I believe strength is not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over. Sometimes circumstances happen beyond our control and might take us a few steps back. Holidays, children schedules, injuries, or sickness. In my case, it was a health scare.
I have been dedicating my life to raising my four children, while also training for my first full Ironman Triathlon. March 31, 2018. That was the goal date. My focus! Training had been going great. I was in the middle of base building week nine. I remember it like yesterday because I had a 75-mile bike ride that week. It would have been the longest in the books! I was very excited for this! In the weeks leading up to this; ok… more like months... I noticed a weird let down sensation in one of my breasts.
At first, I kept thinking You are crazy, Alesha! Your youngest is four. You haven’t nursed in over three years! You are crazy!
Then the other part of me is like; No doctors! No doctors! You are four months out from your Ironman. No doctors! Make it until the race and then get it checked out. It was a constant mental battle until I found that lump.
This was not been the first time this had happened. Last year around the same time I found a lump. It was removed and turned out to be nothing. This time was so different. I was scared because the doctor didn’t even want to see me first. She sent me right in for testing.
My testing was done on a Friday and I wasn’t scheduled to go back until the next Wednesday. I wasn’t looking forward to the long weekend because my mind wasn’t there. Normally, training is my therapy. Due to my focus on all the what if’s, I had mentally given up on my Ironman. I was just surviving.
As I pulled into my driveway I received a call from the doctor they wanted me to come in on Monday instead of Wednesday... Great! Even more of a mental mess up! Monday came faster than I thought. To say I was scared was an understatement. I thought I was going to pass out in the waiting room. It was very hot in there that day.
The doctor came in and told me I needed to be scheduled for surgery. The growth was hard to see on imaging and couldn’t be guided during a needle biopsy. She wanted to do a lumpectomy. January 2, 2018 was my scheduled surgery date.
I had a lot of mixed emotions about this. I was having to wait two weeks because of Christmas and New Year’s. I was starting the New Year out going into surgery and most of all this was too close to my Ironman. There is no way I could recover and jump back into training. This was something I have dreamed of doing and now I was going to have to wait…All those hours I had already put in. Lots of sweat and tears... For what?
I took the next two weeks to really enjoy my kids and life. Try to enjoy the chaos. The laughter when they were supposed to be sleeping. The laundry, sticky floors and unlimited snuggles! The time went fast and slow at the same time.
Surgery day came and went like a blur. Everything went well. The doctor said I had a large Fibroadenomatoid Hyperplasia tumor removed. The recovery has been hard and I have been sore. I know it will only take time. Something I was given! I am beyond relieved to report it’s benign!
Even though it was a rare form of tumor and it would be back benign or cancerous; I today can recover and get back to training. It’s going to be hard. However, I look at it this way, everything you do is 90% mental, 10% strength. Your mindset has to be right before you can accomplish, conquer and overcome any challenge. The real challenge is to muster the strength for the mental game. I haven’t lost my endurance in this sport, but rather I have simply lost my confidence in my capacities – mental and a little strength. The lesson here is, don’t let starting over make you feel weak. The true strength is starting over.
Written by Alesha Hacker, Siren Luminary
Follow Alesha on Instagram! @runtrimommaof4