In her latest blog post on the Breast Cancer Care website Nadjie talks about how cycling helped her through her chemotherapy treatment and explains why she can’t wait to ride in the Pink Ribbon Tour in London! You can read her full blog post below:

Sadly, most people have experienced something traumatic in their lifetime. When this happens, you have to think, ‘How can I go through this?’ People tell you it just takes time, and they support you in a positive way. But you find your own coping strategy, because no matter how reassuring someone is or what they say, it’s what’s inside you that helps you deal with it.

For me, cycling was my avenue to keep it all together.

In January 2015 I signed up for the RideTheNight cycle ride, and was diagnosed with breast cancer one month later. I had a target for my recovery and getting better, so having something to look forward to a couple of months down the line was really important to me. It stopped me from focusing on the negative too much.

I cycled through chemotherapy

I decided to continue cycling throughout my treatment, and did RideTheNight in between six rounds of chemotherapy.

Through any traumatic period in your life, if you have too much time to dwell on it, it can be tough to get through. Cycling gave me a purpose and a goal, and helped me both mentally and physically. Even when I was recovering from surgery, I got my husband to set my bike up in the bedroom on the turbo so I could cycle indoors.

Losing my eyelashes was like losing my identity

I didn’t think too much about the side effects of chemotherapy beforehand, but the thing I found hardest was losing my eyelashes. I’m of Turkish origin and I have really thick, long, black eyelashes. When they came out, I suddenly felt my face had no definition.

My face is my identity. For a lot of people, their hair is as well. When you lose both of those you think, ‘How am I going to feel good about myself?’ If you’re indoors and you haven’t got a wig on and someone knocks on the door, you hardly feel like opening it.

I found courses through Breast Cancer Care and they were fantastic. I learnt to tie things on my head and wear hats, it made everything so much easier. We’ve all felt it when we go to an interview or a party – when you feel good, everything else slots into place. You feel as good as what you can be, and your whole mood is positive.

My experience has spurred me on to help others

When you’re first diagnosed people tell you “Don’t google stuff,” and of course you do! But I knew nothing about breast cancer, and wanted to know what questions to ask the doctors. That’s how I first found Breast Cancer Care. From there, they’ve supported me throughout everything.

It’s not just about when you’re diagnosed, it’s a lifelong journey.

Whether it’s finding out about treatment or having treatment, and then after treatment when you lose the friendship and support of your medical team. All of a sudden you’re thrown back into the wicked world to get on with it – that’s when the Moving Forward course picks you up again.

It’s really important for me to help other people, because I was so grateful when other people helped me. It’s like this circle of support. Now I want to share my knowledge with others who are being diagnosed, which has driven me to support Breast Cancer Care.

As soon as I saw the Pink Ribbon Tour I wanted to be part of it

I’ve got a love of cycling. It’s like a drug! For me, it’s the perfect combination of physically and mentally feeling well, while doing something for a good cause. I’ve raised £10k cycling for charities over the past few years, and I’m not stopping there.

As soon as I saw the Pink Ribbon Tour I wanted to be part of it. Not just for the prestige of riding the closed-road route, but the fact that it’s a pivotal anniversary – the 25th anniversary of the Pink Ribbon. It was something that needed to be marked by a really good celebration, and what better way to be part of it than to ride on the same route through central London as the Women’s Tour professionals?

I have met so many inspirational women who all have their own reasons for fundraising and cycling, it’s like a massive family. Especially with women – it brings us together.

You make friends you know you’ll have for life, as you’ve been drawn together by the same goal.

My group of Pink Lipstick Ladies will be riding together on the 11 June. Ride with us and help more people with breast cancer get the vital support that I did.

Join Nadjie on the Pink Ribbon Tour and ride united through London for anyone affected by breast cancer.