Having four major health issues and three surgeries in the past year would discourage most people from competing in a world championship event.
But not Jane Hall Carter.
The Peabody native and her husband, St. John's Prep fencing coach Jim Carter, flew to Egypt last Friday, where she competed in the World Veterans Fencing Championship at the Cairo Stadium Complex.
On Monday, Carter took 10th out of 37 competitors in the Vet-50 Women's Foil competition in Cairo. Ranked eighth in the world coming in, she beat Enza Saracino of Italy in the Table of 32 before losing a very close bout to Russia's Anait Shaginyan, 10-9, in the Table of 16. In doing so, Carter was the top American finisher in the Veterans class (ages 50-59).
Carter earned a medal on Tuesday, taking bronze with her USA teammates Lynn Botelho, Diane Reckling, Jenette Starks-Faulkner, Joanne Stevens and Anne-Marie Walters, after finishing third out of nine teams in the Vet-ABC Team Women's Foil. They lost to Great Britain in the semifinals, but rebounded to defeat Italy, 30-19, to capture third place.
In order to qualify for the championships, there are three events held in the United States. The two top two results at those events are then taken into consideration. Carter was unable to compete in the first one because she was having surgery, but took third in Salt Lake City, Utah in April and followed that up with a win at the Nationals in Columbus, Ohio in June.
"I guess I'm a little crazy, but I feel great now," Carter said before flying out. "It's been a difficult year for me. The doctor cleared me to go, and I'm so excited. I'm ready and feel up for it. Last year (5th place) I really felt miserable because I was on chemotherapy. That's all behind me now and I'm very happy."
The health problems included a large tumor in her abdomen that turned out to be benign but aggressive, so it was treated with chemotherapy for three months which left her tired and weak.
"At Worlds last October my energy was down, and I felt like I had no legs," said Carter. "A follow up MRI revealed an undiagnosed aortic block right above my legs."
Carter was on a heart monitor last February and then had a stent, but she wasn't out of the woods yet. Doctors discovered nodules on her thyroid and removed part of it.
All of those problems didn't discourage her from training to challenge herself once again.
Carter started out as a member of the Tanner City Fencing under legendary coach Joe Pechinsky. She had an outstanding career at the University of Pennsylvania where she was a three time All-American and is in the Quaker Hall of Fame. In 1987 she won the Junior Pan American individual foil championship and helped the US team grab the silver.
She has been fencing for almost 40 years and finished second individually and helped the American team take the gold at the World Vets in 2017.
With her fencing done at the championships, the Carters now plan to take in the sites in the historic area before returning home on October 12.
"It's our anniversary and this trip is a great way to celebrate," said Carter.