Step up for 30: Anna's story
Written by Anna Gilmour
I decided to sign up to Step up For 30 around 2 weeks after having Sid, my tumour, removed. I felt vulnerable at the time. I didn’t know what Sid was, and the time I would find out was looming. I was scared, worried, and overall a bit down. I was also still pretty sore after losing 39 centimetres of stuff; 2/3rds of my colon, my appendix and a little bit of my small intestine.
When I saw the post about #stepupfor30 on Twitter and Facebook, I thought, I can do that! Even if I feel awful I can walk slowly round the block for 30 minutes. It gave me something to think about and aim for, at a time when that was exactly what I needed.
It is so easy to not take care of yourself, to put you and your health last, when life is so busy.
By the first of June, I was healing well (8 weeks post op) and feeling good, mentally and physically. 21 days into #stepupfor30, I felt even better. That was saying something as was into round 3 of chemo, and I was experiencing more side effects as time went on.
However, every day, I had my focus of 30. It was something totally achievable, and because of this, it made me stronger, physically and mentally. I did something good and worthwhile, for Bowel Cancer U.K. and for myself.
The best thing about this though was how much quality time the challenge has given me. Bike rides with Sam, river walks with Oliver, gym sessions with Vicky and family walks with Damian and the kids. The most funny one, doing yoga with Oliver!
Step up for 30 has also helped me realise that I should approach my cancer journey in the same way. It is not one big scary presence in my life that is overwhelming, it is a series of steps that I follow. Breaking it down into manageable tasks. It’s not 6 months of chemo, it’s 8 chunks. It’s not 5 years of worry about whether I will be cancer free and a good statistic, it’s a series of checks to keep me healthy and get me into recovery.
Greg Whyte came into my work to do an inspirational talk recently. He talked about how it isn’t about being sporty, it’s just about moving. Not everyone is sporty but everyone can do excersie. Doing a little bit of something that you enjoy, as often as you can. I think of these words now and know that following this advice, will make me feel better, even on days that are tough.
The best thing about this though was how much quality time the challenge has given me.
It is so easy to not take care of yourself, to put you and your health last, when life is so busy. But small steps really do produce big gains. I am so glad this challenge came along when it did and taught me this.
Thank you to everyone who supported me in this challenge. It has been a really positive experience, made all the more motivating by your generous sponsorship. Make sure you take time for exercise, it makes you feel good and lets you spend time with people you love.