|Me, (left) crossing the line to win the Concorde RCC 2nd Cat RR, July, 1958|
I'd been cycling with the Beacon Roads CC for almost sixty years, and although I was sort of aware of the possibility that I might not be going on club runs in sixty years time, I couldn't actually see what was going to stop me. Granted, I wasn't going as fast as fifty years ago, but regular reviews of my gear ratios allowed me to climb pretty well any hill that wasn't actually vertical, and I regarded myself, aged 75, as virtually indestructible. It was a bit of a shock, then, that less than six weeks after this ride, and without any symptoms or any indication that anything was wrong, I'd been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
|Me, following my stomach, Beacon RCC 107km Cotswold Audax, June 2011|
Regaining fitness after months off cycling has turned out to be a bit of a chore. I have sweat cobs, whimpered, blasphemed, returned home with average speeds that I will never, ever, reveal to anyone, and sat at home expecting the Angel of Death to turn up at the front door at any moment. But bit by bit things have changed and a few weeks ago I managed three whole hours on the bike, only a bit slower than I was last year. Next year I shall be as indestructible as I ever was, well, as near as dammit.
I am of course, very lucky that my cancer was picked up at the well-man clinic at my doctors. Although it's very aggressive, my treatment is giving it a good kicking, or at least fighting a draw, and I don't have any intention of allowing it to send me belly-up. Other guys, though, aren't so fortunate and it's the most common cancer among men in the UK. 40,000 cases are diagnosed every year and 250,000 men are living with it. Being geriatric and permanently bewildered, I've managed to miss the fact that it's Movember, and I should be growing a mustache and raising money for the prostate charity. I got too late to register and decided to do this blog by way of compensation.
It's thought that every guy, over 80, probably has prostate cancer in some degree or other, though more men die with it than from it. Prostate Cancer UK is the charity that works hard to combat the disease and deserves support. If you'r interested, the link is below.