It was just after Easter 2012 when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I had always been vigilant on checking my PSA level, however about 12 months before my diagnosis, I came down with a bad virus which resulted in sweats and constant trips to the toilet one night.
I went to the doctor and requested another PSA test. The result showed a surprising spike. They monitored me for another six months before deciding to do a biopsy, which was how they found the cancer. I was told by his doctor that there were a number of different treatment options available, and was faced with the overwhelming decision of choosing the one I thought best for me.
The day I was diagnosed, I was at home digesting the news when I received a call from my friend Brian who told me he wanted to catch up for a coffee. I hadn’t seen him for years and told him it wasn’t the best time and then explained about my diagnosis. He said “I was actually calling to tell you that I went through what you are about to go through nine months ago, and you need to hear my story!”.
It was then I found out that Brian had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, gone through treatment and come out the other side with all his functionality returned. He was a fantastic support, helping me to understand what was ahead and discuss options. Having him to talk to made a huge difference.
Following discussions with Brian and my doctor I decided to undergo robotic surgery just after Christmas 2013 and began the road to recovery.
When I was diagnosed, I took it as a real boot in the bum and decided to start taking care of myself. Running my own business, I was always tired, exercised irregularly and survived on 3–4 hours of sleep too often. It just wasn’t sustainable. I made the commitment to change my lifestyle and began to eat healthier and exercise more regularly.
Following the operation, I changed my diet, cut down on alcohol and paid attention to what I ate and lost weight. I also started cycling and have continued my fitness regime of cycling 100km a week for the past six years. In January 2018 I celebrated five years cancer free and it was this personal milestone that motivated me to sign up to Ride for a reason for the first time.
In 2019 I’ll Ride for a reason again, this year as a part of the Lead Out Team. I was privileged to be invited to join the team which consists of prominent South Australians, including Police Commissioner Grant Stevens and Cancer Council SA Chief Executive Lincoln Size, who have committed to raise $60,000 for Cancer Council SA.
Twelve months on from my first Ride for a reason campaign, my motivation for taking part this year is very different. Last year, my daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer—it’s news that came as a complete shock to our family and a devastating blow.
Going through cancer yourself is hard, but watching your child go through a diagnosis and treatment is heartbreaking.
This year I will be riding to support my daughter and all those currently going through cancer treatment. It’s a sad reality that many of us know someone impacted by cancer. For me, Ride for a reason is a chance to celebrate this gift of healing and also give back and fund further research towards a cure.