radiotherapy will cause to my ribs and upper lung, but at least my heart can be protected…and by something as simple as taking a breath!
It was an overall odd experience, the tattoo marks either side of me hurt and I have one other at the base of my sternum. All three points were tender for most the rest of the day.
I felt very down in the afternoon, tiredness had kicked in but also fear of the unknown…treatment, the future, potential failures.

Tuesday – I took a new day new start attitude. Getting up focussed and worked on strength training for my legs and core.
After breakfast I walked along a trail run route, I’d noticed it on the map and realised the distance and terrain it covers will be beneficial to me for training. Along the way I found the old mill at Hathersage and more spring blooms. My legs worked with me, no tiredness, no aches, I felt like my glutes and quads had power in them for the first time in a long time!
It was refreshing afterwards to sit in the sun at my favourite coffee stop and take time out.

The evening brought major excitement as I found out, via a wonderful lady in my running group, that my very first #1000milechallenge photo has been featured in this months Trail Running Magazine. I feel honoured to have been picked and hope it inspires others who may be in the same position as me to keep going, never give in and always push for your dreams.

Wed – Despite the forecast the night before telling of rain I managed a dry, albeit windy, run. I’d struggled with a nosebleed before going out and I had the same problem after getting in. I used to have frequent nose bleeds during my week of Filgrastim injections but this was more intense. My gums had been bleeding too but I’ve noticed my sense of smell and taste are different, more present and so I wonder if the sensitivity and bleeding is part of the regeneration taking place now in my body.
This was a huge milestone day! I caught the train, something haven’t been able to do due to infection control during chemo and fatigue, and went to see my Mum and Dad. They picked me up from a smaller nearby station instead of me having to cope with Lincoln and we had a relaxed few hours together. I won’t lie it was hugely tiring to the point of being quite emotional by the evening, just getting from our smaller station to Sheffield let alone the rest of the day was quite a feat. However, it was the first time I’ve been back since I was diagnosed last July and also the first time I’d left the 20mile triangle I’ve been confined to during chemo. It felt utterly liberating, I’d truly missed how everything looked and smelt!

Thursday – Oh what a rainy day but I caught the best and nicer part during my run. It felt milder and the air heavy with the coming rain as I got back. Then it poured! I was thankful for not needing to go out. I had an extra half hour strength training session to work my legs and core more but the day was given over to house work and rest. By lunchtime every bit of me had had enough, Wednesday had finally caught up with me and I felt tired…not in the same way I used to though! Gone was the chemo foggy, that weak if you don’t sit you fall, dizzy, nonsensical tired…I just felt drained. In a strange way it felt exciting to feel tired in a more normal way. I still have to sleep during a day either off and on or in a solid block for between an hour to two hours…that’s a HUGE improvement to before though and is meaning I’m gradually able to do more during a day.

Friday – I had a lie in…not an ordinary persons idea of one but a runners – basically an extra hour in bed. My long run will take place on Saturday so things needed to be dialled back, the day taken easily. A good nights sleep and an upper body training session started things off nicely. I was still feeling tired from Wednesday and so having a day of resting was beneficial.
I’d ordered the following books in the week and they arrived in the mornings mail:

I’m looking forward to using the first to help get more trail running into my routine, embrace the different terrains and explore more. The second I’m hoping will help with my mental health, the battle I’m having with confidence in myself and the way that I look due to treatment, the struggle I’m having with inner doubts and anxiety. I badly want to feel more at peace with myself, aswell as embracing the new more relaxed attitude towards life that I’m slowly forming.

Saturday – Due to plans I made it long run day and just as with the week before, I threw running to heart rate out the window, favouring instead running to feel. I kept things comfortable, pushed more when going uphill and embraced the descents. 10 miles later and home again, thankfully it didn’t rain until the latter stages but gosh was the wind strong! It was the first time I’ve gone far enough to need an energy gel since last October. I’d forgotten how much I like the taste, how quickly they work and how amaaaaazing they make you feel!

Once home, my Rego powder drunk and my body warmed back up and nourished I felt sleepy but good. I have a few aches which are usually there post run but they weren’t too bad.

I noticed as I was dressing just how much I’ve started to grow hair…it’s very pale blonde but feels utterly different to any that managed to grow (and subsequently fall out) during chemo…

In the evening I had my first bath since March 2018, all due to the early hot start to the year, surgery after my diagnosis then chemotherapy and my PICC line. There’s nothing like a hot, bubble bath to ease the body and I made sure I’d LOTS of bubbles.

Sunday – My plan says recovery day but I’ve a week with my man and the weather ripe for walking tomorrow. So this morning I did a shorter recovery run, exploring and taking in my surroundings. Enjoying the breeze and even the rain. Now sat at the kitchen table the sun is starting to show promise of a bright, dry, exciting day.

I began to realise how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good! Roald Dahl

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