At the beginning of December, after about 7 months of regular walking, I completed my first 5k of continuous jogging, it was slow and it was tough but I did it, I was absolutely delighted, I thought to myself that this might finally be the start of getting back to running regularly. All I could think about was how great it would be to be able to finally start thinking about entering the Dublin Marathon in October 2018.
I couldn’t help think what a story it would be, to beat cancer twice and to make it back to running a marathon, taking in to account everything I had been through, twice, my leg being seriously damaged by the tumor so badly that it prevented me from being allowed to put my foot on the ground for 6 months, the transplant, the fatigue, the mental battle of trying to stay on top of it all, the physical battle of the huge amount of side effects, I certainly planned to give it my best shot, it’s hard to keep a good man down. I built myself back after last year, I will do it again.
Christmas 2016 was definitely the most awful Christmas I’ve ever had, I had just relapsed a few weeks earlier, and I was in hospital without knowing how things would turn out, all I knew is I had relapsed after 9 months which was really not good, and that I needed a bone marrow transplant. On to Christmas 2017, the bone marrow transplant had been a success, I had the all clear, I was so excited about it, simply being at home this year with my family and my friends meant the world to me.
But then it happened, at the start of December it finally happened, I had managed to somehow avoid being admitted to hospital for nearly 9 months, but I woke up one day feeling unwell, I knew I wasn’t well, it felt like a cold or a flu and I felt a temperature coming on. A temperature for a post transplant patient means you have to get to hospital pretty quickly to get seen before it escalates in to a more serious situation. It means you have to get treated, most of the time by IV antibiotics, and that means being admitted, something I was absolutely dreading from the day I was discharged.
It was the 11th of December, I thought to myself it was going to happen at some stage, and better now than in two weeks during Christmas, so I packed my bag and headed to hospital. I ended up being in there a week, I had caught the flu, it really was tough mentally because it brought back all the memories of being in there for treatment from when I was sick, but I did it and got out of there. Home to Wexford, to my family, to crash on the couch and to try and enjoy Christmas.
I made it, I was home for Christmas, finally, although I was out of hospital I was still absolutely exhausted and feeling fairly unwell, so I spent the next few weeks on the couch at home recovering. It was a pain, but I can’t complain too much because at least this year I was cancer free, I was home, home with my family where I deserved to be, unlike Christmas of 2016 when I wasn’t even able to see my nephews or godson due to my non-existent immune system, but I was able to this year, and that made me so happy! Winter for someone without an immune system basically means you have to hibernate, no going out to busy or crowded places, no cinema, no public transport, minimal contact with other people or children, no hugging, no handshaking, the list goes on, it’s a pain but it’s absolutely necessary.
I wasn’t able to run for the most of December too which was a pain, but I knew I would get back to it in January. I had big plans in mind for 2018 and three very important goals to achieve, so the plan was to recover now and get on it in January. Roll on 2018, I couldn’t wait much longer for 2017 to be over, because 2018 was going to be a big year, hopefully!