Five years ago, on Aug. 19, 2010, I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. As I reflect on the past five years I think about how lucky I am to have such wonderfully supportive family and friends. To celebrate my health I recently participated in something I had never done.

Carolyn WesleyI play tennis for fun and exercise. Although I run on the tennis court I have never been a runner. I have never liked it and frankly wasn’t “good” at it. But I started looking at people running over the past year and wished I liked doing it.

In May 2015, I started using an app on my phone that builds up non-runners to be able to run a 5K. In the beginning, I would alternate walking a couple minutes and then running a couple minutes for a total of about 20 minutes. The sessions gradually increased the amount of time I ran and decreased the amount of time I walked. I completed these walk/runs about three times a week for nine weeks.

On Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, I ran my first 5K! It was a very hot day but I didn’t stop at all and actually finished the run in 30 minutes and 45 seconds. After the run I felt a strong sense of accomplishment. I took small steps to build up my ability to complete something I had never done. I didn’t give up when it was hard or when I was tired. I really think the same is true for how I felt after being diagnosed. There have been hard times, but I have been able to focus on my health and my family, which has helped me tremendously.

I am already signed up for my next 5K!!

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About the Author

Carolyn Wesley grew up in the Milwaukee area within a very close family -- with her parents, Paul and Judy, an identical twin sister, Jeanette, her younger sister, Brenda, and younger brother, Gregory. Her father is Paul Joseph, who spent his career as our local expert meteorologist on TMJ-4 for 36 years. Carolyn was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer on August 19, 2010, three weeks after her identical twin sister, Jeanette Joseph, was diagnosed. The two years after being diagnosed, Carolyn went through two radioactive iodine treatments (RAI) and three surgeries (thyroidectomy and two left neck dissections). She has follow-up scans and blood work to monitor her thyroid cancer since it is still "detectable."

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