The ASA Masters Swimming Hub

Join our community and get fit with your friends

Masters swimmer Judy Brown blogs about her inspirational story

In this blog for the Masters Hub, Judy Brown tells us about her battle with cancer and her will to keep swimming through the duration of her treatment and beyond…

Pink And Yellow Lifebelt

I loved swimming from the start and still have vague memories of the three-year-old me running round the house and garden wearing just a swimming cap, frilly cozzy and pink and yellow lifebelt!

But when my parents took the decision to start taking me training, I’d imagine that ‘it’ll help her to get through cancer when she’s 50’ would have been far from their minds. More likely ‘got to get rid of that energy somehow!’

Five months after my final dose of chemotherapy, I swam a 3.6km open water race in 51 minutes – I’m still struggling to believe it!

Moving on to almost half a century later, and last weekend, at the age of 51, six weeks after completing my radiotherapy, three months after my double mastectomy with lymph node removal, and five months after my final dose of chemotherapy, I swam a 3.6km open water race in 51 minutes, finishing third. I’m still struggling to believe it!

The picture is of me receiving third prize from Rob Macleod, (event organiser and training partner 30yrs ago) armed with my lucky dolphin mascot which sat on my pillow at the hospital such a short time ago.

Goal-setting

How was the swim achieved? Apart from three weeks lost due to surgery and two weeks due to radiotherapy burns, I swam 3-4 times a week, right the way through my treatment.

It wasn’t always easy getting to the baths and I wasn’t able to swim very fast, but I always felt much better for going and achieving a set distance. Swimming doesn’t get rid of the effects of all the treatment, but it makes you feel so much better able to deal with them.

What’s true of cancer treatment is also true of life – we have issues, problems and priorities.

What’s true of cancer treatment is also true of life – we have issues, problems and priorities. Set yourself a goal, and a plan of how to achieve it. Prioritise it, then go out and do your best to achieve. There’s so much to be gained by focusing on the goal: better fitness, confidence, and friendships to name just three!

My future may be less certain than it seemed a couple of years ago, but at least for now I’ve done the best I can to maintain good health and quality of life. Plan A was to swim through treatment, and it delivered in spades.

Cheers to the next 51 years (and to the pink and yellow lifebelt!)

Top