#BraveLikeKathleen

My Brave Story

 

Name: Kathleen Soller
Age: 18
Diagnosis: Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma
Years of Survivorship: 6 months
Location: Greenwood, Indiana

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How has running or staying physically active affected your cancer journey? 

Having always been an active kid, being physically unable to stay active during my treatment was very hard on me. I was very disappointed to be missing my senior year of cross country because I was sick or in the hospital most of the time.

When I felt well enough, I would attend cross country practice and do everything I was physically capable of, even if it was only running for a few minutes. Staying active kept my mind off the cancer, and I loved being around my teammates again. Being able to compete in one cross country meet gave me strength in my last two rounds of chemotherapy.

 
 Kathleen and the other seniors on her high school cross country team.

Kathleen and the other seniors on her high school cross country team.

 

What advice do you have for people on staying fit throughout their cancer treatment or recovery?

I'm not going to lie, staying fit throughout treatment and recovery is very hard. Your body is not what it used to be. I went from the best to the worst shape of my life in less than a year.

Throughout the early stages of my treatment, I did my best to stay active. I would take laps around the oncology floor, and do lunges and squats down the halls at night. Towards the end of my treatment, I was too weak to do really anything. In my recovery over the past few months, I have started to get my strength and stamina back.

It is important to start slowly and ease yourself back into your old routines. I gradually went back to gymnastics, where I gained most of my strength back, and now I am starting lacrosse, where I will regain my stamina.


What are some of your proudest accomplishments since being diagnosed with cancer?

My proudest accomplishment since being diagnosed with cancer was competing in a cross country meet the day before my fourth round of chemotherapy. I was running for a girl I had met on the oncology floor who had passed away. She went to a local high school and was also a cross country runner. I had one last race in me, and I knew she was running along side me in heaven. Although my time was almost double what it would have normally been, I still beat two girls, and the joy of running for Audrey was unmatched. I am also proud of myself for competing in gymnastics and lacrosse for the first times ever, after finishing my chemotherapy.

 
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How has Gabe's story impacted you or changed the way you view life as a cancer patient/survivor?

Gabe's story has had a huge impact me. My cross country coach told me about her after I was diagnosed. I actually used one of her quotes on the back of the t-shirts that everyone wore for me.

Seeing her run gave me the courage to run through my treatment. Her bravery is unmatched and I have so much respect for her. Chemo destroys your body, and anyone that can run as fast as Gabe during chemo is incredible. She is a true inspiration and a role model.

Cancer sucks, but in many ways it was a blessing.

I met so many amazing doctors, nurses, and patients, I became closer with my friends and family, and began to recognize how truly blessed I am.
— Kathleen

Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you?

Cancer sucks, but in many ways it was a blessing. I met so many amazing doctors, nurses, and patients, I became closer with my friends and family, and began to recognize how truly blessed I am.

 

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Gabriele Grunewald