Ironman dreams, powered by chemo!

By , Sep 8, 2013

Sept 8th 2013

Well I guess it’s just so fitting that I start my blog on this date, as exactly 2 months ago today I got the call that said: ‘it’s cancer’. A call that turned my life and my Ironman dreams upside down.

I was the fittest I had ever been, 5 weeks away from my Ironman debut and now I had cancer? Surely this could not be possible and surely I could still do it?

I was in denial but as the days and weeks went by, alongside 2 operations, various scans and the start of chemo 3 weeks ago, I turned from an Ironman wannabe into a Cancer Warrior!

But let me introduce myself and tell you what else defines me beyond Ironman dreams and cancer!

My name is Marilena, I’m a 37 year old, Italian who lives and works in London.

I have a 7 year old boy named Miles and will marry the man of my dreams, Mark, next June.

I got into running 9 years ago and went straight from no exercise to marathon training of course! I have completed 26 marathons in many different places around the world: from Chicago, New York, to London, Paris, Florence, Marrakesh and more!

When I finally got tired of ‘just’ running 26.2 miles, I decided it was time to do an Ironman, only I couldn’t swim. Not one lap. Nothing. I was terrified of water. Not to mention the fact that I had never even been on a bike. So all I could do was run BUT not after swimming and biking!

Training was tough and frustrating. But I persevered and, although I doubted of myself many times, I always believed that one day I too would be an Ironman.

Many shorter distance tris later, I am ready to tackle the big one!!

But as you now know, someone else had different plans for me and it all came to a halt when a little lump on the side of my chest turned to be cancerous.

Now here I am, 2 months after that phone call and of course I have already signed up for another Ironman, IM Copenhagen on 24th August 2014. Because anything is possible, yes?

I am faced with a long journey ahead of me: 8 cycles of dose dense chemo at 2 weeks interval, followed by node clearance surgery, radiation and then Herceptin infusion for 1 year, followed by Tamoxifen for 5 years.

So it’s going to be beyond tough, but I can fight with the very best and hope that by the end of next year, I shall become a bride and an Ironman! And I want to give hope and inspiration to some of you going through the same challenge.

Team inspiration has been a true saviour for me already! Now this is my chance to give back!


More tomorrow xxxxx


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