Cancer recovery leads to Summer Starter fundraiser to help others with the illness
For Isobel Stout, like many others, battling cancer left her feeling "absolutely buggered".
The Christchurch women was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and received a mastectomy, followed by six months of chemotherapy and 30 days of radiation.
"After all that lot you're sort of spat out the other end [and they say] 'Well done, you've got through all that, have a good life'. You're sort of flat on your back going 'What the hell just happened?'
"It's not much fun, that's for sure. I mean, I guess if you knew what it'd be like beforehand you probably wouldn't [undergo chemotherapy] – but you don't know what it's like."
* Summer Starter run returns to Christchurch
* Summer starts for 5000 Cantabrians
* Chch woman loses 92kg leading up to Summer Starter
* Summer Starter run diverted for nesting birds
* Summer Starter inspiration
Stout found Pinc & Steel through its success under a previous name, Pink Pilates, and her treatment finally started becoming a more positive experience.
"I was pretty active before diagnosis and the crazy thing . . . is you actually don't feel unwell until somebody comes along and tells you 'Well actually, you've got a serious problem here', and they make damn well sure you feel unwell after that.
"You spend more time recovering from the treatment than you do from the condition itself."
Pinc & Steel is a network of specialist-trained physiotherapists who aim to help anyone with cancer through their treatment and rehabilitation.
For Stout, that involved one-on-one physiotherapy consultations alongside a 10-week exercise programme, one hour per week, with others in a similar position.
"Going to a class like that, you don't have to explain anything because everybody just knows.
"You're all in the same sorts of boats. So people with odd lumps and bumps sticking out or bandages or scars, any of that stuff doesn't matter . . . it's just such a comforting and safe environment to be in."
As her journey progresses – she was still in recovery with lymphedema in her left arm and restricted motion due to scarring – Stout will give back to the organisation that gave so much to her, while continuing her mission for good health and fitness.
She would complete the 10-kilometre track at this year's ASB Summer Starter as part of a team of nine raising money for Pinc & Steel, all of whom had either "graduated" or were among those who worked with the cancer patients, she said.
All money raised by the group would remain in Canterbury, helping others with cancer who could not afford the physiotherapy and exercise courses.
Stout had previously ridden the Coronet Peak skifield road, raising $4000 for the organisation and helping 15 people into their own Pinc & Steel programme.
As of Saturday, the group had raised more than $800 towards their goal of $1000, but "of course we'll accept more", Stout said.
Donations can be made to the group online at moveovercancerchristchurch.everydayhero.com/nz/team-pinc-and-steel-christchurch
* Register now to enter the 2016 ASB Summer Starter at summerstarter.co.nz