June 12, 2017
Sharon Bowie shares her story of how she is lucky enough to be able to take part in a Mixed Team Relay at Cholmondeley Castle Triathlon and the benefits of triathlon to her recovery from breast cancer.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer April 2016 after finding a small, hard lump on my right breast. I was fast tracked at hospital, and shortly after was diagnosed with a 8mm mucinous carcinoma. I was 44 and was not expecting the lump to be anything major. I was fit and healthy, vegetarian, non-smoker, moderate drinker had breast fed my two children plus we don’t have a family history of breast cancer.
Luckily, due to the fact that I was physically active before treatment I was able to remain well throughout surgery, chemo and radiotherapy. I had days that were tough but overall the experience was very do-able. Not one that I would have chosen…but one that I have gone through and survived!
I had excellent care and treatment from our local hospital (Blackpool Victoria Hospital) including extensive use of the Breast Care Unit, Oncology Unit and Macmillan Windmill Unit. The skill, information and pep talks from the professionals who have been working with me have been first class. I spent just over a year having treatment, including the cycles of Herceptin which are due to end later this month. I have just returned to work as a nursery teacher and I love being back in the real world.
During the treatment I had days when I did feel like I was missing out including events that I had entered prior to diagnosis including ‘Race for Life’ and ‘The Great North Swim’. When I saw the advert on our Blackpool Aquatics Triathlon Squad (BATS) web page advertising Cholmondeley Castle Adult Mixed Relay Triathlon I thought it would be an ideal distance for getting me back into the world of triathlons. I am a novice triathlete and take part for fun…I am never going to be an amazing athlete but I do enjoy taking part. After completing chemo I asked my breast nurse what would be the best ways of keeping away cancer in the future. She advised me that exercising and keeping fit were by far the biggest factors to remaining cancer free.
Our team comprises of myself, my husband Ross, my friend Sarah (a nurse who responded to several of my SOS calls during the last year) and her husband Martyn (who trained with my husband for the Ironman which they completed in 2016). I’m lucky to have so many friends and family supporting me through my experience. I have entered a few other events and have different friends backing me. I am lucky that I really haven’t faced cancer alone…I hope Macmillan have a successful event ensuring that nobody has to face cancer alone!”