Triathlete Arthur Connell joins Helen to raise awareness of bowel cancer and mental health. The successful age group triathlete from North Wales first got into triathlon in his late teens. He says he was a picture of health when he was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2021. After three traumatic surgeries, Arthur is now in remission. But the diagnosis has completely changed his attitude towards triathlon, training and life as a whole.
11:15 Arthur explains how he got into triathlon in the year 2000 but only did it for a few years before having a break for a decade and then getting back into it when he was 29. But And the slippery slope he went down when he threw himself into triathlon and became obsessed by it. 'You can end up losing the plot in terms of why you got into it. I was addicted to trying to get the success from it. But I would say don't live it like I lived it because overall it has had a negative effect on me.
19:00 If you are sacrificing time with your family or relationships, you have to question how much are these sacrifices worth it? Is it really going to make that much difference to your happiness? I think people need to be honest with themselves, so if people notice that there are negatives coming into their life because their drive for their success in the sport, you have to sit down and think whether it is worth it or not.
21:30 Arthur talks about how he felt ahead of being diagnosed with bowel cancer in August 2021. "I was very selfish and greedy in life and with the sport all the way up until I got diagnosed with bowel cancer. But being fit and strong and being busy and wanting to get back into my training did delay me carrying out the FIT test. My wife reminded me a lot of the time to get this test done. I thought it was just hemerroids. There was no way I had a tumour.
24:45 Arthur talks about the mental struggles he has faced since his diagnosis. 'You're just in a mess, but your brain chemistry is tuned in to the wrong channel and it doesn't last for ever.'
29:30 Arthur talks about some of the symptoms to look out for including changes in your bowel habits and blood in your stools. "I was the picture of health and I was not unwell. I cannot emphasise enough, you have to spot cancer when you are well."
34:00 Arthur's return to training and how he is finding getting back into training with an ileostomy and how other athletes are inspiring him.
40:00 Why Arthur has a new respect for everyone around him at events and races 'It opens your eyes a bit more. You look through the field at a race and you don't know who some of the nurses are who have come off a shift and it just makes you think that anyone who gets out of bed and tried to make the world a better place."
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