My Dad

Back in October I sustained a partial tear to my gastrocnemius (calf muscle) resulting in a whole heap of pain, a few weeks on crutches and news that it could be up to 12 weeks before I was able to run again.

I know that my injury was caused by new runner enthusiasm, where a new runner gets somewhat carried away and simply wants to run more often, run further and run faster.  Where they see improvements week on week and want to build on these.  Where they want to be the best that they can be at running.  I know that this was a contributing factor to my injury.  But there was a second reason, and this is the reason why I took part in races every weekend in September, and that was that my dad was on end of life care.

Running became a coping mechanism, and pushing myself to breaking point enabled me to deal with what was going to happen.

My relationship with dad had been broken for a long time, but in recent years we had started to rebuild this.  He was diagnosed with myeloma in the summer of 2014, just months before my own cancer diagnosis.  For all my dad’s faults, which as a young adult I couldn’t see past, he possessed an equal amount of strengths and since his diagnosis his determination to simply get on with things stands as an inspiration.

Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells in the blood, these abnormal cells build up in the bone marrow and in my dad’s case resulted in his whole spine crumbling.  In hospital his spine was rebuilt with plates, rods and pins and he was told that he had myeloma, and that it was incurable.  My dad’s focus was on getting back home as soon as possible and to do this he had to become mobile.

How many people would have been defeated by the prospect of learning to walk again?  Or by the news that they had incurable cancer?

My dad astounded doctors with his determination to get up out of bed, to learn to walk with a frame and to be well enough to get back home.  Once home he had another ambition which was to dance with his wife at a family wedding at the end of October, which I’m pleased to say he managed.

Then just one week after the wedding I discovered my own cancer, and I realised just how much like my dad I was.  Not because of having a common bond of cancer diagnoses but because, like dad, I was a fighter, determined that I was going to carry on with life in every way that I could.

Neither of us would be defeated by a diagnosis.

We lost dad at the end of September and in tribute I will be fundraising for Myeloma UK as I train for and complete the Chester triple; the 10k in March, half marathon (21.1 km) in May and the metric marathon (26.2 km) in October.  This will be a huge challenge given I’m still recovering from injury but with a level of determination matched only by dad’s I know I can do this.

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Hi, I'm Karen, creator of which is home to my poetry, art and general ramblings. I am the author two collections of poetry, 'Kaleidoscopic Beauty' & 'I am the Stars in the Sky', and the children's book 'All That Glitters' (not yet published). I also enjoy running.

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