Running is part of my battle

Richard Clark from Penwortham
Richard Clark from Penwortham
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Dad-of-two Ric Clarke, 33, from Penwortham, told the Evening Post how he discovered he was battling cancer while training for a triathlon. In the fourth of his weekly columns charting his journey, he explains how he has started running again.

The first week after my day of chemotherapy is always the hardest; tiredness, hunger, insomnia, metallic tastes in my mouth; but at the same time as being “under the weather” from the chemo, I keep reminding myself that this is temporary, and all part of making me better.

Last week was the worst week of the treatment so far, but this week has been much easier, so much easier that I have started running again.

At the weekend my friend came to stay and she is running her first marathon in London this weekend, and I am jealous. I love running; it’s the escapism from everyday life, the freedom and the piece of mind that I can go anywhere, anytime.

Running with my friend made me think how and why I miss running, and why it is so important to me. It’s keeping these small pleasures in life that help with dealing with the treatment. During the week I felt weary and unmotivated, after the run, I felt invigorated and full of energy. Not only do I find it a physical boost, but also a real psychological boost too. I felt like I could take on the world and it’s good to have this feeling during probably the most difficult period of my life.

The feelings I have experienced so far have been at different ends of the scale. After the second cycle of chemo, I felt low and I have never felt like that before, I have always been full of energy. But this week has been the exact opposite and I have felt like I couldn’t get enough in my day, although I still need my sleep and have been sleeping more generally since the start of the treatment. I don’t think I was fully prepared for the amount of energy it takes to fight cancer, but now I am fully aware.

The side effects have calmed down, no longer am I red in the face, or have a hoarse voice, and I am sleeping much better. The worse days of the cycle are definitely the first five-seven days immediately after the session. After the first week, it becomes easier to deal with in my experience. My hair loss has also slowed down, however I expect this will start again in the next couple of days, so far I can just about carry it off, but if I lose much more, I may have to shave it all off.

I am currently looking forward to the Rosemere Walk in the Dark on April 26, you can sponsor us by searching “HRServices-Rosemere” on Just Giving. I hope to take part in some other activities to raise money for the foundation; there is a fancy dress netball competition coming up, all the events are listed on the website www.rosemere.org.uk.

I am also planning runs for after my surgery and beyond. I like to plan for the future and why should I stop, or put my life on hold? I can win this battle, I intend to. Not only that but I want to be stronger, fitter and healthier.

If the cancer has done anything for me, it has made me more determined and focused. My running mind has helped me to deal with this, being able to focus on the end goal, rather than just what’s in front of me, but this skill has been sharpened.

It may be that I am fighting a battle, but at the same time, this battle is helping me re-evaluate myself.