Below she shares her story of resilience and determination.
The first time I experienced extreme pain in my leg was when I struggled round Ironman 70.3 in Staffordshire, England in June 2017. But I could feel that something was not right even before then.
The pain was getting progressively worse and I thought it was a sports injury and never thought to get it checked out, as being a personal trainer I considered myself physically fit. Shortly after the race I relocated to Zurich and I was diagnosed a couple of years later when I could no longer walk on it!
After the move to Zurich, I continued to suffer from leg pains and was unable to walk long distances, but I thought it was due to age or long-term injury from an international long distance running career spanning almost 30 years. I went to the GP at 3pm on Wednesday afternoon for the results of an MRI after just one visit to the doctor, and they referred me to the oncology department at the hospital the next morning for two full days of tests.
I was diagnosed with a Giant Cell Tumour of the Bone and had limb-salvage surgery in Zurich at the end of July 2019, just three weeks after my diagnosis. 12cm of my left femur was replaced with cement and a partial bone graft.
The results of my surgery were amazing and meant that, as an Ironman athlete and personal trainer, I was back running on my leg just seven months later!
It was only 4 x 100m shuffle, but a run is still a run. I am very lucky to have zero loss of flexibility and just three years post-surgery, I completed the Zurich 10km in 1hr 26mins, which was a main goal of mine.
I am still under medical supervision, but this time in England after having recently relocated back here. l will continue to have six-monthly MRIs and X-rays. Myself, my medical team and my physiotherapist are keeping a look out for recurrence until July 2024, when the risk decreases, but I will still have regular checks after that.
Since my diagnosis I have been able to return to personal training quite quickly and I am fortunate to have full leg function, a new career writing business educational courses for surgeons, doctors and medical professionals and I have also gained a whole new set of friends through the Bone Cancer Research Trust.
There have been worrying times with scans and X-rays as there has been the suggestion of more surgery and I also had to obtain a second opinion, but fortunately for me there was only a cyst/fluid near the bone graft, which now seems to have mostly disappeared.
The main thing that has given me strength is my self-belief, determination and that I just wanted my life back. I once again lead a very active life which is not unlike what I was doing before my diagnosis, involving swimming, cycling and running. Only now I do it with a new femur near a specialist hospital!
I hope I can continue what I do for as long as possible and inspire people along the way.
My message to other patients would be don't lose hope and always believe you are capable of so much more than you think you are, whether that's in relation to your fitness, career or studies. Never give up hope even when things are tough, and don't be defined by your rare disease.
Despite being physically fit and putting it down to a sports injury, early diagnosis would mean that the tumour may have been smaller, and the surgery may not have been as extreme. It is important to raise awareness because I wouldn't want ANYONE to go through the pain and uncertainty that I went through.
I have made some great news friends who have helped me and the Bone Cancer Research Trust have been great for practical support, which is what you need most of when you're diagnosed with this devastating and painful disease.