Inspiring Stroies

MOVE: THE BEST THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED IN MY LIFE

I don’t want to be here.

That’s how I felt during the first month after my cancer diagnosis. It was my family who got me through those early days and weeks with lots of support. And lots of joking! My mental health was very bad and I wanted to end it. I felt horrendous after the first batch of chemo and thought I just can’t do this again. Four. More. Times. My dad dragged me out of bed to go. I really feel for people with no help and support around them…

My diagnosis at the age of 29 was a shock but not a total surprise. I had lots of symptoms so I’d kind of prepared myself for the news – and I was right. It was cancer. It was still a bolt out of the blue though because honestly, you never think it’ll happen to you. I’d seen adverts for cancer on tv but never imagined I’d be in that situation

It was strange because my diagnosis and treatment actually felt like a reset button on my life. I found it sharpened things and gave me the sense that I’ve got to do things now. I want to succeed. I want to be healthy. I want to start a family. It gave me a new lease of life!

My treatment was short and sharp. There were only four sessions which meant it was over quicker but it did mean there were more side effects too. While I was impatient to get on with life and do things I was also scared to leave the house. My mental health really began to suffer. Before cancer I used to walk and play golf – I was active but not particularly into fitness. My doctor said I needed to lose weight and get fit so referred me to MOVE Against Cancer. I started the online programme two weeks later.

My cancer rehab instructor Helen was a guiding hand from the very start. When I was scared to leave the house she set me a series of home workouts. Then when I felt more confident she suggested walking or swimming. To begin with I’d take a friend as I felt self-conscious about my weight and my fluffy hair growing back in but Helen pushed me gently. My confidence gradually increased and now I’ll happily go swimming myself. If it wasn’t for Helen and MOVE I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’d look forward to our regular chats and I felt that I had support every step of the way. Back at the start I couldn’t walk up the stairs without being breathless but now I go to the gym, I’ve got a personal trainer and I’m so much fitter. I’m also more outgoing and will chat to others at the gym which I hadn’t done previously. Exercise has helped my mental health so much. As a knock-on effect I actually cook more and eat healthily now too!

My next goal is to enter (and complete!) MOVE charity’s summer adventure – the Edale Skyline Challenge!

If anyone reading this finds themselves in my shoes I’d say: put both feet forward and do the MOVE online programme. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened in my life. (Jason McNeice)