It started with a double stroke.
This created a domino-like effect in Bob Carey-Grieve's health unravelling but what he considers an incredible stroke of luck.
It is why he now runs, step-by-step building towards his first half-marathon.
It has also been the catalyst for why Bob now voraciously reads, working through pages of stories he might not otherwise normally explore.
Then-aged 42, Bob did not realise he was having a stroke. He did not have all the tell-tale symptoms and he had no underlying high-risk conditions.
Once he finally sought medical advice, doctors discovered a hole in Bob's heart that required surgery. Medication created internal bleeding that then unearthed a bowel cancer tumour might not have been found until its late stages.
Run Melbourne on July 28 will mark one year since Bob finished six months' chemotherapy.
Running has been key to helping Bob recover mentally and physically in his hometown Ballan.
"After all that, being so physically and mentally drained - having higher levels of cortisol for so long and higher levels of anxiety in dealing with all that - I felt a bit flat. I thought about how to pick myself up with maybe a marathon, but maybe in two half-marathons," Bob said.
"There's something almost meditative about running.
I'm burning up the excess jittery energy I've got...you're always astounding yourself how invincible you feel after a run.
Bob started with a gentle couch to five-kilometre app on his phone to start running. It was while home for Christmas in Scotland that Bob found The Stroke Foundation was looking for recruits to tackle Run Melbourne. He decided to give it a go.
Bob starts his mornings with a run and finishes his days with a commitment to read 50 pages of a book in a bid to sharpen his mind.
A couple of books to help with a running strategy have suggested the 'runners high' euphoric feeling does not happen after every run. It does for Bob, who said he made sure he got to experience the first waves of sunlight peeking through the hills midway into his runs.
Bob wants his Run Melbourne efforts to raise money and awareness for The Stroke Foundation, particularly in helping people to recognise the FAST signs of stroke: check if the FACE is drooping; can the person lift their ARMS (or legs); check for slurred SPEECH; TIME to get help is essential.
He delayed his journey to hospital because he did not realise you only needed one symptom to urgently need help, not all at once.
Bob confessed he went back to bed and consulted "Dr Google" when he struggled with movement in his arms and legs. He had thought sleep might help.
"You refuse to believe what it is. You think you're not likely to have that problem, like a stroke," Bob said. "I was 42 - one-third of people who have a stroke are working age.
"It can happen to anyone at any time...the way I look at it was I was very, very lucky. They wouldn't have found the hole in my heart, they wouldn't have found my internal bleeding and possible wouldn't have found the tumour until it was too late."
A bonus side-effect from running for Bob is that it has all-but-eliminated pain in an arthritic knee.
Uncharacteristically overweight after chemotherapy, Bob has now built up muscles around his knee and in his leg so he no longer creaks and strains with walking or sitting.
This all adds to Bob's motivation.
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