Triathlon Madness

Some of you may have seen on facebook or instragram that I completed a triathlon.
I may not seem like a big deal to you, and you might even question why I have posted so much about it in social media. But to me it is a huge deal.
I cannot believe my body got through what it did and performed so well considering where I was just a short year ago.
I finished chemotherapy in January 2014 and as soon as my hickman line (the IV line administering chemotherapy into my veins) was out I began walking. I missed exercise SO MUCH during my treatment. I was so jealous of everyone else when they would post about a run they did or when they told me about what exercise they had done that day. For some reason is actually really hurt, and felt like they were rubbing it in. I know they weren't, but that is just what I was feeling at the time.
Throughout treatment, I wasn't allowed to exercise at all, for my health but also safety with the line sitting in my groin. I would get short of breath walking to our letterbox, I would have to have a half time breather doing the dishes. I was incredibly unfit.
Obviously, the chemotherapy weakens you, but at the same time, you ask anyone who has not exercised for 6-8 months, they would tell you that they became extremely unfit.
That was me.
So I slowly began walking.
I remember it was only about 2 or 3 weeks after my treatment finished, Brett went for a fish and while he did that, I walked about 2km in one direction. I had planned to walk back, but I was so tired and puffed (plus it was a 37 degree day) I sat on a bench calling him to come round and pick me up. Unfortunately that day, his phone was in his backpack and on silent, so he didn't hear my 5 missed calls. I got my breath back and walked back towards him. Halfway there he had checked his phone and called me back. He felt terrible but it was ok, I was slowly making it back, so he met me half way. I felt really unwell and thought to myself, "am I ever going to be ok with exercise again?"

Well a few months later, I think about April, I was cleared by my haematologist to do full exercise. My collateral veins were working well (still having a superior vena cava obstruction - these collaterals are keeping my blood flowing, and me alive) and my venous return was still slow, but I was given the green light to give things a crack.
Since then, I started running around the block. So short, it would take me only 5 minutes. I began extending that and feeling better and better every time. I also played social sports like netball, playing only a 1/4 or a 1/2. I also played basketball and subbed off whenever I felt the need.
It took a while, but fitness started to return.

It wasn't until this year, 2015 and the end of January when a group of girls formulated the idea of competeing in a triathlon.
I remember sitting around the table, being urged to give it a go. When I reluctantly agreed, I felt so sick and nervous. WHAT HAD I JUST COMITTED TO??
I started to train. I didn't train as much as I had planned and ended up signing up for the shorter triathlon course. Which in the end I was happy about because it is smarter to start small, instead of going too big too soon and killing myself.
Training was good. I would swim 500m-1km when I went to the pool, 10-20km when I rode my bike and comfortably ran 3km around my area, to make sure the distances for the triathlon were achieveable.

The day arrived.
I was officially nervous. The triathlon consisted of a 300m ocean swim, 7km road ride and a 3km run.
We woke early, 5am. Left by 5.30am and were driving up to Hillary's.
When we arrived by 6am I had to set up my bike and other gear in the transition area. This was where a group of us were approached by Renee Baker (ummm professional triathlete??) for an interview. I get dobbed in that it is my first triathlon and then that I have also survived cancer! AGHH
By the time it was all set up, I headed to the beach to wait for my group wave to leave.

Standing on that beach was the most scary thing ever. I knew there was no pressure for me to perform an amazing time, but I simply had the fear of the unknown. Not really entirely confident about the transitions and where to go, all the ins and outs, but I just took lots of deep breaths and planned to do my nervous wee during my swim.

Our numbers were called and then the race began in 30 seconds. Deeeeeeeep breaths!
15 seconds.....
Oh man.
The siren sounds and we all run into the water.
The swell was huge that day and it was choppy. They had even reduced the distance of the swim for the long course, it was that bad.

The swim was good. I surived the constant kicks from other competitors and cut through gaps at every opportunity. The sounds of other swimmers potentially drowning didn't stop me. The swim towards the shore at the end was the most difficult as the sun shone in our face obstructing the shoreline and direction for us to swim. After a crooked return, I touched the ground. Got out of the water, wiped the snot from my nose and ran up the sand, ripping off my swimming cap and goggles.

Am I going to vomit? Nup...I'm ok.
Wait, a little bit of wee came out. Ah well, I'm wet....didn't relax enough in the ocean to do my nervous wee. Must hold it in until the end now.

My transition to the bike wasn't the smoothest. I was still wet, trying to put on my singlet and shorts. Not to mention my socks and shoes.
All is well and I put on my helmet to then be able to remove my bike from the rack and run it down to the bike course.

Bike course was windy. It was a bit hilly too, but equally enjoyable on the way back and down those same hills.

The run was by far the hardest. All your spectators and supporters aren't around to cheer you on. They have done a stellar job so far, but they can't come on the run leg. It was hot and bare and bushy on either side. As I ran on the way out I just thought about how jealous I was of the runners that were on their way back. Where the heck is the turn around point?? Some nice young teens were at the turn around point telling everyone to "keep going" and "push it". Yep, alright guys, thanks.
My aim during the run was to not stop. And I didn't. I wanted to...but didn't. I just kept thinking about the finishing line and that it was almost over!
I finally got to the last water station and instructed the guy holding the water cup to just throw it on me. He did so and it was glorious.

I increased my pace having the finish line in sight.
I ran down the finishing chute, high fived a few people, friends all around, cheering me on.
It was a moment that I will cherish.
As you cross the finish, they take your attarctive, sweat-filled picture, put the medallion around your neck and take off your time piece from your ankle.

 I was so tried but so proud. It was a great feeling to have achieved the triathlon in 50 minutes and 13 seconds. I placed 181 out of 420. I couldn't be happier.

I want to thank all the people who encouraged me on the day and also leading up to it. And also a huge congratulations to all my lovely friends who did the triathlon as well. In a team or individually, you're all awesome.
I really enjoyed my day!
This just proves that you can come a long way and still achieve what you want, especially after such a big setback in life.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures and the step by step account of what it feels like to be in a triathlon.

P.S. Thanks to Nicole for this really cool perosnalised singlet! #Kendykickedcancer

Love Kendy

Progress in Pictures

This is a little update blog of my progress in pictures. From the day I finished chemotherapy, to today! You can see hair growth, my puffiness come down and maybe even a smile or two along the way. 
11th January 2014 (The day after my final chemo)

No make up, but eyebrows returning!

There's a bit of a big jump in time here, I got pretty slack!
I also had 2 hair cuts in preparation for my sisters wedding, hence having some "style" from now on.

TODAY! 12th February 2015

Chatting with a Cancer Survivor

Sometimes my blog can turn into a bit of a rant, or simply things that I would hope are informative for others to hear, but mostly it is just me and my thoughts about stuff.

I have also been thinking, maybe I've run out of cancer related topics, maybe I should change what I write about. Maybe no one cares regardless? Maybe my 9 page views yesterday was actually just one person, clicking on what they thought would be interesting and then wasn't, so they tried to leave, but there was a glitch in the system and it took them back to my boring blog 9 times.

So I've been sitting on this topic for a while.

What a person that has had cancer doesn't want to hear, experience or talk about:

1. They don't want people to assume they're ok. In saying that, I mean, don't say passing comments like "oh surely cancer isn't an excuse for you anymore?!" "Stop talking about your cancer, you had it a year ago."
Don't assume the person who has had cancer is over what they have been through. They're still going through it! It will be with them for a very long time, if not, for life.
We'd like some gentle acknowledgement that maybe it's quite hard to get back to a normal life and we may not feel like doing all the things we used to like doing when we were healthy. Wait, we're healthy now, but cut me some slack please!

2. Their appearance. I've said it before. Specifically now that they may look more healthy and human, there is that terrible comment about your weight, like "you've put on weight, but that's just the drugs right? You'll lose it all soon". Ahh no. It's never ok. Even the opposite, when looking back at old photos, "wow! Look how skinny you used to be." Used to be..? *sigh*

3. Assumptions that having cancer is only losing hair. Try that, plus every single other emotion and physical pain you can think of! From the outside, yes, you don't see all the things a person with cancer goes through. You just see the physical loss of hair. It isn't that simple. So tying in with point number 1, just because our hair is back, we are back to normal and ok with life. Nope.

4. Cancer. We've talked about it enough. We've lived with it and we continue to. But we also live a life of other stuff! Talk to me about my future dreams and aspirations. For a while there, I thought I wouldn't live. So the fact I am living now gets me excited about life!

5. How OCD we are. When I have a concern with my health, please don't tell me how crazy I am. I remember the time I was right that something was wrong in my body.

6. Your research on my particular cancer and all the people that didn't survive. Then ask my about my prognosis. *cringe*

I didn't count how many times, but I have often left places in tears. Or at least waited to be in the car and let it all out. Awareness and sensitivity. When is it ok to tell someone that what they have just said hurt incredibly?

Please read this in a constructive way. Don't take it personally. If you've said something along these lines to me, it's ok. So has everybody else. And that's when it gets draining. Or hurtful. Take it on board and maybe use it for our next conversation or your conversation with someone else who has been through a traumatic event. Don't pretend it didn't happen at all but also don't be too over the top in talking about it all the time.
Find the happy medium. I know, it's easier said than done. I actually googled other peoples blogs about this topic and they all say the same things. So it's true.

So that's all! Leave me a comment about things I could blog about. Maybe fun DIY projects, or beauty. HA HA. I wish I was actually funny.

Kendy xx

Long time coming!

Apologies to all my die hard fans, I haven't written a blog in about 6 months. Terrible.
Life has been good to me.

I just celebrated a whole year cancer free on the 10th of January!!!!!! Yahooo!

Me at the hospital having my last round of chemotherapy - 10th January 2014

A comparison photo of my 2014 Christmas and my 2013 Christmas!

I have had ups and downs throughout 2014. Many emotional battles relating back to having lived with cancer. It sill is a battle and I know I will live with these thoughts for a long time. I won't forget it. Every time I look in the mirror I see a different person to who I was before I got sick. It's hard to be normal and just accept that this is who I am and what I look like now. To everyone else I am the same, but to myself, I am different.

I got back into sport and exercise, which I was sad about losing the ability to do so during treatment. Simple things like that just remind me how much better I am. I'm trying to hold on to that life perspective I had during my sickness, but this world and the way it thinks it creeping back into my daily life. Trying to fight it!! some other chirpy news...

A lot of ridiculously GOOD stuff has happened too! I was able to share my story with a bunch of women at a ladies coffee night at church. It was daunting and fun all at the same time.

I've been working at a job I actually love and enjoy. Still nursing, but it is less public hospital and shift-worky. It's great.

My sister got married on the 4th of October! It was such a fun day and she looked incredibly beautiful and happy.

I have been on many little getaways. Yallingup, youth camps, Busselton. Which, this time I was actually able to swim and enjoy the sun, sand and beach way of life!!

Spent Christmas and New Year with my amazingly generous family and friends.

I have been fishing with my very own new rod and reel. Catching whiting galore with my sidekick, Edward Duckins (a friendly duck who faithfully followed my fishing adventures down south).

And on the 6th of January, Brett and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary with a beautiful breakfast and a week full of other exciting things, like purchasing a new (second hand) car!

We have a huge year planned for 2015. Stay tuned for further exciting updates and posts.

Hopefully that was an adequate speedy re-cap!

Please keep me in your prayers, this journey is not over!

I will leave you with one extra thing. Each new year, our little Stanford family get together and pick a word for the year. Last year my word was "RESTORATION". I believe that happened.
This year I have picked "GROWTH". Grow hair Grow!!!! Ha ha. I'm sure 'growth' can mean many things!

Thanks for reading!

Love Kendy

One year since...

Two days ago on the 18th of July was exactly one year since I was sent home from work, after being told the results of my CT scan looked as if I had lymphoma. I remember that day quite well, but the more I try to think about how I was feeling, the more blurry it gets. I do understand that "numb" feeling people talk about when experiencing a tragic event. I have no idea how I went to sleep that night, I don't remember. But I'm sure it was in tears in my husbands arms. Brett was away on a fishing trip up North and unreachable. After calling the station he was staying near many times, leaving messages on voice-mail to the caretakers that it was urgent, I ended up getting a call back from Brett. He probably thought I was being the most annoying wife ever after calling him the weekend earlier in a panic asking where my USB was. I did need to send my resume and job application through right at that moment, so it felt like life or death at the time, but turned out I didn't need to get a job anyway because I was about to be diagnosed with cancer the next week. Funny huh. In the end he had to fly home and be with me for the remainder of my diagnosis. It was sad, scary and just plain devastating to get the news that I had cancer. As my very first blog post said, I was most concerned about my fertility. I still am to be honest and it doesn't get any easier when I am constantly seeing my friends on Facebook and Instagram with their gorgeous baby photos. This one year on since being diagnosed, I have had many mixed emotions. I am now living in a constant state of fear that my cancer will return, whether it is in the same spot, same type of cancer or whether it's something totally new. Every niggle of pain in my body or something I notice that doesn't seem quite right is a wave of fear that runs through my heart. There is not a day that goes by that I'm not scared of it returning. I often feel that people think I have moved on so well or they forget I even went through it and my life is back to normal. But really it isn't. I feel like it is changed forever, and I cannot shake the fear or thoughts of cancer that it's such a heavy burden on my life. Everyone else moves on, but I remain in this place of uncertainty. I was always a hypochondriac, and I still get teased about it. I don't think that's something anyone realises affects me so much. I've had cancer, and I have every right to freak out about stuff..right? I even found my early stage melanoma after being persistent with my "funny feeling". Sometimes it pays off, and sometimes people just say things because they don't understand. I write this all because I am about to have my first PET scan since my first one post treatment in January giving me the all clear of my lymphoma. Of course I am nervous, thinking about all the possibilities of the results. There is nothing I can do about the results but I can't not go to the appointment and leave it to think everything will be ok just as long as I "don't know what's going on so therefore it's not anything". I just have to go and wait for the results. I know it's going to be an agonizing wait. Will it bear bad news? What's around the corner? Do I have the strength to do this all over again? If prayer is your thing, please pray for Me now and for my scan on Wednesday. That it will be clear and I will be healthy. Pray for my sanity, that I have comfort and better thoughts in regards to my fears. I'm not even sure these fears will go away or if it's a good thing for them to go away. But pray nonetheless. I am thankful for the amazing 2 week holiday I just had up in coral bay. It was absolutely beautiful, and I enjoyed every bit. We snorkelled, kayaked, fished, lay on the beach, ate copious amounts of donuts from the bakery and the list goes on. Our forester towed a boat all the way there and back and we were super chuffed about that. We do love to have adventures, holidays and fun and are so glad we have these opportunities to do these things while we can. Happy I married an adventurous man who loves to just give things a go and get involved. It definitely suits my newly found appreciation for life and how some things are more important than others and that life is not just a tick box of things to achieve and acquire. Words of wisdom to live by. That's all for now. Kendy x


Brett and I finally got the opportunity to go on our long awaited cruise to Vanuatu!
We flew to Brisbane, stayed one night and then the next day set sail on an 11 night cruise around the islands of Vanuatu.
We missed 2 smalls islands due to big swell and it being too dangerous to board the tenders to the islands, but that was ok. The ships crew pull out the big guns when we don't get to stop, and played the movie Frozen. So we all "let it go" about missing a few stops and continued to enjoy the relaxation of crusing on the ocean and also stopping at many beautiful places.
We ate all the time, went to the gym only a few times, met some cool people, learnt a lot of sports trivia and all round had a great time. This was of course was my first ever overseas (on the sea?) trip and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I would recommend cruising to anyone and everyone! There is so much to do, or little to do if that is your hearts desire.
Here are some pictures of our travels....(until the waterproof camera became not waterproof and we stopped taking pictures on it)
 We did a tour on Santo island and canoed the RiRi River to the Blue Hole
 So unbelievably BLUE! And a rope swing.

 They had theme nights on the boat, this was was island night.

After 11 nights without wifi and internet (are they the same thing?) we docked back in Brisbane and had another 3 nights staying with some contacts through Compassion. Messages and facebook were fun to catch up on and it even included seeing Brett's advertisement he starred in, in Brasil, a McDonald's commercial for the World Cup. Watch it here!
We also hit up Movie World and Wet n Wild on the Gold Coast which was amazing fun as always, shout outs to the scooby doo ride, the old lethal weapon and the new aqua loop. And can I just tell you about the Aqua Loop, it's by far the scariest thing I've done. More than skydiving. Here's a video of it on youtube already

We also went to the Gold Coast Suns game, which was cool.

That's all for now.
Bless you guys!!

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