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понедельник, 9 января 2017 г.

'Cancer can take a hike'

Louise Rall, 37, from Southampton, has incurable breast cancer but she won’t let that stop her taking part in the Inca challenge

Over the past two years, I've clung to the side of a speeding boat in an international yacht race, walked 10 miles with thousands of other women and raised over £5,000 for charity. But the Inca Trail is going to be my biggest challenge yet.
I try not to use the C-word too often. My son, Ben, six, knows that Mummy isn't very well. My husband, Mat, 46, and I told him that I had a poorly boob. He has no idea the disease has spread to my bones, and I have terminal cancer.
I was eight months pregnant with Ben when I discovered a pea-sized lump in my left breast. A biopsy showed it was cancer.
Two weeks after Ben's birth, I had a lumpectomy followed by a mastectomy. I then had nine months of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, plus continuous hormone treatment.
I went from being an energetic deputy head teacher, excited about being a mum, to an exhausted cancer patient, with no energy to even cope with my new baby. But as my treatment continued, I began to feel better and more hopeful about the future. Two years later, though, the back pains began.

Louise with hubby Mat and son Ben
An X-ray showed the disease had spread and doctors told me it was incurable. I was devastated, certain I'd be dead within a year. At first, I decided I had to really look after myself, that if I didn't, I'd die quicker. But the non-stop worrying was exhausting. And what was the point? The cancer wasn't going away.
I chatted to other women with the illness on the Breast Cancer Care website and was amazed by how long some of them had been living with cancer. I decided to change my outlook and started fund-raising. I signed up to be a crew member in the annual Round The Island Yacht Race in the Isle of Wight. Taking part made me feel so positive. I realised I shouldn't stop living.
The Inca Challenge is going to be tough. I'll be a high-maintenance hiker and will have to use an airbed to ease my back pain. I've been given a week off the chemotherapy tablets too, as they make my feet sore.
I'll miss kissing Ben at night, or curling up with Mat, but I've got to do this. I'll be keeping a blog for as I want to show that even the worst diagnosis doesn't have to mean the end.
I know I won't get better. But I'm still here and I can't wait to celebrate reaching Machu Picchu. I hope this will be a lasting legacy - not only to other women, but for Mat and Ben too. I hope my son will see his Mummy was a fighter."
Mat Rall, 46, a GP says: "Since Lou started fund-raising, she's become very driven. I'll worry while she's away, but I'm so proud of her."
To support Lou and the six cancer survivors, visit

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