I HAD thought about writing my column this week from the Alps.

After a clear scan my first thought was I really want to get back out there.

But then reality hit.

After weeks of stress around these scans my body decided to shut down. 

The constant running over the last few weeks had caught up with me.  

This is a natural response related to our fight or flight system - how we manage stress and our stress response. 

I could feel my body starting shut down and then it went. 

One bike ride at 4am to avoid the stress of London roads and a week sat indoors. 

Not how I had visualised my first week of knowing my scan is stable. 

I knew I had to let my body rest, however after years of losing time in hospital I am not great at sitting back to rest.  

I don’t want to lose a second now, I want to make the most of every breath, however this is not always possible.

I need to learn how I manage my mind when things out of my control render me stuck in my house.  

This sounds easy but when my master’s dissertation is on cancer and spinal cord injury, and my talks are focused on cancer and paralysis, it is sometimes hard to break free from the emotions attached to these. 

That’s why the bike means so much to me.

It’s not that I like to go cycling, I NEED to go cycling.  

This week I felt I needed it more than any other, but I could hardly move my body.

I was in so much pain I could only find calm on my bed looking at the roof with breaks of dragging myself to write my dissertation.  

As I lay looking at the roof, I tell myself what the next few weeks are going to look like and what friends I will try visit.

Then I get a text message from my friend from Radiotherapy. 

However, it wasn’t him.

It was a message from his phone - to inform me that he had passed away. 

For those who have followed my column you might remember Stony, my street artist friend who had a brain tumour when we met on our first day of radiotherapy. 

We bonded in radiotherapy and lived every session together.

But both bring vulnerable and Covid meant I hadn’t seen him over the last few years, but this summer I was going to visit.   

That text message broke me.

He was the fourth person I knew to have passed in the last two weeks, but Stony passing really hit me hard as we both rung that bell together in 2019.

We had both got through radiotherapy together, and now I will never see him again. 

His artwork hangs on my wall, so I see him every day but the reality of knowing I won’t see him or the others I knew again has hit me very hard.  

It has been a powerful and hard lesson for me.

I am sure I am not alone in saying that daily life can be challenging right now.

For me, I feel a little bit stuck between the world of high-performance sport and life.

One moment I’m sharing the stress of my friends phoning me about politics in sport, then on the other call there’s news of friends passing. 

Ever since that first diagnosis 12 years ago, that has been my life.

I am still learning how I manage the emotions of living both sport and cancer.  

For now, I need to simply pause and let my body rest and absorb the last several weeks.

I need to let my body recover so I can push again with life. 

As I sit looking at Stoney’s artwork on my wall I know that I owe it to him to keep fighting every day. 

RIP to my four friends who are no longer with me on this life journey.