How running has helped me through two ocular melanoma diagnoses

When I began running at age 17, I ran about three times a week because it made me feel good and helped me maintain a healthy weight. It soon became a routine and a healthy hobby that helped me manage stress and anxiety and, best of all, socialize with other runners. After I’d been running for about a year, I was diagnosed with ocular melanoma, a very rare eye cancer. The cancer, thankfully, was only in my optic nerve and hadn’t spread, so I had radioactive plaque surgery to treat the tumor. At age 22, I was declared cancer-free. Running helped me cope with stress of my cancer diagnosis At that point, running became even more important. It helped me deal with the stress of a cancer diagnosis at such a young age. When I was 25, I ran my first marathon – something on my surviving cancer bucket list. I didn't run very fast, but I was so proud of myself. I continued to run on and off throughout my 20s and 30s. As I got older, I got married, started my career as a speech pathologist and had two kids. After the second one, I had trouble losing the baby weight, so I kicked my running up a notch. Soon, I realized I could be pretty fast. I started training for another marathon, this time with the goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I competed in every race I could – from a 5K to an ultra-marathon (50K). Running defined me, right along with being a wife and mother. An unexpected ocular melanoma recurrence I qualified...