Blog post by Allyson

"Me, walk every day? Not a chance!"

I never would have believed that I would be walking every day and looking forward to it, but after a diagnosis of ovarian cancer, everything about you changes.

Just after I was diagnosed, I spent a total 20 days in hospital which left me feeling really weak.  I could hardly walk more than a few steps and all I wanted was to get out into the fresh air and just walk.  I started slowly and didn’t walk far but it felt great and very slowly I increased this day by day.  After a couple of weeks, I noticed I was getting stronger, physically and mentally as I was coming to terms with those three little words "You’ve got cancer’"

Having chemotherapy does make you tired and it’s a strange tired, for me it was like my body was slowly being encased in metal and there was nothing I could do about it but sleep and the sleep helped, but I found I was stronger in the morning.  Remembering the words of Lizzie (Ovacome fitness) who helped me ‘prepare my body for the surgery', “ it’s better to walk a short distance and do it again, then do too much and tire yourself out completely” and that’s how it all started.  Quarter of a mile, half a mile, then increasing it to twice a day, then three times a day.  I found a great 2-mile circular walk and set myself a goal to walk 60 miles in the month prior to the big debulking surgery in September and I did it.  Having set myself a goal kept me going.  I started slowly but getting out in the fresh air really helped me and I continued after the surgery to help with my recovery.

In December 2020, I started to feel so much stronger and saw the challenge of walking 1000 miles in 2021, which meant I needed to walk 2.7 miles every day, could I do this? what would I need to do?   It started with making a 9am appointment with myself in the diary every day and at 9am every day my phone would ping ‘get out and walk’ and walk I did, every day, whatever the weather and it felt great.   Walking has been good for my body, mind and soul, helping me to appreciate the so many good things in my life.  After a few weeks I realised I wasn’t thinking about Cancer every minute of every day. I was more than Cancer, it did not define me, but it had changed me.

After a few weeks recording the mileage in my Strava app as well as physically writing it down, became quite addictive, the more I walked, the more I wanted to walk as I really enjoyed it. Could I do this?.  I found I could now do the 2.7 miles easily and then discovered a great 4 mile circular walk.  I realised that I was walking just over 26 miles in a week and then posed the question to myself, could I do a marathon in a week and the answer was ‘Yes I can’.  Could I do this every week, who knows?, but I am walking every day and it feels so good

Sometimes I listened to music and other times I sang out loud, sometimes I laughed, other times i cried, but it all helped.  I was learning to manage my fears of those three little words.  I told myself I could overcome the fear of the diagnosis and slowly I did.  I still have my wobbles, but I am learning to live with this chronic disease and now I can go days without thinking about ‘the Cancer’ but think about the many things it has given me.  I have met the lovely ladies from Ovacome and made some amazing new friends who also have this disease, people who have helped me manage in the last few months. 

I am now enjoying my life every day and have so many wonderful people in my life. I am grateful for that.  I am working hard to be the best I can be, so my mind and body is fit to work with the challenge of this new chapter in my life, but there are more chapters to come! 

It would be great if you could join me in March, walking whatever you can, it doesn’t have to be big mileage, just getting out for short periods really helped me, join me if you can.

Find out more about the Walk With Me club and join here.