Fossavatn Ski Marathon

26. Stay positive

by Vladislav Kalous –

The year 2017 was not easy for me as I had been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. Luckily, as I was told by my typically cynical doctor: “if you should select a cancer, this is a good one.”

There was a clear medication and I went through chemotherapy and radiotherapy for half a year until the end of November. Although I was running orienteering regularly before the disease, you can imagine my body was destroyed after all that. I wanted to do sports again and decided to get back in shape via cross country skiing. The beginnings were slow and difficult. I started with seven kilometers. It was quite enough, but I got better during the winter.

In mid of March I went to a final check to confirm that the disease was gone. I received the results after four days of waiting. Everything what should have been cured, was fine, but the doctors were interested in some other suspicious “dot” in the scan which required further investigation. I was asked to come in two months for “another final” check. This was something I did not expect to hear. Two more months of uncertainty…

Worldloppet race in Iceland had been my wish for some time, so “why should I wait, when else should I go?” I said to myself. And with that I bought a number for the 50km Fossavatnsgangan 2018, my first Worldloppet race.

I love Iceland, it was my 5th time there, but the first time in winter. I arrived to Ísafjörður on Thursday evening, collected the number, prepared the skis, checked the ski stadium on Friday with all that cloudy and windy weather, with all that ice in the face, and looked forward for Saturday.

Saturday. Wow. The morning was perfect – blue sky, no wind, -2 degrees. Who ordered this weather? It was the most beautiful skiing of my life. I was almost in tears when arrived at the finish line, so happy after all that sh*t of the previous year.

It helped. The “final final” check was successful. And my hematology doctor wrote to my files: “Skiing 50 km races” to keep track of how good they were in the treatment. I know they were; my family as well, but so was the Fossavatnsgangan. Thank you, friends in Iceland.

I noticed that there were two very important things in the treatment. First, always staying positive. Easy to say, but I could really see how this was helping. Second, every problem like that is easier to be solved when one has some physical fitness. Fossavatnsgangan contributes to both, so when I had the opportunity to come in 2019, I did not wait at all. I was really looking forward to 2020 race as well, so I did it on 18th April as planned, only at home and on roller skis. And, I’m coming next year too. Looking forward.

Thank you. Stay positive.

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