Anyone else fighting cancer or coming back from cancer?

Hey guys! I’m training to race again this year after being diagnosed with, and fighting lymphoma last year.

Anyone else in a similar situation? Any advice or council? I’d love to hear from you!

On advice from some other folks here on the forum, I’m documenting my journey back on my blog. You can see it here: ex-prosays.blogspot.com

Thanks!
-Hugh

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Hey Hugh,

Well, kinda. I had Hodgkins Disease as a kid, and started my lifetime of cycling a couple of years later. So whilst I’m definitely one to know about training during or in recovery, I can vouch for life as a competitive cyclist being part of the ‘survivors club’. I live with minor side effects from radiotherapy which is managed with Salbutamol and Thyroxine, but otherwise manage fine. I still have annual check ups - this year is my 30 year anniversary and it’s nice to know I’m kept an eye on.

My riding buddy was less lucky than me, but throughout his illness we continued to ride, just at what pace he could, including the Tour of Flanders Sportive after a week of Chemo.

I’ve often thought training/looking after myself was the least I can do given the chance I have that others haven’t. I’ve shared your thought of ‘what if I could show other survivors what can be done’ and taken that responsibility very seriously.

I wish I had some practical advice, but all I can say is having read your blog I wish you every good wish, and good luck with the return to racing. I’d say you’re an inspiration no matter the performance.

Matt

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Hi Hugh,

Good to hear you’re on the comeback. I had Hodgkins Lymphoma 10 years ago and am stronger and fitter now at 53 than I was at 37 when I was doing Ironman. You’re on the right track my friend.

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THanks man! The 31st is the first anniversary of my diagnosis and I feel pretty damn lucky to be riding at all, never mind “training.”

Really appreciate hearing from you!
-Hugh

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Thanks man! Very much appreciated!
-Hugh

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I was diagnosed with cancer five years ago.

Crashed during a winter ride, got in the bath to scrub the gravel out and found a lump (a teratoma). Two weeks later I had surgery. Thankfully I found the tumour whilst it was in its infancy so the treatment was pretty simple.

I’ve been in a monitoring program for the last four years and so far, so good :+1: I was off the bike and trainer for five weeks due to the surgery but after that brief layoff, it was all guns blazing again.

Wishing you all the very best with your recovery and journey.

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@PusherMan, thanks so much! Are you able to train more or less normally?

Honestly, it made no difference at all. Keep in mind that I didn’t need much follow-treatment so there were no side effects from chemotherapy or any such other procedures.

Bending at the waist took a while to feel comfortable but I can honestly say that cycling might just have saved my life.

Without getting all ‘dad’ on everyone, I encourage all men to check themselves, regularly.

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Hi, I am a little over a year from end of my treatment. I had throat cancer, though never was a smoker. Went thru surgery, three rounds of chemo, and seven weeks of radiation. (I’m 61).

Got back on bike one month after treatment ended. I used Trainer Road to help me recover. Needless to say ftp was so great when I started back…164. I thought I’d do three months or so, then be back to normal.

I learned chemo takes a lot out of you. I adjusted my expectations and just followed the training program. When things got tough, I reminded myself that this was far better type of suffering than recovering from treatments.

By July I was able to do 63 mile Asheville Fondo and finally got back in A group shop ride by end of summer.

I just had another surgery to remove tumor, but that was benign. Off bike for ten days to recover, but back training. Ftp is up to 219 now.

After a year I feel normal again. Goal is to keep improving ftp…though my ftp per kilo is now superior to my pre cancer number. I lost 25 pounds from treatment and have kept it off.,.now down to 158. Tough weight loss program, but effective.

So my advice…enjoy every ride, enjoy this kind of suffering, be patient with yourself as you come back, and play the cancer card for a new bike.

Best wishes on your recovery and continued health.

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Hi Hugh.
Congratulations on your recovery and return to training! The very first triathlon I did was after joining up with Team N Training to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. Memphis in May. It was quite an experience.

I too have returned to training and cycling after surviving my diagnosis with colon cancer. I consider myself incredibly lucky after only having to undergo a sigmoid colectomy. My cancer turned out to be stage 1 and I did not have to endure any chemo or radiation. It was the stationary recumbent bike at my local gym that kept me sane during my recovery from surgery.

I agree with others… enjoy every ride and every day. Nothing is guaranteed to any of us. May you all be blessed enough to remain cancer free and when your spirit is down or times are troubling you, keep riding and training for life, the most important event to train for!

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Wow, there’s a bunch of us on here! Props to you, Hugh, getting back on the horse. I had Hodgkins back in 1993, when I was 20. I was a bike messenger in Baltimore during that period, and I rode my bike to my treatments every day that summer. It felt like victory. My only complication from it is that my thyroid gland got fried from the radiation treatments, and keeping my dosing correct has been a bit of a challenge since. A small price to pay… Best of luck to you on your comeback, no reason you shouldn’t thrive.

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Hi Hugh, good to see your doing well.

I was diagnosed with Prostrate cancer in 2011, but luckily it was only a small amount and thus have been in monitoring only ever since.

Took a long time to come to terms with it, but cycling has helped enormously. The diagnosis has changed my life though as focused me on achieving/doing things I never would have thought possible. Have done a bit of trekking in Nepal and made it over 6000 metres last year.

Ive learnt a lot over the last few years and fortunately have a very approachable Urologist.

Im 54 years old and the fittest Ive ever been. Certainly cant give you any advice, but wish you all the best.

Hugh from South Australia.

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Hi Hugh

Good to see you’re back on the bike. I had bowel cancel 4 years ago with some pretty invasive surgery and 6 months of chemo. After my final bout of surgery having an ileostomy reversed I got back on the bike to get fit and lose weight. Fitter than I’ve ever been now. I don’t train to race but just to see myself improve.

No specific advice other than take notice of what the medics tell you and don’t push too hard too soon.

Good luck!

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Hugh,

Two time survivor here. Diagnosed with testicular cancer in ‘02 and Chronic Myleogenous Leukemia (CML) in ‘05. I wasn’t cycling at the time of either diagnosis, but can tell you that physically, I’m pretty competitive in my age group now. The edge I have from battling cancer is mentally. When I’m struggling through a Trainer Road workout and start thinking about quitting I have to remind myself that 9 weeks of chemo didn’t kill me and this won’t either. Obviously this can get me into trouble as well. There are days you just need to shut it down and recover physically, mentally, or both.

Just like Umbach, I now participate with Team in Training to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This will be my 6th or 7th year going to Tahoe in early June and riding America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride. I’m throwing the invitation out there for all the cancer survivors. It is an unbelievable place to get to ride your bike, an awesome event, and even better people. Plus most people fly into Reno to make the 45 minute drive to Tahoe. I say we start a survivors club and raid the Trainer Road office a day or two before the event. Just throwing it out there.

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Way to go my man. Get that club started…

@Nate
Do you think Nate, Jonathan and Chad will pay for my flight over from the UK?

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I’d love to be able to mark our membership of the ‘survivors club’ with a ride like that. UK based too so Tahoe perhaps a little far!

There’s some amazing quotes and experiences in this thread. Well done all!

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@m-a-t-t

Let’s get our own uk one organised. (uk spelling)

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Really cool thread! I was originally diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease and actually going on 10 years in remission.

I grew up riding BMX bikes in my neighborhood until 8th grade, then moved closer to a beach and started surfing/diving etc so I really had no reason to ride a bike. I then started playing paintball, and actually ended up joining a professional team, traveling the world and consuming the next 12 years of my life. At the tail end of my paintball career, I started a real job and within a few months of working, was diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease at 27 years old. As you all can relate, it was the scariest moment of my life. I watched my father battle leukemia 5 years earlier and unfortunately lose, so I knew this diagnosis was my chance to fight cancer back and win!

I proceeded with 6-months of chemotherapy bi-weekly for 3-4 hours per session staying extremely positive every step of the way. Post chemotherapy treatments, it felt like that I had the worst hangover and then sideswiped in a car accident. Luckily that would only last a day or so but it was rough…

Once I was told that I was in remission, one of the happiest moments of my life, I was dealing with a ton of side of effects with the chemo trying to exit my body. A good friend/co-worker was a Mountain Biker and was always asking me to try it out. I finally took him up on the offer and vividly remember it being one of the most fun times of my life. We started on the “easy” trail which was maybe a 2 miles long with very little technical riding. I was in such bad shape from little physical activity the months prior and the chemo weakening my body, but I was determined to make all 2 miles without walking. I think I rode for a total of 1-hour that day, but it literally changed my life. I just remember smiling ear to ear on the way home and within a week buying a Gary Fisher mtb. The next 6-months I pretty much rode 2-4 times a week and eventually became one of the strongest riders at the local trail placing in the top 3 consistently at all of the time trial events that summer.

Within the last 10 years, I have traveled to so many great places, seeing so many beautiful things due to cycling. There is a great organization out there called First Descents which allowed me to raise money for their cancer foundation and compete in Leadville 4 years ago. The foundation is amazing and really doing some unique things for younger individuals diagnosed with cancer.

I now have 3 beautiful children and greatly appreciate all the amazing lessons that cancer taught me. All survivors can relate to those specific lessons… Bottom line, you can do anything, if you put your mind to it!

Kudos to my fellow survivors! and kudos to Trainer Road for their amazing podcast and forum.

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And just like that my cancer community has expanded to another continent. As ugly as cancer is, it has had a profound effect on my life. Combine that with the power of the bicycle…

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Happy to be of any support to the fellow community! It’s certainly profound - it’s shaped my entire life I expect - and despite the occasional bout of survivors guilt it’s threads like this that remind me to be grateful.

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