Jacob Walker’s brain tumour was a crossroads moment
By Cancer Council NSW
We’ve all faced uncertainty in our lives. It’s the constant reminder that we’re not always in complete control of our own destiny.
When I was told I had brain cancer, I had no idea what to make of it. The immediate response was a complete numbness, where I didn’t know where to begin processing the gravity of what lay ahead. After futher consultations, MRI’s and blood tests, I was presented with the most significant moment of my cancer journey: fight or flight.
We’re a society conditioned to look at the world with a sense of scepticism; that we’re all destined to come ‘unstuck’ at some point. When the dreaded ‘C word’ is thrust upon us, the immediate connotations are those of inevitability that our lives are in a nosedive towards certain demise. The reality is – if we think like that, we can coerce ourselves into acting like that. These negative thoughts around a forgone conclusion are so counterproductive, it’s incredible seeing how our bodies respond.
While there isn’t an ‘easy’ way for everyone to approach a personal battle with cancer, it’s imperative to adopt a mindset which allows you to be as comfortable as possible with the unknown. For me, this was looking at my surgery and treatment as a small obstacle before getting back to work, fitness and life in general. I adopted the philosophy that there was just no way this could be the end of the road. I still had so much to achieve, so much to see and do! The fight-or-flight response is a great example because it is at this crossroads moment that you need to choose how you’re going to deal with cancer. Our lives are not etched in stone, our future is not written in testament, we can choose to fight against cancer by not letting the battle consume us. Setting goals and striving to get my life back is what set me on the right track towards recovery – both physically and mentally.
The way we live our lives is up to us, take control and live yours your way.
Inspirational brain cancer survivor turned marathon runner and triathlete, Jacob Walker is an ambassador for Cancer Council’s The March Charge. He has been motivating people to obliterate cancer this March by taking on the challenge to run, ride or swim down cancer.
Jacob, (30) was diagnosed with a brain tumour the size of a golf ball at the age of 28. Following a five hour operation that was unable to remove the entire tumour, Jacob now lives with the knowledge that one day it might return.
Determined to get back on the road to recovery, Jacob set himself the goal to run the 42 kilometre New York Marathon less than eight months after surgery. Amazingly, in November last year Jacob achieved that goal and since then has continued to compete in marathons as well as triathlons across Australia.
“The New York Marathon was a psychological commitment more than anything, something I set my sights on to work towards”, said Mr Walker.
Jacob is now determined to complete five triathlons over summer. He recently competed in the Hamilton Island Triathlon and is also taking part in the the Gatorade Triathlon Series.
Jacob, who currently has regular MRI scans to check if the brain tumour has started to grow back, says staying active has helped him to not lose faith during his recovery and working towards challenging yet achievable goals is fundamental to anyone achieving their potential.
“Although my results after surgery were confronting, like any challenge in life, I changed my frame of mind and looked at the positives and how lucky I actually was.
“I am passionate about coming on board as an ambassador for The March Charge, making a stand against cancer to help prevent the disease and encouraging people to stay active.