By ITU Admin on 03/09/09 at 12:00 am
I have had what one can only describe as a life changing journey to the ITU Triathlon Age Group World Championships on the Gold Coast, Australia.
Having spent the summer in Australia to qualify for the AUS team, I found out early this year that my wife had breast cancer.
I took time off training for what was to be the first and only operation, a partial removal on one breast to get rid of the cancer.
However, when we got the pathology results they showed that the cancer has spread and she required a double mastectomy.
I then rang Triathlon Australia to say I would withdraw from the team, as I did not believe I would be able to compete and it was only fair to give my slot to another athlete. The response from Triathlon Australia was amazing. The lady I spoke to had just been through this with her mother and offered me amazing support. She encouraged me to keep my slot and see what happened.
When the dust had settled a bit I said to my wife before the second operation that I needed to keep exercising (at least a bit) to keep me mentally and physically strong to help her and our three beautiful children through this tough time. These things make you realise what is important in life. I realised training and feeling fit is a big part of my life.
What I found to my amazement was that I had a totally new focus on everything I did. A swim session was no longer “Oh here we go, another swim set.” to “You know what I am not sure I will get to do this again this week so I am 100% focused on the task.”. This applied to everything I did. As a result, with probably 50% of the training I was amazed to find that my times for every discipline were personal bests, and I have been doing this sport for over 20 years.
I took two weeks off to help my wife and family after her double mastectomy. I will never forget the day waiting in my wife’s hospital room (931) for the surgeons to come and tell me whether or not the cancer has spread through her body. When they came to see me to tell me the glands were clear and there was no spread of cancer I just broke down and cried. The two surgeons hugged me. I will never forget that.
I watched the strength and courage my wife showed in both dealing with the operation and the physical recovery. Seeing that strength and courage has made me a stronger, better person. Nothing I can go through on a triathlon course can get close to matching that.
The other side of this story is the beauty of the triathlon family, and a reminder why we do this great sport. Yes we are all Type A people and want to win, but we also love the training with our teams and the life long friends we make from this great sport. The love and support I got from my triathlon team (and of course family and friends) was inspirational. It is a shame it takes something like this to remind us how fortunate we are every day to participate in this great sport, and to have such wonderful people around us from all walks of life.
When my wife then found out she would not need chemo and the prognosis was good, she said “GO RACE”. Let me tell you my nerves tingle even as I type this. The support and courage of her to want to see me live my dream of representing Australia in Australia is amazing.
I had three weeks to train. Already I am swimming, running and riding PBs. It is amazing what the mind, when focused, can do.
I am racing for my wife. If the going gets tough or I feel I am struggling out there, all I need to do is think “931” (my wife’s hospital room) and if I can show half the courage on the race course that she has shown, then I will be fine.
I hope everyone out there can try and remember how lucky we all are to be competing. Let’s enjoy this time, race hard and all have a drink together after the race.
Grant Fuzi #1407
Age group Competitor – Olympic M40-44
Triathlon Writers: MyStory 2009
If you are attending the Gold Coast World Championships and have an inspiring or interesting journey to tell, send in your story to ITU attention: “Triathlon Writers” and we will inform you if your story is chosen to be published. There is no minimum or maximum amount of words. Just tell us like it is. Please provide pictures if possible.
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Two winners will be selected by their peers in an online poll at triathlon.org on Wednesday, September 9 and Thursday, September 10. Visit the new triathlon.org on September 9th and vote for your favourite MyStory.
All entries should be emailed to ITU. Click here to email.
Deadline for Entries is Tuesday, September 8th
Find more details about this event - 2009 Dextro Energy Triathlon - ITU World Championship Grand Final Gold Coast