Chemo, 2015 Lakeland 100 and starting running again

The chemo was a canula and drip for about 5 hours of one drug, then two weeks of tablets of another drug, followed by a week off before starting again.  The nurses tell you of all the side effects and horror stories form the drugs you’re going to have, but to be honest I was very lucky and didn’t suffer many at all.  

The first time was one of the worst, the drip drug’s main side effect is to affect the nerve endings, so at the point the canula is in hurts quite a bit, especially when the nurses take it off again and pull the sticky protection off your skin.  Then as your arm goes inside the sleeve of a jacket it really hurts!  Its weird because you know it doesn’t actually hurt you or do any damage but that’s the extent it affects them.  Any cold hurts too - you can’t have anything straight out of the fridge, I brushed my teeth with water from the hot tap, and any wind/rain on your face really hurts and would kind of paralyse my cheeks and eyes!  Any time you even brushed the canula arm (even two weeks later!) it would really hurt, but this was really the only side effect I had so I was lucky!

I was driving again by the time I started the treatment and would go down to Cornwall about 3-4 days after the drip.  It was good to be independant again and back home.  I obviously still couldn’t work at all due to high risk of infection and generally not being able to.  But I could do things at home, see friends and generally take it easy to recover.  

My hair didn’t fall out from the chemo as the type of drugs don’t usually have that affect. Instead my hair was really thin and falling out quite a bit from the body being so weak from going so low in intensive care.  This got quite bad for a few months and it wasn’t until October really that it started to get thicker again.  Although when it was thin it did what it was told and so was easier for me to ‘style’ ha!

The routine of coming back to Sussex on a Sunday, seeing the Oncologist on Monday, having the drip and starting the tablets on Thursday and leaving for Cornwall again between Friday and Monday went on for about 6 months.  I’d have to take it easy for at least the first week in the cycle and not feel too great.

At the end of July it was our favourite race of the year - the Lakeland 100.  Nicky had decided she wasn’t going to run it as she hadn’t been running, didn’t feel she had as much mental capacity for it due to the stresses of the last few months and didn’t have much motivation as a result either.  I tried not to say too much as it had to be her decision to do it or not and I understood her reasons, but really I was thinking ‘what?! I physically CAN’T - along I’m sure with lots of others who might like to - you actually CAN do it and you just don’t want to?!?!’ But I totally understood how she felt and after the time we’d had it wasn’t the sort of thing she or anyone had been really thinking about or preparing for!

By early July I was starting to get better and was more normal again.  This gave Nicky the chance to relax and took some worry away from her, allowing her to have more head space to think about it.  I think it was about a week before that she decided that she would do it and just see what happened, because she was hardly fit or conditioned for it!

It was so nice to be back up there again, normally we go to the Lakes once or twice during the year apart from the race and run the route and see friends in Ambleside but hadn’t been up for a while.  Being there again was the best tonic for me, and I had my first little run again whilst up there, along the 100 / 50 route from above Pooley Bridge to Howtown.  SO nice to be out and having a run again - this is it;

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Nicky had a really hard time running as she hadn’t been running much, but she joined up with one of our friends, Izzy and then a guy, Simon joined up with them and they ran together for about 50 miles.  This really helped Nicky to keep going and made it more fun for them all. Simon went on ahead at some point but Nicky and Izzy stayed together to the finish for joint 3rd female finishers!  Nicky was in a fairly bad way by the end with her legs being really really bad through not being at all used to running, so to do a hundred miles was pretty amazing! (Simon has become a good friend of us both now, and is one of the Freedom Racing Athletes!)

I went to Dalemain which is the half way point for the hundred miles and saw them there so was able to help with things in the checkpoint and I also saw other friends go through, one to go on to actually win the race and lots of others from Cornwall or that I knew from previous Lakeland years so it was really good to be up there and part of it still.

This was the start of me getting a little bit fitter and stronger as I started do short runs again back in Cornwall.