How Running Helped Me Deal with My Breast Cancer Diagnosis

I wasn't about to sit around and let cancer break me.

In the midst of recuperating from a bilateral mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, I found myself running a half marathon along the rugged trails of Las Catalinas, Costa Rica, just nine months post-operation. Prior to my breast cancer diagnosis, which surprisingly went unnoticed in routine check-ups and was only identified when I detected a lump on my own, I was an avid runner. I was well aware that resuming this passion was key to navigating the emotional impacts of my condition. Embarking on runs through the picturesque coastal town played a pivotal role in my recovery process. The aftermath of my surgery left me with decreased upper body strength and mobility so I had to depend on my lower body for regaining strength and confidence. Indeed, succumbing to cancer's destruction wasn't an option for me.

In the wake of my breast cancer diagnosis, I found solace and strength in putting one foot in front of the other. Initially, it was just walking when my body allowed, which gradually shifted to brisk walking, jogging, and eventually running. This month-long journey proved to be a turning point where my physical recovery aligned with my emotional and mental healing. Now, 15 months post-diagnosis, running provides a sense of strength and resilience rather than illness. It instills a feeling of power, a conviction that I can conquer this battle. Despite the daunting 13-mile run being the longest I've ever taken on, there wasn't a moment of surrender. My experiences battling cancer have instilled in me a firm belief that I can achieve whatever I put my mind to.

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