Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,964 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Who would have thought a year go that an overweight journalist would have two important things in common with one of the world's greatest athletes?

Bikes and cancer.

Armstrong's bike helped him recover from cancer. As it turns out, my bike helped me get in shape to face mine.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer three days ago.

The doctor seemed as surprised as I was. I went in for a routine physical and a blood test revealed higher than normal PSAs, a protein produced by a distressed prostate. But, the PSAs dropped when I took antibiotics to treat a possible infection. They remained only slightly high, but that was explained, we thought, when he measured the gland during the biopsy and found that it was enlarged. Large prostates have slightly high PSAs. So, both the doctor and I expected good news from the biopsy. But, that was not to be.

It's odd what happens when the phone rings at work and it's a doctor telling you that you have cancer. The words after that are fuzzy. That's why he phones the diagnosis first _ no one hears a thing after that, he said. So, he tells you so you can accept it and then meet with him later to get down to the business of developing a strategy. He did the right thing.

I was able to ask how advanced it was. I never had symptom one. He said the pathologist assigns a number to what appears in the microscope. Near normal cells get a low number. Progressed cancer gets a higher number. As I understood the doctor, mine are somewhere in between, which indicates it's still more likely than not the cancer is isolated. Final word on that will await examination of lymph nodes around my prostate if I choose to have surgery. The other option is radiation. I won't discuss things with him more until Tuesday afternoon.

So, I finished work, came home and got my bike and rode 50 miles. My friend Jeff rode part of the way with me. The rest of the time I rode with my thoughts.

I am a real cyclist now. I know that because one of the main things that bothered me most about this whole thing was the fact I planned to ride the Mile of Smiles Century in McLean County, Il., at the end of July. It was to be my first Century, and I've been working toward it for months, spinning at Gold's over the winter and now riding on the road. The day I was told I have cancer is also the day I turned more than 1,300 miles on a bike this year. I turned 1400 today.

The doctor said I'll be out of commission a month after the operation. Who knows how long it will take me to work back to ride long distances. But, he said he waits about six weeks for the surgery. That means it will probably be after the Ride and Stride, which is only 60 miles. I so wanted to do the 100. I felt bad until a friend mentioned I should just go ride a century before the surgery. And, that's exactly what I'm going to do.

I'm going to ask Geno, the president of the Wheelers bike club who organizes the Miles of Smiles, to make a map of one of the past routes. They are still marked on the asphalt. I see the Miles of Smiles symbols on the roads when I ride around the lakes. So, a map giving me an idea of where the next turns will be is all I need.

One morning Saturday morning before I go into the hospital, I'm going out to the starting line and ride 100 miles. I'm going to keep going until I arrive back at the finish where Geno printed on the road, "100 turns. Now you smile." And, I will.

Thanks in advance for your prayers. Everything will be OK. Heck, everything is OK. God is good.

See you on the road.

Anyone else been through this?

"Ice Man"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
356 Posts
I was diagnosed with prostate cancer towards the end of 2004. To distill the story, I had external radiation therapy followed by an implant of radiactive seeds in my prostate. I made the decision to avoid the traditional surgery after lots of research. All is well now.

You might want to explore alternatives to surgical removal of your prostate. As for riding, I took a fifteen mile ride three days after the implants with no discomfort. Then I reread the instructions and noticed that they recommended no bicycle for three weeks. Oh well.

No matter what you choose, feel happy that this is one of the least dangerous cancers. We are lucky.
 

·
Misfit Toy
Joined
·
23,437 Posts
I have no doubt, with your attitude, you are going to be OK. I believe a positive outlook is a big part of recovery.

Good luck on your century, and blessings and good luck with your treatment.
 

·
Spicy Dumpling
Joined
·
9,723 Posts
I'm a 17 year survivor of Rhabdomyosarcoma (say that fast) of the prostate. It's a different type of prostate cancer than the 'normal' type, it is usually seen in children under 10. I was 27 then, I'm 44 now and have been cancer free since 1989. Attitude is a lot of the treatment and you definitely have a head start on that count! I have two friends who have had the same treatment as you are planning and both of them ride. It looks like you have found it early and are heading in the right direction. Cancer will change your life, no doubt about it. How it changes is up to you and those around you. It changed my life for the better. I found myself, my true friends and my wife.

There are a lot of survivors on this board and I'm sure they can and will help in any way they can. I wish I was closer to your area, I'd ride along with you.

Good luck and keep us informed.
Vaughn....
 

·
RoadBikeReview's Member
Joined
·
5,513 Posts
I wouldn't be able to even comprehend that... wow.
I'm so, so sorry.

I haven't been through it, though a couple years one of my friend's parents had cancer... It was a 4 year ordeal, and stressed them to the limit, it truly amazes me though, the effect a positive attitude can have on the successful outcome.

If you want a riding partner for the century, I'm quite willing to come along, I can give you my contact data if you want, PM me.

-estone2
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Just about a year ago, at 63, I started the 1st of 12 sessions of chemo, ending in August, followed by surgery delayed to mid-November due to Hurricane Wilma roaring through here 3 days before the originally planned surgery date: All power out, communications out, etc...
Contrary to you, I waited far too long, ignored obvious symptoms, and after a psa of 42, the biopsy was as depressing with a Gleason index of 8, out of 10! I really felt stupid and yet stoical. For the 1st time I understood how people live with the knowledge of possible imminent death and yet seem so courageous or philosophical, or is it just resignation?
But I didn't give up, which surprised me because I always thought I lived in a bit of a depressed state. Well that sure gave me a kick in the butt. During the chemo, which was in cycles of 2 sets 1 week apart with a rest of 3 weeks, I would force myself to bike even if it was for 20 or 30 minutes around the various 'hoods, as many days as I could during the 'rest' periods. I'm convinced it helped me physically and even more importantly, mentally. It was exhausting and I loved it.
When the chemo was done, I increased slowly the riding time to about an hour in the 8 to 10 weeks before surgery. In fact the delay caused by Wilma gave me plenty more time to ride and I was getting relatively strong, not doing the 'hoods any longer but my usual roads around the county. So I was pedling right up to the day before scalpel day. And in good shape. By then the psa was down to 2!
The UM doctors who had come up with the idea of doing chemo before surgery were right. When I asked the Oncologist why doing Chemo before surgery instead of the reverse, he said there was no point to surgery if I didn't respond to chemo. The cancer was advanced and rediation was not even considered.
I'm surprised you're going for surgery as yours is not in an advanced stage. Ask your Dr about Chemo. As about the Radioactive implants, a friend went that route years ago and now he's got burning pain. Sorry, Centuryx3 I don't mean to alarm you. Everyone is different.
Walley, try avoiding surgery... incontinence, impotence as you know are more than likely... my surgeon says my incontinence should taper off completely in few more weeks. There again, biking helps by working the abdominal muscles. Impotence is more a question of loss of libido than actual mechanics it seems, for me anyway... The raunchiest scenes in movies leave me...unmoved.
2 weeeks ago, the psa was hardly readable... BUT, it doesn't mean it's over for ever of course. Just have to learn to live with this Damocles sword hanging over your head.
Great couple we make, my companion (since there's no more sex involved, girlfriend doesn't seem right) with her breast cancer and my prostate cancer under one roof...
So, 8 weeks after surgery I really, really relished the day I got on the bike for a spin around the 'hood again. Now I'm almost back to my normal riding routine of old, doing 500 to 600 miles a month.

So Walley, don't hang up the bike.

Cheers and all the best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
I am a regular reader but very infrequent poster on this forum, but I really need to reply to your recent diagnosis. First of all, I'm sorry you got that diagnosis. It came out of left field, I'm sure. First off,dont panic. You are a journalist, so I know you have researched the bejeebers out of this subject, and undoubtedly you have found out that there is more info available than you could ever digest.


I dont know where you live, but there is a "robotic" prostate surgery that seems to have good results. My father in law had it two years ago at age 78 and was chopping wood later that week.

Radiation is much better now than it used to be. Due to advanced imaging technology, the oncologist can treat just a very small area compared to ten years ago.
I'm a radiation therapist and our patients have little to zero side effects these days.
Many guys get some external beam radiation and then get the seed implants.

The good news is that this is a very treatable cancer. If youve been getting regular checkups, it was probably caught very early.

Anyway, do your research, and if I can answer any questions regarding radiation, please let me know.

Guess I'd better end by saying I'm NOT a doctor and can only speak in generalities.

Best 'o luck and God bless.
Don
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
356 Posts
It occurs to me that my advice to "explore alternatives" without recommendations was incomplete. I just dug up a title that I read prior to making a decision. You might take a look at "Prostate Cancer-A Survivor's Guide" by Don Kaltenbach. It is slanted towards the radiation/implant regimen, so read it with that knowledge. It contains lots of useful information to help you make sense of all the lab results.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,964 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks!

Thanks for the kind words and support. I don't know exactly what to do yet. Still gathering information. I'm not questioning at all that something must be done. Denial doesn't enter in. But what to do is unclear. Dad had radiation and so far as I know, never had a problem. My Gleason's are 6 and my PSAs were only 3.9 after antibiotics knocked back the infection that was present. That is only slightly high PSAs and Gleasons in the middle, no appparent growths on the sonogram, nothing could be felt. All signs point to early detection. Luck as it turns out. After losing more than 100 pounds, I read a book called Younger Next Year on fitness and nutrition to see us from our 50s to the 80s. It recommended a physical so I got one.

So, I'm reading a lot. Thanks for your input. I can use all I can get.

Ice Man
 

·
Zeppelin/Ultegra Rider
Joined
·
930 Posts
To anybody out there wanting to ride with "Walleye", PM me. He is a good friend, and I'm sure you'll all like the guy. I have the tentative date for the ride, and location. Heck, I might even be able to put somebody up the night before the ride. The plan is for a non-aggressive century, as after all, it will be Scott's first century (but not last.)

Scott, I hope you don't mind me posting this, email me if you want this deleted.
 

·
Still On Steel
Joined
·
2,396 Posts
You don't ride alone.

Scott,

My cancer was at the other end (oropharynx, or base of tongue) but yeah, I've been through it. I'm one of many who have been through it. Me, Lance Armstrong, countless others ... and now you. You don't ride alone.

And you never will, at least not unless you prefer to, anyway. As has been mentioned, there are a number of cancer survivors on this board and I'm sure most if not all of them will be more than willing to help you in any way they can -- I know I am.

One particularly relevant, and excellent, support group that you might want to look into is Cyclists Combating Cancer, at www.ridetolive.org

Best wishes to you, now and always.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,240 Posts
I don't want to make a political thread out of this, but if we could spend a fraction of the money we have wasted in Iraq on cancer research....I digress...

Anyway, I am upset to hear of your diagnosis. No doubt, not as much as you. I admire your willingness to let cycling be the avenue to which to focus your recovery. What better method of recovery!!! I know you will recover, because you are positive, fit, and ready for the challenge. If, God forbid, the day comes that I receive such news, you as many others, will be my inspiration to fight through it, and get back out there on my 56cm Felt.

Thank you for your positive attitude, and keeping things in perspective for all of us. God bless you, and looking forward to hearing about that completed Century soon!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Hey Walley, Sorry about the diagnosis,

I was diagnosed 4 years ago and decided to have the prostate removed. My Gleason and PSA numbers were slighly higher than yours, and my reasoning for surgery was to just have it out and done with. I was out of work and out of the saddle for 6 weeks. Given the same choise now I would do the same thing. Surgery does have its downsides though - having a catheter for 2 weeks and just moving around for the first week is tough - so the robotic surgery sounds interesting from just from a recovery standpoint. My PSA has been 0.0 since surgery and I have had the good fortune of not having any of the possible side effects - incontinence and erectile disfunction.

You seem to have a good attitude and I think that was important in my recover, so keep the faith and keep on riding.

Best Wishes
Bill Stupak
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,964 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
surgery it is

I weighed alternatives. Radiation is seductive. No surgery, less down time, etc. But from what I've read, radiation patients have a tendency to do as well as surgery for about the first 15 years, then problems develop. I'm only 54 and my family has a tendency to live a long time. The cancer is very limited, I'm stage T1, so delaying and trying radiation seems only to give it more time and I give up the advantage I have on it now from early detection. I'm told radiation also changes the prostate to the point it is hard to get out all of it afterward. So, if the cancer is persistent, then I'm handicapping the surgeon later. Radiation for older men seems the way to go, but not for a youngster like me.

My doctor says he has great sucess with saving the nerve bundles that cause erections...no guarantee but if there are problems, there are other things that can be done to bring back potency. Same with incontinence.

The date is June 22. That gives me time to ride the century on May 27, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, and another organized ride the Saturday before the surgery.

I'm riding every day the weather allows and it has to be really bad if I stay home. A few miles is better than none. I want to give the doctor the best me I can to work on.

I've lost more weight, I feel strong, I can stay up with the faster riders. I've never felt better.

Thanks for your words of advice and support. Bike riders are the best.

I love the guy who signs off, push down hard, go forward. It is that simple.

Have a great day.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
6,492 Posts
26 years after my brother had "six months to live"....

...he's feeling great, swimming long distances in the open ocean and still playing pretty competitive basketball in his mid-50s. Every case is different, and he certainly realizes that chemo and surgery saved his life, but he and his doctors gave a lot of credit to his conditioning and positive approach.
By the time you reach my age (61), you know a fair number of prostate cancer survivors. I counted them up the other day when a good friend was diagnosed with it (he's still researching and deciding what to do), and I know nine guys who were diagnosed in the last 10 years and are doing fine with various courses of treatment. One's a calf roper in senior rodeos, one's a sheriff's deputy still on active duty and one did the Death Ride last year at 62. Your chances are good--don't let this get you down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
284 Posts
LAF Assistance

If you wish, I am on the board of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and would be glad to put in touch with the Foundation's data bank and have them provide some personal attention to your poroblem. If you are comfortable you have the right combination to go forward, that is great. If you wish some additional info, please get in touch with me at: [email protected].

God bless and LiveSTRONG
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
657 Posts
Well now, at 7:00am today I took a group photo of 45+ cyclists in front of the Cancer Institute at the hospital where I work. This 140 mi ride began several years ago with one of our own 2 time cancer survivors who, inspired by Lance, gathered some 10 bikers for the 1st ride. Now w/ major sponsorship, this ride celebrates victory over cancer in a big way. Many of the riders are physicians & medical personnel touched by this stand for strength against odds. I will post photos Monday.

Good luck with your treatment walleyeangler & stay w/ the bike. Funny how simple things can save you.

http://www.memorialhealth.com/aci/
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top