Juliet's Journey: Worst Sometimes Leads To Best
12 February 2013 is a day I will never forget. I received the worst news of my life in the form of a breast cancer diagnosis but I also began a journey towards discovering a side of myself I never knew existed.
Nothing could have prepared me for that moment and I literally felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I gave myself two incredible gifts in those first few chaotic days. The first gift was the permission to fall apart. As a woman, wife, mother, daughter, friend, I often tend to put my needs and emotions on the backburner but it occurred to me how absurd it seemed to be strong at a time such as this. And so it was that I literally came apart at the emotional seams!
The second gift, however, was the determination to FIGHT. I had just become another cancer statistic but there was no way I was going to go down without a fight. I was determined to be positive and to tackle this challenge with faith, hope & courage!
3 operations, 8 weeks of daily radiation therapy plus ongoing oncology medication followed and eventually I found myself on the road to recovery, albeit in a blur of severe fatigue and being overwhelmed by all things “cancer”.
I found myself yearning to regain my strength as well as some measure of control over my body. And so began my greatest journey of personal triumph.
I believe that everyone, at least once in their life, needs to have an “ABHAG” - A Big Hairy Audacious Goal, one that is so much bigger than you, one that pushes you beyond all boundaries, one that seems so impossible that when you achieve it, there will be no other feeling quite like it!
And thus my dream to train for, compete in and conquer Cape Town Cycle Tour 2014 and Old Mutual Two Oceans Half-Marathon 2016 was born.
I have never ever been anywhere near athletic, I have never been a runner and the last time I had been on a bicycle was about 20 years ago! So this was HUGE.
On 9 March 2014, at the age of 46 and exactly a year after being diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, I completed the 109 km Cycle Tour in a time of 6:34:32.
When I crossed the finish line in a flood of emotion and tears of gratitude, I knew with absolute certainty that cancer can take away many things but it cannot take away your soul, your passion, your choice to have a kickass attitude, your determination, your ability to achieve despite the odds.
On 26 March 2016, at the age of 48 and celebrating 3 years in remission, I will line up with 16 000 runners in Newlands to take part in the world’s most beautiful half marathon. I will begin an epic run through our beautiful suburbs towards UCT and I will cross that finish line to claim another triumph over breast cancer for myself and every breast cancer warrior everywhere.
Boobs, Bicycles & Running Shoes
My journey from breast cancer to Cycle Tour 2014 and OMTOM 2016 – this is the platform I use to help other women persevere, fight, overcome and heal.
I walk with them, knowing the pain but also knowing the incredible possibility to triumph.
We are blessed to bless others, we receive so that we may share and it is for this reason that I have turned my pain into purpose & my tears into triumph.