Just before Christmas 2012, 56-year-old Solveig Vedal discovered breast cancer with spread to lymph nodes. During the treatment, she came in contact with the fitness center for cancer patients in Norway, Pusterommet. - Active against cancer Breathing rooms have been life-saving for me, says the 56-year-old to the Oslo Marathon.
- The body becomes completely unrecognizable. Some days it takes to get out of bed. Yes, it is almost a feat in itself!
Solveig has been through many tough times since she was diagnosed with cancer over seven years ago. Over 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 33 rounds of radiation corrode the body. She now receives annual follow-up at Radiumshospitalet and at the late side effect center.
Picture no. 1 Solveig after her second chemotherapy treatment. Picture no. 2 Solveig celebrates her very last chemotherapy treatment.
- It is no secret that you have your challenges after a tough cancer treatment. In addition to difficulty sleeping, as well as a lot of pain, I got lymphedema quickly after the first operation. Now I am on treatment approximately every 14 days at the Norwegian Lymphedema Clinic. (Lymphedema is a permanent condition with increased accumulation of lymph outside the lymphatic vessels. Due to inhibited lymphatic drainage, an arm or leg, less often bilaterally, will be permanently swollen. Source: https://nhi.no/sykdommer/blod/ulike-blodsykdommer / lymphodem / )
Some days Solveig has barely had the energy to get up, other days she has recovered from training and has experienced an enormous feeling of mastery. To get through the mental and physical challenges she has faced since 2012, training has been the alpha omega for her.
- After my first round of chemotherapy, I was introduced to the Respite Room. It was so incredibly wonderful to meet people in the same situation as me, not to mention all the physiotherapists and ACTIVE instructors who see you for who you are there. Since the beginning, they have adapted to my training, and it is good to have someone around who knows what you have been through. For me, the Breathing Room quickly became a pole to hold on to simply.
A respite from everyday life
In 2008, Active Against Cancer established the very first Respite Room in Norway. There are now 16 Respite Rooms, 15 of which are located inside the hospitals. Active against cancer's goal is to get physical activity in as part of cancer treatment. The gyms are called Respite, because the users here can increase both heart rate and breathing, but Active against cancer also wants to offer a respite from a difficult everyday life.
Solveig remembers well her first experience with the Breathing Room.
- Then we actually had a pool here, and it was so incredibly nice to just lie in the water and move easily! No one needed to apologize for anything, and this was not about performing, but just being. The gallows humor also hung loosely in the air where we all swam around without hair on our heads.
Having a positive attitude is not always easy in such situations, but all the more important. For Solveig's part, it has often been the others who have felt a fear before herself.
- I have rather been afraid of those around me, How they would manage without me if it should go so wrong. I myself was part of a scheme, while they stood on the sidelines and felt powerless. My family had a great understanding that pizza was often on the menu, so to speak!
Oslo Marathon - a cultural experience
The first time Solveig was on 10 for Grete was in 2016. Then they were 12 from Pusterommet who participated.
- What an atmospheric experience! From start to finish, we were cheered on by motivating people. I will never forget the wonderful team that is responsible for the warm-up before we start the race. And the fantastic crowd that stands along the trail and cheers us through this day. It is simply a cultural experience when you also experience so many musical elements that also give us extra motivation! That's so great. So to all of you out there who make an effort to lift us forward during the Oslo Marathon, either as an audience, or in the form of various stations, keep it up! You do such an important job for us participants!
This year will be Solveig's fourth year, and she will encourage more people to sign up. Yes, regardless of whether they have run a 10 km before or not.
- You know, I have rarely run 10 km in one go! I go and jog around each other, and enjoy it! And if you are considering signing up, just do it! If you keep going all year round, you will also experience a much greater feeling of mastery during the race itself. If you live in Oslo, you can, for example, use Sognsvann to train for the race. Two rounds around corresponds to about 7 km.
Solveig is once again looking forward to running 10 for Grete in September, and there is perhaps one thing in particular that makes her feel extra special this day.
- It is so wonderful to reach the finish line and receive a super medal. Implementing what you have set as a goal despite all the challenges you have, gives a particularly good experience as you cross the finish line! Yes, then it feels like you have completed a marathon!
Do you also want to run 10 for Grete for Active Against Cancer?
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Read more about Active Against Cancer's Respite Here