Cancer can affect anyone – golfer MacRae
Heather MacRae was in a wheelchair in June, had just undergone a hysterectomy after cervical cancer diagnosis.
Unable to walk and too weak to make even a cup of coffee, a return to the golf course seemed almost unthinkable. Survival was all she thought about.
But five months later, 36-year-old Scot is preparing to participate in the Women's PGA Cup in Texas from October 22-26.
Here she tells BBC Scotland that she cannot walk, takes a heartbreaking decision and represents her country.
There were complications; I couldn't walk & # 39;
MacRae found out in March that she had cervical cancer after she told no one she was going to the hospital for a biopsy. The diagnosis, she told BBC Scotland earlier this year, "was all a bit of a shock." In June, just two weeks after winning the Women & # 39; s PGA Professional Championship, she was operated on.
The operation went according to plan. I was on Friday and came home on Sunday – much faster than I thought. The following weeks were pretty grim. I went from being active to someone who held my arm when I walked for five minutes or made a cup of coffee. Even today when I'm practicing, I'm from & # 39; oh, I can wear the practice balls; a few months ago I couldn't do that & # 39 ;. It's those little things you don't think about, like going to the supermarket.
I received a phone call stating that everything looked good, but had to go back about six weeks after the operation because there were some complications and I could not walk. I was in a wheelchair. My nieces pushed me, enjoyed it, and it was a difficult time, but you can't help it. When I was back in the hospital recently, it reminded you, but you are there too and think that I was really lucky – there are people who don't get that call & # 39 ;. It could have been much worse. Yes, it's bad and it has changed my life, but it could have been a lot worse.
& # 39; I am not good for my family if I am not healthy & # 39;
At one of her previous consultations, MacRae was told that she might need a hysterectomy. That advice changed several times in the course of the following weeks, before it was confirmed that the operation to remove her uterus would give her the best possible chance of getting the cancer out of her system.
That was a difficult time, but my reaction was simply: "How do we just deal with it? How do we remove all cancers? How can I get fit and healthy again?" It is what I wanted. I didn't want to have to live with ifs, buts and maybes. I just wanted me to get fit and healthy and I'm not good for my family if I'm not. I have good cousins that I can take care of and with which I can play, so … My sister's two girls are 10 and 12, and they have always seen me as very strong and active, and I didn't want them to to think that if you have cancer, that it is – a bad end. I wanted them to see me as a good role model.
It is one of those things that will always be there – albeit right now in my life that having children was not at the forefront. Sometimes you see children running around or you are with friends and they talk about it and you think about it a bit. But it makes you more sensitive to things. I always think that if you make the right choice at that moment for the right reasons, you will not look back and you will not regret it.
& # 39; It's all I wanted to play golf & # 39;
After being warned that she was unable to play golf for months, MacRae made her comeback in August at the PGA Fourball Championship in Farleigh before participating in the Scottish PGA Championship in Downfield the following week. Remarkably, she closes this month by playing in the Women & # 39; s PGA Cup in Texas.
Before the operation, I had to go to these meetings and I thought that six to eight weeks was a long time out, but they were six months before and twelve months before, and I was like that – really not! I just tried to stay as fit as possible. I didn't rush – I just did my best to take care of myself. I only played nine holes for the first time in the day for the Fourball and I was absolutely buzzing.
My goal has always been to be fit for the PGA Cup because I qualified for it and I am certainly on schedule. It's the first time they've ever had it and it's a team of five PGA professionals from Great Britain in Texas, where I went to college years ago. I'm excited because, apart from the Solheim Cup, it's the only time you'll ever play for your country. At the beginning of this year, before there were any health problems, that was all I wanted to do in the field of golf.
I love competitions and traveling and before that I was training hard and my game felt really good. Would I go to the Tour School? I'm not sure, because there aren't that many events to play and I think that as you get older, it's getting harder to get sponsored, so it's hard to justify. Also because I teach more. This year I had a few invitations to play on Tour – maybe people just feel sorry for me – but I couldn't handle either. But they said that when I am ready to play, I can come back. But when I go, I want to compete and play – so that's only next year. "