Name: Susan Maxwell
Hometown: Dumfries, Scotland
“Last April, I found out I had breast cancer. All from a couple of drops of blood near the nipple area on my pyjama top one night. I went to my doctor straight away. I was diagnosed a week later, which was a huge shock as I was fitter than I’d ever been and had recently lost 1.5st. Due to the type of cancer, I decided straight away I wanted a mastectomy and reconstruction.
“Before my operation and after my diagnosis I continued running. I did an 11K race, Kirkcudbright Beeches Run, and continued training for my aim of my first half marathon, which would be around the expected date of the op. I went back to work six weeks after my diagnosis and worked up to my operation. There was no point sitting around at home. I knew what was going to happen so I went back to as normal a life as I could.
“My operation was the week before my planned half marathon at the end of August last year, so that was out as I had an eight-hour operation and now had a new breast, plus a cut from hip to hip for the reconstruction site.
“I went back to work in January. All through it my bosses were very supportive. I got back into running then as well.
“I plan to do a marathon next year to prove that I can to myself after everything that’s happened. I’d like to be part of the team as I’d like assistance with planning my training, I’d like to lose the remaining stone after my operation, and I need advice on what to do after my runs as well. Probably a 30-minute drive home, followed by a quick shower and then into the pub to celebrate, might not be recommended!
“[Upon returning to work in January] I did a very slow, awful feeling, five-mile race, the 11K again on one of the hottest days of the year, and I planned to do the Great Cumbrian Run Half Marathon, a year after I’d initially set my sights on it.
“I got my place and, after a bit of indecision, decided to see if I could raise a bit of money for Macmillan. I had a few issues with footwear, which knocked my planned training a bit but, once I got sorted, I trained as usual by myself using mapmyrun to plan longer routes. Marathon day arrived and I’d only done eight miles as my longest distance but I did it in 2hrs 39mins, wearing a Macmillan t-shirt with ‘survivor’ and a smiley face I’d drawn on the back. And I thoroughly enjoyed the longer distance. I’ve raised £640 so far for charity from friends and colleagues.
“I’m not a member of a running club [and I’m not planning to join one] although I’ve made some good friends from meeting them at races.”
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