And you thought 2020 was difficult enough with Covid and border closures. Throw in cancer, six months of chemotherapy, a second death scare, reactions to that cancer treatment, and you’ve got your year from hell.
But stupid ole cancer never thought it would encounter someone as strong, tough, tenacious, kind and prayerful as Gail Geeson.
The 49-year-old Sleepy Hollow horsewoman, who doesn’t drink or smoke, and is fitter than most her age, was surprisingly diagnosed with cancer on February 10.
After months of staring death in the face, Gail was two weeks ago cleared of the killer disease. That came as huge surprise because in May doctors thought the cancer had flared up and travelled through her system.
“They thought the cancer had spread to my stomach, because it had blown up. Things didn’t look good. They said I had about a seven per cent chance of living.
“If February’s news wasn’t bad enough, then this was virtually the last straw. I thought I was going to die, but then amazingly two weeks ago my biopsy came back negative and my bowel and liver were clean.
“I started six weeks of chemotherapy on Mother’s Day and then had my last dose two Mondays ago. I get my final scan this week to confirm it all,” a delighted Gail said.
She said she was still undergoing immune therapy to build back her immune system and she did have acne on her face as a result of her treatment.
“We have a couple of horses in at Redcliffe on Thursday and I might go if my face clears. I have terrible acne as a result of all my treatment finishing. It looks ugly but it’s way better than having to endure cancer,” Gail said.
“I’ve fought the hard battle and I’m almost through the other end. I have a greater appreciation for life now,” she added.
Her year from hell started last September when she lost a very close friend, and then three months later her mother passed away.
But now she said she has too much to live for and just wants to carry on her blissful harness racing life near the beach at Sleepy Hollow.
“Cancer doesn’t differentiate between anyone. The doctors thought I’d be the last one to contract the disease, and I would never have even thought I had it until I noticed some blood one day. I wasn’t even sick or feeling unwell.
“I went to the doctor as a precaution and then I got the news I didn’t want to hear ‘How can you have
this?’ he asked me. So, my advice to anyone out
there is if you suspect anything get a check-up, even if you do feel okay.
“If I can help just one person then this story is worth it,” Gail said.
In years gone by it was nothing for Gail and her Harness Racing Hall-Of-Fame husband, Vic Frost, to travel the 340km round trip from their Sleepy Hollow home to Redcliffe Paceway.
“It was tough with the cancer, because sometimes it would be mid to late evening before we got home. I would get tired very easily. And would only start to come right on the Sunday after the Thursday meeting. But horses and Vic are my life. That’s why I’ve never been happier.”
She said her cancer had brought out the best in people
“I can’t believe how wonderful people have been. When word got out, the kind gestures just kept
flowing. Flowers from Racing Clubs, and Kevin and Kay Seymour made me cry. As did the many other flowers.
“The support has been absolutely amazing. People like Kevin have really gone out of their way all year to make sure I’m okay. I’ve really seen the best of humanity this year. I’m humbled and will never ever forget the huge amount of kindness given to me. It’s been overwhelming,” Gail said.
Gail and Vic have six horses in work at the moment, including four currently racing – Apache Whitesox, Hollie, Fire And Ice, and Frost En Ice. Sugarkane and Dr Feelgood are in work and due to race soon.
They have three nominated for Thursday’s meeting. They are (with trainer, driver, and TAB opening odds):
Race 1: The Vic Frost trained and Matt Elkins driven Apache Whitesox (8) - $3.30 favourite.
Race 4: The Gail Geeson trained and Matt Elkins driven Hollie (3) - $4.20 second favourite.
Race 9: The Vic Frost trained and Justin Elkins driven Fire And Ice (1) - $21.