Member story: staying in the saddle with metastatic breast cancer

Georgina Fyfe-Jamieson’s passion for cycling has led her on a two-wheeled odyssey to take charge of her treatment and an appreciation of the benefits of a tailored exercise regimen.

The journey began with her initial early breast cancer diagnosis in 2009.

‘Bikes have always been a massive part of my life, and I loved my work focusing on road safety, giving people the confidence to ride bikes,’ Georgie said.

‘When I was diagnosed with early breast cancer, I was determined to make it a part of my program to carry on cycling. It was essential for me to keep fit and healthy through my chemo.’

But eight years later she endured a significant setback.

‘I was lifting bikes into the car and felt pain in my back. I found a lump and went straight to my GP. Bone scans revealed the cancer had spread to my bones.’

Adding to the news was the realisation her back pain made riding a touring bicycle unbearable.

‘That was hard. It wasn’t doing any good for my mental health.’

Georgie had to do some convincing to get a referral to an exercise physiologist in order to find an exercise regime that was right for her body and circumstances.

‘I wanted a well-supported exercise plan and eventually I was referred to an exercise physiologist to explore what options might be possible for me.’

‘The exercise physiologist understood I wanted to be challenged but was mindful of my diagnosis. She suggested swimming and Pilates.

‘It was great. I felt so much better.’

It was the lure of the BCNA Ride Daylesford event that saw Georgie re-join the cycling fraternity.

‘I obviously couldn’t ride a standard bike, so a friend suggested I use her recumbent bike. It meant I wasn’t hurting my back, and it just felt so good to be riding again.’

‘Now I ride an electric bicycle, which is ideal because it doesn’t strain my back. And I’m riding a bike every day again.’

Georgie said getting back into the saddle has delivered immeasurable benefits.

‘I’ve always known the advantages of exercise, but this makes me feel like I have some control again. The exercise has been a great focusing tool for me. And there’s the social aspect. I’m outdoors, I’m physically active, and I’m walking with people, or riding with them or swimming with them.’

Georgie has simple advice for people who want to maintain their previously active lifestyle.

‘Be persistent. I had to push to get the referral to an exercise physiologist. And explore new avenues. I’ve been exposed to hydrotherapy and Pilates, and they have both been invaluable to me and my journey.’

Issue 85
Spring 2019