The kindness of a stranger...

Submitted by Admin_Susanna on Wed, 10/01/2024 - 16:09

BALS HEADSHOTPeople don’t realise that the side effects of chemotherapy can last for years, and I still get fatigued. For months I might be fine, then it can just floor me for a whole weekend. It’s like a bombshell.

Sometimes I can sleep for a whole weekend and yet not feel refreshed and awake. I think people presume that once surgery and treatments are finished, you are over it. I don't think you're ever over it.

Prior to my cancer experience, I’d always been a bit of a gym bunny, I really loved exercise. Whilst I was going through treatment there was no chance of me going though, so I suspended my gym membership. The steroids I was taking made me want to eat constantly, however, so I was putting on weight.

During chemotherapy, there was one week every month where I felt relatively ok, and I decided I was going to walk around my local forest. It was December and freezing, but I would stick my hat and boots on and walk for around ten minutes, even if I then came home and slept for ten hours! Gradually I built that up to fifteen, then twenty minutes. I used to feel exhausted afterwards, but it was worth it for the mental relief I felt.

And then one day I walked past a local women’s only gym and struck up a conversation with the owner. After telling her I was going through cancer treatment and just wanted to walk on the treadmill for five minutes, she offered me a free pass.

I used to go around 10am when no-one else was using the gym – I had to be careful due to my compromised immune system. The first time I attempted it my husband had to come and collect me afterwards as I was so exhausted. But eventually it seemed to give me some extra energy and I’m eternally grateful to that kind stranger. I kept trying to pay her, but she refused payment, so I secretly gave a donation to the gym to express my gratitude.


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