Badass Jean on Running Through Cancer

I was never much of a runner despite having a career that necessitated it.

In January 2018 I told my Dad I'd run Race for Life for him and he could come and see me cross the finish line.

He said ‘5k? That’s only 3miles, you should be doing 10k!’

Sadly, my Dad never got to see me cross that finish line, or indeed any subsequent finish lines, as he passed away in the April succumbing to lung cancer.

And so began my running journey. One race led to another and not only was I out running for fun, I was also at the gym, at spin classes and back in the swimming pool, my favourite place.

I'd joined the newly formed Badass Mother Runners Club, and began sharing not only my own running adventures but those of others too.

We began to meet up at local Welsh events,  I actually first my Bev at my first and last trail event...I hate trails 🤣

In June 2019 I noticed a pain in my right shoulder. I put this down to overtraining, and eased up but the problem remained. Trips to the GP, X-Rays and hospital visits ensued with various diagnoses, but nothing was solving the issue. More specific tests and scans followed culminating,  just after we celebrated the first birthday of the BAMR's in late October, with the ultimate diagnosis of Breast Cancer.

I was of course shocked, but switched to my ever practical head, I would receive treatment and life would be normal again.

Treatment was followed by surgery, which was followed by chemo and more treatment.

In May 2020 the trainers came back out and the first of several very laboured runs took place. I’ve never been a speedy runner when fully fit, but this was slower than slow! However the more I did, the faster I got and the further I ran.

The next six months were in the midst of the new COVID pandemic, and so 2020 became the year of the virtual event. I went on to take part in numerous 10k's, Half's, Challenges, and more significantly the Race to The Stones 100k, the Wales Coastal Path 870miles and the VVMLM.

And then things went awry again, the scans and tests I'd been having had picked up further shadows in my body.

Further surgeries took place and in November 2020, major surgery, taking me off my feet completely for 3 months when coupled with more treatments for the now secondary cancer.

During this recuperation period, the person who was to become my fundraising partner in crime and already a great friend, Allan, a successful runner and charity fundraiser in his own right with his #teambertie brand, came up with the idea of a running challenge during the winter months to keep people ticking over and to primarily keep me occupied.

And so The Tenovus Ultra Challenge came into being along with the #cwtchjean brand.
Global participation over 3 months of runners within BAMRs and The No Drama Llama Runners along with numerous others, saw the fundraising figure hit thousands of pounds.I even managed to complete my pledged distance via the spin bike, the comeback was happening all over again, and the trainers came back out to hit the roads.
And then in April this year disaster struck as I found myself admitted into hospital for what would be just over 6weeks. My lungs this time were taking the hit and not only that, whilst in hospital I somehow managed to have a stroke which in turn affected the right side of my body 🤦‍♀️
Not to be defeated, seeing as I couldn't do much in hospital, I decided that was no good reason for the members of #teambertie to sit idle and so embarked on arranging the Bertie's Army Half Marathon where funds would go to Allan’s charity of choice.
Upon my subsequent discharge, not being able to walk unaided for any length of time was not an option I was willing to consider on top of everything else, so whilst I left hospital using a frame, the copious physio appointments and extra work paid off, slowly a bit of normality returned and I was back on the spin bike, and then managing to build up the running again.
The health news has continued not to be the best, secondary, stage 4 cancer rarely is!  My running has continued in shorter distances and I've discovered yoga for the first time! More surgery has followed,  just a over a week ago actually. The trusty trainers have already been sneakily out, I managed a headspace 2 miler yesterday, very slowly!
I know that this is how my life will be, medicated in cycles. For me this is totally doable, cancer maybe considered to be a life sentence but I won't allow it to swallow me up and stop me from living my best life.
Next year is my 50th birthday and I fully intend to embrace the fact that I can and will run. I’m filling up my calendar...Hell on The Humber, Cardiff Half and The Great North Run so far and having recently, having been a #teambertie cheerleader at Manchester Marathon with some great friends watching Allan and other friends cross the finish line, jumping on the course to do 4miles of it, I've signed up to do Manchester Marathon in April! 
Finish lines and definitely not finish times for me, I know I'll have the best 26.2 miles ever supported by and running with the people above. It will be zero pressure and all about having fun, which so many runners forget all about.
My goal next year is also to get the Tenovus fundraiser from the £7642 to £10k!
I myself refuse to allow to be defined by an illness, which is why I rarely talk openly about it, there are still plenty of my family and friends who don't know the extent of my illness and that's my choice, something which cancer robs you of, control and choices.
Don't get me wrong, I'm far from a beacon of happiness every day. Some days can be pretty downright miserable, but with the help of some very special friends and my husband, I always get back to the positive frame of mind...It is what it is and if you can dream it, you can believe it, you can achieve it.....🙌
The Badass Buff is never too far away 😉
 
MEET JEAN...
 
I'm a 49yr retired police officer. A married Mum of one Son and now a Nana to a 2yr Granddaughter.
I'm originally from Cardiff but living in West Wales with my Husband and Springer Spaniel, Ole.

2 comments

  • How inspirational… I’m about to start chemotherapy after having my mastectomy and fully intend to get back out there when I recover. Well done to you and your positive vibes x

    Caroline Paul
  • Jean
    You are one amazing lady and it’s been an absolute pleasure raising money for Tenovus and knowing you only through our running groups. One we will meet you and give the biggest hug ever XXXXXX

    Malcolm Rust

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