It's been almost a year since I started my 2016 challenge, the challenge to get fit and to get healthy, and to blog my journey along the way.
It's been a difficult year, and setting myself that challenge has given me something to focus on. Blogging about it along the way has given me something to answer to. It made me more determined to keep up all my efforts, because people were reading about my journey, leaving comments on here to say well done, and liking my Instagram photos along the way.
It's a little blog, my photography skills aren't great, my grammar not always perfect, my pancakes not Instagram worthy and my sweaty face not something people want to see. But, it seems I must be doing something right, because this little ol' blog has been nominated for a UK Blog Award, and I couldn't be more amazed. I'll be honest, I'm in complete shock, but at the same time, I am pleased as punch!!
Me? Nominated for a blog award? Never in a million years did I expect that to happen, and it's made me think that maybe I am cut out for blogging and maybe one day I'll learn how to use a camera, I'll write a completely grammatically correct post, I'll nail the perfect pancakes, and I'll be less sweaty? Ok, so that last one probably won't ever happen, but it's good to know my blog has been recognised, and some of you lot are enjoying reading it, it's all 'heart eye emojis' over here right now.
I know it's pretty unlikely I'll win, I'm up against some incredible talent, you know the kinda blogger I really want to be, and to get this far is incredible. But, just on the off chance you are one of those people that enjoy reading my posts, I'd be ever so grateful if you voted for me, at least a handful of votes would be a little less embarrassing than none, and it turns out I can't vote for myself...goddammit.
So, if you don't mind my asking (which actually makes me a cringe to do), then maybe you could head over here and help a girl out?
On May 26th 2015 my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after several weeks of pain, self diagnosis of everything but cancer, and three days earlier walking me down the aisle with a bottle of morphine in his pocket.
On November 16th 2016 my dad lost his battle.
He fought this cancer for 17 months. At initial diagnosis the doctor's predicted 12 - 16 weeks.
I'm sure some of you are probably wondering why I'm writing this post on such a personal topic. Well, yesterday was the funeral and one of the hardest days I've ever been through. The other hardest day was the day he died.
My dad was a fit and healthy man, he'd wanted to live to the age of 90, and had cancer not got to him first, I'm certain he would have made it. He started most mornings with a bowl of fruit and yogurt, with a small helping of muesli. He always got his five pieces of fruit and veg a day, and he stayed active, walking and cycling regularly. He was never ill, barely had a day off work in 40 years, and didn't approve of laziness.
Then there was me, a class a couch potato, always choosing to say sitting on the sofa with a chocolate bar in hand than getting up off my ass and doing anything. Walking the 10 minutes to work every day was the most exercise I ever got.
Dad's diagnosis struck a chord. If someone as healthy and well as him could get hit with such a horrendous disease, then what hope is there for someone like me, and what chance would I have of fighting it.
The doctor's were all amazed by my dad, he tried everything to give himself more time, pancreatic cancer is one of the worst, and I can see why, the symptoms are horrendous and it's not surprising so many survive mere months, no-one would want to live with that. But dad kept fighting, and the doctor's believe that he's general good health was part of the reason he survived so long.
On January 1st 2016 I set myself a challenge, to complete Total Warrior in August of this year, to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK. Part of me wanted to do something to help fight such a terrible disease, to try and contribute towards one day finding a cure, and hopefully preventing others having to live through it. But the other part of me realised I had to get fit, I couldn't keep denying the fact I couldn't run for a bus without getting out of breathe, and vegetables only made it on to my plate once a week.
In August I completed Total Warrior, and my dad was there to see me do it. So now, more than ever, it's important for me to stay fit and keep healthy, and that's what this blog is all about. So while my dad is my inspiration, my readers are my motivation to keep at it.