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Guest blog: Overcoming Obstacles to become the Tri-survivor


Posted by Barbara Mockford of An Unshakeable Belief under Triathlon, Ironman Triathlon on 19 July 2012 at 11:00 PM

Our guest blogger this week is Tribesports user Barbara M, also known as @thetrisurvivor. Her book 'An Unshakeable Belief' has inspired many cancer sufferers, survivors and any reader who is looking for inspiration. She has written us a great article on how she overcame the obstacles life threw at her to become the Tri Survivor.

The obstacles I have overcome in the past few years have been from the small to the huge. Cancer of the bone was the first which was diagnosed at the end of season training for Ironman which I unfortunately never did get to the Start Line. I started a different race with more hurdles than you can imagine. Six cycles of chemo with extra obstacles attached from each cycle; neuatrapenia, dehydration, blood transfusions and Elective admission for resection of osteosarcoma left distal radius and fibula autograft Reconstruction. Donor from left fibula

The worst obstacle I overcame was when they told me to get my affairs in order; my Sister was told I had probably 6 months left to live. Where do you turn to after hearing those words? As with all movies I did a Google search but just didn’t solve or answer any of my questions.  It also didn’t feel like I was achieving anything and trying to find an answer to my prayers which I just was not going to find.  Getting through this period I had to turn to my friends, and then slowly put some basic strategy in place. I set about changing this outcome. Two months after that announcement I was diagnosed all clear. Life settled for a while then over the next few years I got through one day at a time through the operations listed below:

* Calcneal Osteotomy 2008 & L foot bunion removal

* Gastrocnemius Slide (Strayer Procedure) – lengthening calf muscle 2008

* R.Foot bunion removal 2009 * Hallux Rigidus Surgery R. Toes 2009

* L.Knee totally replaced January 2011

* R.Knee totally replaced April 2011

This year on February 5th 2012 I entered the Contact 3:9:3 Triathlon at Kinloch, New Zealand. This was a 300m swim; 9km cycle and a 3km walk for me as I am unable to run.  I should not have entered this as I was not physically up to it. I had a very sore arthritic ankle which is not conducive to a 3k walk.  I did finish and raised my arm up in victory – this was “my Ironman” race as I honestly do not think I will get to that Start Line of Ironman.

Having continual pain everyday is normal for me now; I have accepted it and in turn just mentally block it out.  My Kidneys got damaged by chemo and so it is not possible to take anti-inflammatory products for Rheumatoid Arthritis I have had since 1997. I refuse meaner drugs with worse side effects that would alleviate the pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I have a strong mind and optimistic way of thinking that helps overcome this obstacle.  You can get through the toughest days with a strong mind.

I now do rehab training at the gym. This involves strength; balance and cardio which will help me get out of a chair normally.  After the operations on my knees and ankles my fitness levels just dropped away.  I am now trying to go from nothing to something.  Some days I do too much as my mind is stronger than my body and I have to then take a few days off to recover.  Finding a happy level of intensity to build my strength back up again is my new challenge.  To achieve get out of a chair easily is my goal at the moment and living by this wonderful quote: 

“You don't have to be great to start,

but you have to start to be great” ― Zig Ziglar

  • Encourage

    encouraged this.



    Wow! I'm speechless, God bless you, you are truly inspiring. Sending you love, light & gratitude.x

    Lorain R and Natasha D encouraged this.


    You are exceptionally strong Barbara, inspiring.

    Lorain R encouraged this.


    Take one day at a time and strength will slowly be a part of you again........

    Lorain R encouraged this.


    This is an incredible story Barbara, truly inspiring!

    Lorain R encouraged this.


    Beyond words. Salute to you! Keep going!! :)

    Lorain R encouraged this.


    You are all so beautiful ! The encouragement I receive from Tribesports just is so humbling and indeed hearting to the soul. On mornings when I am crouched over, shuffling around feeling like 100 years old and then turn my lapton on and read your beautiful words of support gets me through these tough winter days :) By lunchtime I am unfolded and standing tall to face the day and my rehab at the gym :) Thank you all again xx


    Unbelievable achievements down under Barbara.

    Lorain R encouraged this.


    Nice to knw tht TS recognized ur work and your spirit

    Lorain R encouraged this.


    Barbara you are truly amazing. I don't think I know the words to express just how impressed by you I am. Thankyou for being your incredible self.

    Lorain R encouraged this.


    I lost words to write today.. I salute you with both hands Barbara. We need to learn a lot from you.

    Lorain R encouraged this.


    I agree with everyone, so, all I can say is: Thank you, xoxo

    Lorain R encouraged this.


    You are an inspiration Barbara! Thank you for sharing your story.

    Lorain R encouraged this.


    unbelieveable..what a star you are barbara. x i've been stressing about just having my bunions done. thanks for putting me in

    Lorain R encouraged this.


    Thankyou for sharing your life with us you an inspirational Iron Lady Your definately a great person!

    Lorain R encouraged this.


    You are so much greater than any 'Iron Man' event could recognise - congratulations on the many things you have achieved, your daily courage and the tenacity to take on every new day as a challenge and a blessing. Thanks for sharing your story - it's a gift to others, including me, as it inspires and reminds us what's truly important in life. Kia kaha!

    Gill C and Lorain R encouraged this.


    Thanks you for sharing your story, what an inspiration you are to all of us here on TS. I look forward to sharing more of your triumphs over the coming months, keep fighting x

    Lorain R encouraged this.


    Wow! you certainly are amazing to be so positive and strong having gone through all of this! Thank you for sharing your story x

    Lorain R and Lucille W encouraged this.


    Once again, I am humbled by your perseverance, resilience, and determination. My "achievements" are lackluster and insignificant in the shadow of what you've survived. Thank you for sharing your experience, strength, and hope.

    Lucille W and Natasha D encouraged this.


    Thank you for sharing this part of your journey. I find your focus and determination inspiring. Your strength is moving.


    Yes, thank you for being your transparently beautiful self.


    Simply Amazing...with a capital "A"!


    thats great! my wife battled cancer though she lost the fight, but her faith remains steadfast...


    Truly inspirational. Thank you for sharing, you move more people than you know.

    Lucille W encouraged this.


    Wow, Barbara, I could never imagine anyone could take on so much. You are truly inspiring. You also remind me of a saying "tough time never last, tough people do."

    Gill C encouraged this.


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