…How one woman ran circles around Breast Cancer
Running is very important to me. It is my me time. It part of my identity – I am a runner. For me running ignites my confidence and encourages me to stretch my comfort zone. Imagine if running became your lifeline. The anchor that prevents you from breaking down and losing hope.
For Jenny Baker running was a way to keep fit and a source of friendship. Her running had reached a peak and had been going really well. So well in fact that she had planned a year of running events to celebrate a significant birthday. Suddenly her life was turned upside down with the bombshell of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Run for Your Life is the story of a woman’s journey through breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery but it is also a story of a love affair with running.
Running is the constant throughout Jenny’s treatment. It is something that is hers, that she has an element of control over when everything else seems beyond her control.
Running provides comfort when she is feeling isolated as her world falls apart when everyone else is carrying on the same. “My world was dramatically changing while everyone else was carrying on as normal. I felt like and exhibit, with people watching me to see how I was coping. I felt fragile, diminished, and isolated. My very identity was being challenged; if I was not the fit, busy, efficient one, then who was I?”
Run for your life discusses the cruel disconnect of feeling at the peak of your fitness and health and then discovering that you have a serious and life threatening disease. Jenny felt betrayed by the body she had grown to love and that had achieved so much over the years from distance running to pregnancy and childbirth.
Jenny’s first question of her Oncologist was “Will I still I be able to run”? After feeling like she was losing so much of her life already she couldn’t stand the thought of losing running too. Thankfully her Oncologist was also a marathon runner, he understood her need to run and confirmed she would be able to continue through treatment if she was sensible.
Jenny’s distance running background gave her good grounding for beginning to tackle her breast cancer. The 18-week plan for her chemotherapy seemed strangely familiar, very like a marathon training plan. This was something she knew. Follow the plan, break it down and just focus on the next step in front of you.
Run for your life is an emotional and inspiring read. You will wonder at Jenny’s strength and be moved by how deeply she is cared for by her friends and family, especially when they join her on her “Chemo runs”. Most of all through this book will leave you with a sense of hope.
Jenny uses a quote in the book that speaks to her from Lemn Sissay – poet, writer and playwright “I am not defined by my scars, but by the incredible ability to heal. You have to live in the present, not the past or in the future”. This book is definitely testament to her ability to do this.
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