I did it! Not sure how? The heat was pretty unbearable. Crossing the finishing line was the best feeling ever. I ran slower than all my training runs and at no point seemed to be able to muster up any sort of energy to make my legs work. When I was walking for large chunks of it, I was trying to give myself a motivational talking to. Trying to think of everything I’ve been through over the last three years. Thinking of friends lost and friends that are fighting the spread of this disease. Thinking of my children waiting at the finish line, everyone that has supported me and were following my progress, but no, nothing worked. I just wanted to slump down on the hot tarmac and sleep. I remember at one point the runners ahead started cheering as they turned a corner. I wondered what had caused the excitement? I turned the corner and saw Tower Bridge looming ahead of me in the glorious sunshine, the half way mark and still all I could think was, how am I going to get across this huge bridge and how can I possibly only be half way?! What are you cheering at you idiots? Don’t you realise we have another 13.1 miles to go?!! Yes, I was perhaps the only grumpy one on the course.
Gaps in the crowd were enticing me to escape and go home. Nausea was building and I wondered if I quickly vomited on the sides would someone take a photo? I opted for deep breathing and a walk/run strategy, as even in my darkest moment I still didn’t want to be splattered across a newspaper while I was splattering the pavement with the vile contents of my stomach. People were collapsed all over the place. Paramedics were stretchering people off, St Johns ambulance were rushing to massage cramping limbs and the crowd were shouting your name in encouragement, handing out sweets, food, cut up oranges and even ice-lollies. I passed the amazing Grenfell Tower firemen in their full outfits. We all applauded them as we passed, having a moment to reflect on their story and their amazing efforts to raise money. I didn’t see as many people in fancy dress this year as I guessed the heat put paid to that and it was quite nice to not be overtaken by rhinos and people carrying fridges on their backs!
Finally I reached the Embankment, I kept looking at the London Eye and thinking that’s it, that’s the point where you turn right and head to the finish. Just keep running, this hell is nearly over. The quicker I get there, the sooner it stops. The approach to the finish is littered with signs telling you in meters how far is left. It is meant to spur you on, but for me, when the sign said 400 metres to go I physically slumped my shoulders and started to walk. 400 metres? That was forever! Just one foot in front of the other I kept chanting. 375 yards to go, why can’t I see the finish line, how many bloody bends after that? Two!! Just in case anyone running it in the future wants to know. And then, in all it glory, finally, after four hours and 44 minutes was the bright red finish line. Then I ran. I was desperate to cross it.
The medal was put on, the goody bag handed out and I headed out to meet my family. My gorgeous family. Youngest got her well deserved medal as she whispered to me that she was really proud of me. Not as proud as I am of you.
My eighty year old dad hugged me as he told me how worried he had been, “I said a prayer for you last night” he informed me. My dad worries about everything. If I get on a plane he thinks it will come down, ff I plan a safari holiday he’ll tell me a story of someone either being eaten by lions or trampled to death by elephants. So in his mind I was possibly going to be the one collapsed somewhere on the course. So we were both as relieved as each other that I had finished. Mr J. was proud and excited and when I eventually saw my other daughters (they had got a bit lost on the stairs down) I could relax. We were all together again. Eldest daughter even said I had inspired her to run a marathon! Watch this space!
The week leading up to the marathon was obviously hard with my scans and results. It’s a dark time but luckily for me my results were all clear. I was going to blog while it was going on but didn’t want to spread the gloom cloud, especially as the sun was shining so I opted out.
When I was diagnosed with eye cancer three years ago, I searched and searched for patients stories, blogs, happy ever afters. I struggled to find them. A lot of stories I found were of people that had sadly passed away or they only wrote them for about six months and I was left with a ‘what happened next?’ I realise that it’s just life. People that have an illness want to learn more about it and may share their stories, those that are better tend to move on, so therefore the blogs dry up. I started this blog with the intention of sharing it for longer. So that it would help someone like me in the future and not leave a ‘what happened next?’ I was hoping people would read it and think, she’s still here, she’s still going. it’s not all bad, because yes about 50% of people go on to develop metastatic disease, but remember, 50% don’t. I haven’t. My scans are clear, only about a quarter of my sight has gone and I tend not to think about cancer at all. So if you have just been diagnosed, don’t be scared. Life does go on.
Now three years later I have not just reached the finish line of the London Marathon but also that of my blog. So a huge thank you to everyone that has read it. I hope it has helped a few people along the way and raised awareness of our rare little eye cancer that makes a huge impact on peoples lives. I am now off to have a massage on my legs, pop a bottle in the fridge to celebrate and live my life.
Love and best wishes to you all.
From justaneye xxxx