How walking saved my soul during cancer treatment?


When I was first diagnosed with cancer on 20 April 2016, I received a lot of information from a variety of people. This included information on cannabis oil, juicing all types of green veg and fruit, sugar – don’t eat it, the alkaline diet, turmeric, green tea and dark chocolate. The list seemed endless and I was very overwhelmed with this information overload. My chemo treatment had started and my brain had become very slow, foggy and confused. I didn’t know where to start or what to do. I just wanted to try everything and anything to make the cancer go away.

The most valuable piece of information came from Lisa Tarquini. We have a mutual friend called Kate Jones or Kit Kat Kate as I like to call her. Lisa and I had never even met but I had heard lots about Lisa and her cancer journey. Lisa kindly messaged me and said walk, walk a little every day even if it means around the garden or to the end of the drive way. At the time, Lisa didn’t know that actually before chemo I couldn’t walk to the bathroom because my lung was collapsed, filling up with fluid, covered with lymphoma and I was battling pneumonia.

Looking back at my recovery I tried many things but walking was my saviour. If you have ever had chemo treatment you will realise that some days you are unable to move out of bed. This was a challenge for me mentally and physically. My mind wanted to run a marathon but my body was not even able to move my head off the pillow. I knew with my Degree in Physical Education and Research in Health that if I did not move my body, my muscles would deteriorate and my circulation would diminish. Plus I knew my mind would go crazy if I stayed in bed. I needed to stimulate my mind and breathe. So I walked.

It started around the garden, then the field, then around National Trust parks. Walking gave me a boost mentally that I had achieved something in my day. If friends came to visit, I would say please can you come for a walk with me instead of staying in and having a cup of herbal tea. Somedays I would roll out of bed, put clothes on over my pjs, walk and then go straight back to bed.

The challenge came when I entered the 5k Pretty Muddy with 64 of my friends on 18 September, at Bath Racecourse. This was at the end of my treatment. I had a focus and goal. We ended up raising £19,000 for Cancer Research UK and Lymphoma Association. I am so grateful to everyone involved. Walking is still part of my daily life as it is the only exercise I can do at this point in my recovery, in addition to daily yoga.

Did it save me? Yes, it saved my soul. It allowed me to breathe and escape cancer. For just a moment, walking took it away. I felt like I was helping my body and mind.

I am enlightened by this experience because I am alive and able to move every day. I am grateful for all the new people in my life and support from Lisa Tarquini.