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Why Kathleen will be a part of Carman’s Women’s Fun Run

BCNA News 01 Nov 2018

Carman's Women's Fun Run

The Carman's Women's Fun Run will be held at Catani Gardens, St Kilda (Melbourne) on Sunday 2 December 2018. Register using the link below. More information is available on the Carman's Women's Fun Run event page.

Kathleen Sakadjian explains why she is taking part

Read BCNA's Q & A with AFL physiotherapist and breast cancer survivor Kathleen Sakadjian. You can also watch a video of Kathleen speaking at BCNA's Young Women's Conference held in October 2018.

Q & A with Kathleen Sakadjian

Why are you running in the Carman’s Women’s Fun Run?

The Carmen’s fun run will be a celebration for us in some respects. I really appreciate every day for what it is since my diagnosis. The fact I feel healthy and able to get out there and go for a run is something I’m unbelievably grateful for.

I’ve actually never done a fun run before! I’ve signed up for the Carmen’s as a way to both keep me on target with my training and to support BCNA. As a physiotherapist, exercise was a huge focus for me pre-diagnosis, during my treatment and now also as a survivor. I’m going to have my mum, sister, and my best friends running with me on December 2nd. All these ladies have been a massive support to me, and they have no doubt been impacted by my diagnosis also.

Since your diagnosis in 2017 how has BCNA helped you?

BCNA is a wonderful organisation and support network. The information and resources they provided myself and my husband during my diagnosis and treatment was really helpful for us. Post diagnosis BCNA has also played a large role in my life. I am really determined to try and help improve the diagnosis, treatment and survivorship process for other young women in the future. BCNA listen to your feedback, and advocate for improved, wholistic & streamlined, Breast Cancer care – whether that be in regard to fertility, finances, your work situation and options for treatment and surgery. For me, as a physiotherapist, the big goal is to increase the awareness around the importance of exercise in cancer care.

Did you keep exercising during your treatment?

I sure did!! Exercise to me was medicine. That’s how I viewed it. It wasn’t about going out and running 10km every day or lifting super heavy weights in the gym, it was all about learning what my body needed each day and then prescribing myself that “movement”. At times I was pretty fatigued and couldn’t manage much. On those days I’d keep it low key and just go for a walk. Sometimes I’d even just mediate if I was stuck in bed. On the days I felt well and energetic (usually towards the end of my 14 day chemo cycle), I’d get up and do a high intensity boxing session or circuit class…. Or toboggin down the snow slopes with my friends! I am lucky enough to own my own performance gym and physio clinic, so training with our members and with other staff was a great social outlet for me, and everyone was so encouraging. Exercising was fun, and it felt like I was doing something good for myself. I knew the chemo, whilst important, was toxic on my body, so exercising was almost like providing myself some self-nourishment.

As a young woman with breast cancer what was your biggest fear and how did you overcome it?

Of course in those initial days after diagnosis you fear the worst. You fear for your life and the impact this will have on your loved ones. I also feared I may never see the day I’d have my own children and raise my own family. As the days unfold, other concerns start to arise like job security and the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis.

I realised though, that when you are about to enter the biggest fight of your life, there is no point fearing your opposition (breast cancer). Rather, I set about getting to know my opposition as best I could, so I had every chance of coming out the winner! I wanted a solid game plan, so that no stone was left unturned. Both my husband, Alex, and I started doing lots of research, asking plenty of questions to my medical team and putting together the best treatment plan we could. I felt empowered by being educated and understanding my situation, and being able to make informed decisions.

What’s one thing you learnt from your breast cancer journey that might help others?

“Get your people, your team around you”. My team was my husband, my family, my friends, my colleagues and my medical specialists. I know that seems like a general comment, but honestly, I couldn’t have gone through this process and stayed as positive as I did without those around me. They were a sounding board when I needed to bounce ideas off people, they were my support network when I felt down and out, they were there to share a good laugh with me when needed, and they allowed me to keep a sense of normality throughout my treatment. I am lucky to have an amazingly supportive network of family and friends, and I know that is not always the case for everyone. But my advice is to find the people in your life that “click” with you, that make you feel comfortable and keep them close. It could be friends or family, but it may also be other breast cancer survivors, breast care nurses or of course BCNA! Remember, that’s what BCNA are all about. They are a team of caring and generous people who will always have your back when you need it. No one needs to feel alone.