Friday , June 2 2023

Former blood cancer patient is now marathon runner

Ngo Lam, 42, of Nha Trang feels like he is living a new life after surviving blood cancer and getting into marathon running.

Lam was diagnosed with lymphatic blood cancer in 2017 after suffering from mouth sores and nosebleeds for a long time. The owner of construction firm had been a heavy drinker.

He underwent six cycles of chemotherapy and 25 cycles of radiation. His illness virtually left him bedridden.

“At first the doctor said I might have only three more months to live, and that I should remain optimistic and prepare for the future,” he recalls.

“But I did not want to surrender to fate.

“I lose weight and my hair, and did not recognize myself.”

Fortunately the treatment worked, but he was physically wasted.

The doctor advised him to do regular exercises to recover, but even walking 100 meters at that time was impossible for Lam in his condition.

But he overcame the pain and hopelessness whenever he thought about his family.

Gradually he was able to run a few hundred meters around his neighborhood. Instead of running on cement or asphalt, he walked on the beach or in the woods. The distance gradually increased to a kilometer, then three.

Half a year later he conquered five kilometers, a normal distance for a regular runner but a miracle for a cancer patient.

Lam also followed a vegan diet and received physical therapy.

More than a year after the cancer treatment, the doctor said Lam had recovered, though he still needed close monitoring.

“For me it has been a long journey. I changed my mindset and diet. I find joy and motivation in seeing my body improve day by day.”

He works out in the gym three times a week to rejuvenate his muscles and increase his strength. He combines short runs, uphill runs and variable pace runs during the week. Weekends are for long runs and trail running.

Lam finishes 42 kilometer in a marathon. Photo courtesy of Lam

Lam finishes a 42-kilometer full marathon in Gia Lai in 2022. Photo courtesy of Lam

Three years after being diagnosed with blood cancer Lam completed his first full marathon in Gia Lai.

People hardly realized he had been a cancer patient with a prognosis of three months left to live not long ago.

He runs a marathon every month now.

This weekend he and his family went to Hue for the VnExpress Marathon.

“I have not been to this city, and so I am very excited about the upcoming race.”

Lam plans to combine visits to monuments and other destinations in Hue.

Lam runs along Vung Tau beach. Photo courtesy of Lam

Lam runs along Vung Tau beach. Photo courtesy of Lam

“I am grateful to the disease for helping me change. I learned to be positive, and how to connect with nature. I am now 10 times stronger than I was before.”

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