I am a 56-year-old Mother and Grandma, with two beautiful daughters and a precious granddaughter – without their love and support I would not have got through 2017. I have a very alert radiologist to thank for finding my cancer so early in April 2017. She spotted some subtle changes in an area of calcification noticed a few years ago on routine mammogram. She advised a biopsy and this showed pre-cancerous cells. The surgeon recommended a lumpectomy ‘just to be sure’. I don’t know who was more surprised him or me when the biopsy showed invasive lobular carcinoma. I had sentinel lymph node biopsies which thankfully showed no malignant cells. My radiotherapy was delayed because following surgery I developed sepsis and was in hospital for 3 weeks. It was a long convalescence but I finished radiotherapy in October, returning to work in November.
Finding my ‘new normal’ is taking time and depression really set in at the start of this year. Team Phoenix is such a wonderful support group and was exactly what I was looking for to regain my self-esteem, and confidence. I have met some beautiful ladies who I can relate to, and sharing our stories really helps me to come to terms with having had cancer. Not only that but I am fitter than I have been for years. We train together, laugh a lot, and will cross the finish line as one powerful team!
Tracey Sandy, 48. Interventional Radiology Clinical Sister. Lives in Sittingbourne and married for 29 years to my wonderful husband Tim, we have 2 amazing children Sherrie & Shane. Our lives together have been tough as Sherrie had Leukaemia as a young child, but as a family we fought and beat it.
In Nov 2016 our lives again was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with right side breast cancer IDC & DCIS, 2 Operations’s later to remove the x2 tumours and lymph nodes, followed by in March 2017 starting x6 cycles of chemotherapy & July 5 weeks of Radiotherapy. Now I’m in Tamoxifen for 5 years with yearly mammograms. In May 2018 I was diagnosed with Lymphedema in my right arm.
Throughout my treatment I have tried to remain active but side effects of weight gain & losing my hair I felt very unfeminine.
I returned to work in January 2017 and met one of my patients a firebird Karen who told me about Team Phoenix & she put my name forward. Several emails later from Sharon & I agreed to join TP much to my shock I then realised it was a real triathlon!!
However the TP 2018 Team and our mentors are an amazing group of Ladies, who I feel privileged to train with, we have laughed & cried but have become good friends. We will start and finish this triathlon together. This experience is giving me back my life whilst introducing me to lots of new experiences, which I never dreamed I would ever do. So a massive thank you from the bottom of my heart to Team Phoenix as you have helped me “rise from the ashes” & restart my life after beating cancer. I’m now a firebird xx
'I’m Amy 45, currently an office manager from Greenhithe. I am married to Andrew and have two children, 19 and 16. I was diagnosed in May 2016 with Triple Negative breast cancer, I had 6 rounds of chemo, then surgery and finished my treatment in January 2017 with 25 blasts of radiotherapy. Although I tried to maintain some fitness, the treatment makes it very difficult. Without ongoing treatment for triple negative, emphasis is put on regular exercise so I have been going to Muay Thai, boxing and Kettle bells but I really need a boot up the backside to push me further, so even though I can’t run, swim properly or cycle far, when I saw the Team Phoenix triathlon mentioned on a Facebook support group, I thought ‘that’s what I need to do’!! With a huge amount of support, training and fabulous, strong team mates, I’m going for it…'
Sue Walker, age 33 from Snodland, Kent (originally hailing from the Midlands!)
I was only 31 when I was diagnosed with stage 3 ER+ HER2- breast cancer in September 2016. I had a lumpectomy in October 2016, 6 rounds of FEC chemotherapy that started Jan 2017 and then 20 sessions of radiotherapy. It was all a bit of a whirlwind and by the end of it I was bald, exhausted, had piled on the pounds and was super unhappy. Surely I should have felt happy at the end of treatment when I was told that there was no evidence of disease (NED) left in my body. But I wasn’t. Cancer had stolen more than a year from me and I wanted to do something. I was also told by oncologists that exercise is the best way to stop a cancer reoccurrence so when I found out about Team Phoenix I was intrigued.
We are just at the beginning of training for the tri and all ready the comradery I feel with my Team Phoenix ladies has helped me so much. We are all in the same boat, everyone is incredibly supportive and I actually feel myself believing I can do this triathlon! I wasn’t so sure when I signed up…! Before cancer I wasn’t fit at all, in fact I’d not been on a bike for over 7 years and not swam or run any distance since high school! I’m already feeling stronger and ready to take on this amazing challenge with Team Phoenix – cancer was a challenge I was forced in to but I’ve chosen this challenge and I can’t wait for the Hever Castle Tri!