Prostate cancer survivor athlete story
When were you diagnosed with cancer and what was the diagnosis?
I was diagnosed just over a year ago on 7th March, 2017. Following many scans and tests I was diagnosed with advanced, aggressive prostate cancer which had spread to my lymph nodes and bones.
Where did you go for your treatment?
I was treated at the London Oncology Clinic (LOC) by Dr Chowdhury. I started on hormone treatments to reduce the testosterone acting on the cancer. This then followed with 6 sessions of chemotherapy which started in the middle of April, finishing in August.
What was the hardest part of your cancer diagnosis?
One of the hardest parts was initially being told. I couldn’t believe it, I considered myself reasonably fit, never spent a day in hospital unless I was visiting others. It was a real shock to me and my daughter.
Did you want to know the finer details of the diagnosis or as little as possible?
I knew the treatment at LOC was great and I was in extremely good hands. I looked forward to having the treatment and getting better, I never worried about alternative options. I wanted to know as much as possible about the cancer and what it all meant. I knew it had spread but I also wanted to know exactly what the condition was.
What support did you have both at home and at the LOC?
Support at home consisted mainly of my daughter who was absolutely amazing, she came with me to all my treatments and consultations. I told the rest of the family; however, they live far away so weren’t as involved, but stayed in touch. The LOC was amazing, I can’t rate them highly enough. I looked forward to each treatment, felt comfortable and despite worrying about how the side effects would impact me I was confident I was in good hands.
When did you start at CP+R?
I started at CP+R following Dr Chowdhury’s recommendation, he said it would do me good and so I said YES. I started on 28th March 2017, just over a year ago. I have enjoyed the sessions here, learning lots from my CES. But honestly, I don’t think I would be as well as I am today if I didn’t come here. That’s due to all parts for the CP+R process, cardiovascular sessions and nutrition, it has just completely changed my life.
How has CP+R impacted your cancer journey?
CP+R has impacted my life beneficially, I have no regrets coming here. My fitness levels have increased, through changing treatments, my training intensity was altered, adjusting the programme to suit my conditions and as to how I was feeling at the time.
Did you think CP+R would help? Or did you just follow Dr Chowdhury’s recommendations?
I was interested at first, Dr Chowdhury said I should go along and have a chat. I wanted to understand what it was all about, I wasn’t doing much regular exercise up till then. After my initial consultation at CP+R I knew I needed to be fit and strong as possible to deal with what was ahead of me, mentally and physically.
Since your diagnosis please could you describe your highest high and your lowest low?
Highest high has to be Glastonbury with my daughter and her friends, this was in June, mid treatment. It was my first time going and I was apprehensive about how I would feel physically, but I had a fantastic time. I have been on a couple of holidays since then which I have thoroughly enjoyed too, and I am going away to Lisbon this weekend with my daughter. My second high was only recently, where I reassessed my medications after a long period of joint and muscular fitness. I have got lots out of it; it lifted my spirits, gave me new found energy levels around 8/10 and now I am cracking through my resistance sessions with CP+R.
Lowest low was 4 weeks after my last session of chemo, mid-September. My energy levels were at a whole new low, due to the treatment I was on. I was warned of this, but it really dragged me down. I thought ‘how long will I be like this for?’ even just climbing the stairs was difficult but I tried to stay positive throughout.
What did it feel like to have energy levels that low?
They pulled me right down, I am usually an energetic person but the few weeks I felt like this I was grumpy and depressed to be honest. Living on my own I didn’t have someone to share it with, my daughter wasn’t far, but I found the depression hard. I kept busy and tried to do normal things, I kept working, doing my other interests, but obviously low energy levels impacted on this. Fortunately, it didn’t last too long and CP+R was a massive help to me giving me a boost every time I came and left feeling really good.
What were some of your side effects?
One that stuck out for me was a day after my chemo sessions I would go back to the LOC for an injection to boost my white blood cell count. They warned me it would cause aches in my bones, but I had never experienced anything like it. I had other side effects like tingling in my toes, dryness in my mouth and nose. I avoided the hair loss through a cold cap which I managed to withstand the sensation of.
What is your current diagnosis?
I was seeing Dr Chowdhury every 4 weeks, I have had a number of scans since my treatment finished. These showed that the treatment has been very successful in killing cancer cells, not only around the prostate but basically there are no signs of cancer cells now. I am taking hormone therapy to keep things under control and could potentially have further radio therapy preventative treatment.
What would your top tip be for someone who is diagnosed with prostate cancer?
I would say that there are people around you to support you and to help you through the process of dealing with the worries and concerns and help you through the treatment. Diet and exercise is extremely important, so I would recommend CP+R because they helped me immensely following my diagnosis.