these nikes were made for… walking?

For the past three years I lived in London without a car. If I needed to get somewhere, I had a few options: catch the bus, jump on a tube, grab a Boris bike or walk. That’s just how it is. In Australia it’s a different story – cars are the norm (cycle friends don’t be offended, this too is a growing trend that is great to see). Since arriving back, I have either driven, or been driven to my destination. I have been very lucky that the parents have handed over the keys without hesitation or been gracious chauffeurs.

The other day I had another ‘light bulb moment’…

I had to head into town to run some errands. Instead of stealing mothers car, I decided to throw on my gym gear and sexy pink fluro nikes with the intention of walking around town and then home.

What did I discover? Walking around Ipswich and home is no different to walking around London and home (except for the scenery). My legs still worked the same, the more I moved forward the closer I got to my next pit stop…and I really enjoyed it.

Another positive to setting out on foot is it’s the only thing I have been given approval to do from my Physiotherapist. I am not sure it’s exactly what he had in mind when he said I should include ‘some’ walking.

So if you see me around town, don’t let my fluro pink nikes stop you saying hi…

No rest for these pink shoes!

No rest for these pink shoes!

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It’s not a holiday

holiday

This is the first time in over eleven years I am faced with an extended period of time not working, yet it’s not a holiday. It’s not how I would normally be spending time not working: no ducking to the Caribbean to go sailing, no walking the streets of the Meat Packing District in NYC, with sky scrapper heels and no travel insurance (Eli Elston), no eating and drinking myself silly around Europe, no harassing locals in Israel…you get the picture.

So what should I be doing (apart from the obvious of beating breast cancer)? Prior to my diagnosis I was working full-time and training six days a week. What do you do when all of a sudden you have to stop both things?

I’m not going to lie, I’ve always been extremely gifted at the ‘lady of leisure’ lifestyle: coffee dates, lazy mornings at home, watching a whole series of a TV show in one day…just to name a few. Yes, I could easy adapt this lifestyle for the next 6-9 months, but I was itching for something more.

So here is my ‘lightbulb moment’…

On the day before surgery, I put on my joggers to head out for one last run. As I was getting ready I started thinking about my training back in London, more specifically running – even more specifically – parkrun. For those who have never heard of parkrun, it’s a free 5 km timed event held every Saturday. I remembered seeing a link on the website to start your own parkrun. In true Rochelle style, without hesitation, I clicked the link and registered.

Within a few days a parkrun representative had made contact and given myself a brief overview of what was required:

  • Find a park
  • Apply to council for approval and funding
  • Boom….a new local parkrun is born

(ok, there may have been a few more steps involved)

It’s been very refreshing to have something to focus apart from treatment. As of this morning, Ipswich QLD parkrun has it’s own official facebook page! It’s still a work in progress – we still need approval and funding but I am confident we’ll get there.

It has crossed my mind that the proposed start date is near the end of my chemo treatment. I have faith that there will be many helpful souls out there to lend a hand during the tough weeks, and even more faith that I will be able to muster up the strength to get through every Saturday.

“Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”

Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I’m Running 

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What To Expect When You’re Expecting VS What To Expect When You’re NOT Expecting

The first is a movie starring Cameron Diaz, the second is my journey through IVF.

IVF continues to be a very hush hush topic – I understand and respect the reasons for this. As my IVF journey is only for preventative purposes, I feel more relaxed to share and shed some light on the topic.

Firstly, I want to take my invisible hat off to every woman who has gone through IVF, to start, or grow their family. It takes a multitude of patience, courage, emotional strength and much more. I’m fortunate that I am only going through this process as a preventative method – I can’t begin to imagine all the other emotions they are faced with when so much more is on the line.

When people think about treatment for breast cancer, I guarantee the process of freezing eggs wouldn’t cross their mind – myself included. One of the nastiest side effects of chemo is the fact that it can bring on early menopause, and stop females fertility. So, at thirty-two, childless and a mum-to-be at heart, IVF treatment is another key role in the treatment plan for BC.

So what’s involved in producing a good egg harvest/egg collection (yes, that is actual terminology!)? The process can vary slightly for each person, so I can only speak about my own experience.

Here is a mini science lesson for you:

1 – Sniff: Morning and night I inhale a sniffer. The purpose of the sniffer is to suppress natural ovulation.

2 – Jab: For ten days I will inject myself with FSH (follicle stimulating hormones), this ensures they have control over how many eggs I will produce. We want a good harvest, I only have one chance before chemo starts.

3 – Swollow: Due to the fact that I will be injecting myself with hormones, and my cancer is hormone receptive, I have to take a tablet to counterbalance this.

Is your head spinning yet? Mine does everyday when I look at my calendar reminding myself what I need to do. I haven’t started the injections, and to be honest, I am not looking forward to it. The side effects from the sniffer have been bad enough: constant headaches, nausea and tiredness (good prep for chemo I guess…).

So if you see me in the next few weeks and I’m a little crazy – blame the hormones.

After all of this, I hope that given my Finnish blood, my eggs will be happy in their new frozen environment.

my life in recliner chairs

As I commence treatment for breast cancer, I’ve realised  my life has suddenly become consumed by waiting rooms and recliner chairs – and it’s not such a bad thing. In the past few weeks I’ve become very comfortable in recliner chairs: at home, at the hospital, and at the dentist (yes, nothing like getting a new filling 2 days after major surgery).

So how did I get to the point of spending my days in recliner chairs?

Let’s rewind to August 4th…

After having a lump re-checked by a GP (yes, over a year ago I was sent home and told it was probably nothing as the GP couldn’t feel it), I was finally referred to a specialist centre. So there I was, at the McMillan Cancer Centre, London. After two hours of consultations and testing, I was told the lump wasn’t just a nasty cyst as first thought, it was cancerous. I wasn’t prepared for this: I was about to turn thirty-two, about to start my dream job working on private jets, and the fittest I’ve ever been.

Things happened fast from here: I had more testing, stopped working and was lucky to have an amazing friend and my family come to London to keep me busy. I continued training and continued reassuring my friends, “I was OK!”

Fast forward to today, September 8th…

Within the month: I was diagnosed, packed up my life in London, moved home to my parents’ house (and town I left thirteen years ago), and have had TWO operations. My head spins when I think about how quickly things changed. So what now? I wait again for more results and my start date for chemo.

It always sounds so shocking to say the words, “I have Breast Cancer.” It doesn’t have to be a secret, it’s my life. I’m not disillusioned that it will be an easy journey – I refuse to pre-empt how I may feel, or what I will or won’t be able to do. For now, I am OK. I am happy, positive and enjoying the tasty homemade wontons mother has made for dinner. Life is still good.

Back to the recliner chair…