Guest blog: Overcoming Obstacles to become the Tri-survivor
Our guest blogger this week is Tribesports user Barbara M, also known as @thetrisurvivor. Her book 'An Unshakeable Belief' has inspired many cancer sufferers, survivors and any reader who is looking for inspiration. She has written us a great article on how she overcame the obstacles life threw at her to become the Tri Survivor.
The obstacles I have overcome in the past few years have been from the small to the huge. Cancer of the bone was the first which was diagnosed at the end of season training for Ironman which I unfortunately never did get to the Start Line. I started a different race with more hurdles than you can imagine. Six cycles of chemo with extra obstacles attached from each cycle; neuatrapenia, dehydration, blood transfusions and Elective admission for resection of osteosarcoma left distal radius and fibula autograft Reconstruction. Donor from left fibula
The worst obstacle I overcame was when they told me to get my affairs in order; my Sister was told I had probably 6 months left to live. Where do you turn to after hearing those words? As with all movies I did a Google search but just didn’t solve or answer any of my questions. It also didn’t feel like I was achieving anything and trying to find an answer to my prayers which I just was not going to find. Getting through this period I had to turn to my friends, and then slowly put some basic strategy in place. I set about changing this outcome. Two months after that announcement I was diagnosed all clear. Life settled for a while then over the next few years I got through one day at a time through the operations listed below:
* Calcneal Osteotomy 2008 & L foot bunion removal
* Gastrocnemius Slide (Strayer Procedure) – lengthening calf muscle 2008
* R.Foot bunion removal 2009 * Hallux Rigidus Surgery R. Toes 2009
* L.Knee totally replaced January 2011
* R.Knee totally replaced April 2011
This year on February 5th 2012 I entered the Contact 3:9:3 Triathlon at Kinloch, New Zealand. This was a 300m swim; 9km cycle and a 3km walk for me as I am unable to run. I should not have entered this as I was not physically up to it. I had a very sore arthritic ankle which is not conducive to a 3k walk. I did finish and raised my arm up in victory – this was “my Ironman” race as I honestly do not think I will get to that Start Line of Ironman.
Having continual pain everyday is normal for me now; I have accepted it and in turn just mentally block it out. My Kidneys got damaged by chemo and so it is not possible to take anti-inflammatory products for Rheumatoid Arthritis I have had since 1997. I refuse meaner drugs with worse side effects that would alleviate the pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have a strong mind and optimistic way of thinking that helps overcome this obstacle. You can get through the toughest days with a strong mind.
I now do rehab training at the gym. This involves strength; balance and cardio which will help me get out of a chair normally. After the operations on my knees and ankles my fitness levels just dropped away. I am now trying to go from nothing to something. Some days I do too much as my mind is stronger than my body and I have to then take a few days off to recover. Finding a happy level of intensity to build my strength back up again is my new challenge. To achieve get out of a chair easily is my goal at the moment and living by this wonderful quote:
“You don't have to be great to start,
but you have to start to be great” ― Zig Ziglar
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