Tuesday, 20 August 2019

First swim completed, looking forward to next one

So, not much to say on the training front, however I am pleased to say that I have now completed my first swim (post operation) and after a shaky first 100m it felt great.

I moved down a couple of lanes to Lane 6 (slowest) where I was well looked after by the ladies there. Everything felt a bit tight for the first 100m or so, I almost felt my wounds (internally) were pulling. I was advised by the Coach and Lane 6 Club Buddies to shorten my stroke and focus on a bit faster arm turnover than my normal longer relaxed reach. This seemed to help a lot and the wounds were not pulling so much.

After the warm up and a few hundred metres of easy swimming I started to relax and enjoy the swim and a bit of physical activity. I ended up swimming the full hour and even logged 2,000m on the Garmin.

My walking has also increased in intensity and distance with a few nice hill climbs over the South Downs.

Unfortunately my Garmin still registers 'No Status' - I need a couple of runs to kick it back into life.

So, the plan is to keep swimming, maybe twice a week and continue to increase the walks to almost hikes or slow jogs.

In the first week of September after I have seen the surgeon I hope to get the green light to properly run. More importantly I need to know the news of my cancer (or hopefully, lack of it) - confirmation of severity, likelihood of spreading and did they think they get it all!

I will keep you posted - looking forward to the day I post my training plan for the week.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Off to the hospital - removal of catheter

I am not blowing my own trumpet and I know it is very early days but even I (Mr Optimist) am suprised with my recovery progress.

It has only been a week since my major surgery and although I am definitely looking a bit 'black and blue' my catheter has just been removed, my plumbing seems to be working well (so far, so good), my appetite is good and my energy levels are stable.

However well I feel I have to give my body time to heal - think of it as tapering back to a big event. Otherwise I risk reversing all the recovery gains. Slow and steady!

So what has the next few days look like - I reckon I will increase my movement (mostly via walking) from 1 to 5 km. That's it... nothing exciting but starting to build a base before I re-introduce swimming (first) followed by running and cycling. The Doctors recommend 3 months before getting back into the saddle - I hope I do a little better than that, however let's talk one week at a time.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

What else is going on

I am sitting in my lovely garden thinking that normally (well, less so for last few months) I would be swimming with the Club around this time or catching up with my cycling buddies for a coffee and chat after the swim set.

I still enjoy being part of a local triathlon Club - in fact it has now been over 10 years since I joined and it has been very much part of my life for what feels a long time. I also intend it to continue.

My life has has a great number of twists and turns over the last few years - in 2014 I unexpectedly lost my Dad to cancer (he was a great friend as well as a wonderful father). 2015/16 were also difficult as I set up a new business and struggled through the end of a 20-year marriage that ended in divorce, me selling the family home and then trying to move on with my life.

Since then I met my lovely Lucy, who shares a passion in wellbeing and cycling, and finally after nearly 3 years of dating (lots of driving to Tunbridge Wells) we have brought our families together (not easy) and set up our new lives in the pretty village of Hurstpierpoint.

Sport and triathlon has always been there, albeit not to the level of previous volume/intensity - I will have to update you on my PB at Challenge Roth (plus running with the wonderful Chrissie Wellington) and my off-road ultra running events (50/100 mile).

For now, a weekend of chilling. Would nice to record a couple of easy walks on Strava next week.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Feeling black and blue

So it's Friday, 4 days after my operation - I continue to be pleased with my progress, albeit I am very black and blue - more discomfort than any major pain.

Mobility is as good as can be expected - we have a lot of stairs in our new house (4 floors!) and so it is a fitness test just getting up and down. I have been a bit breathless on occasion (something I am certainly not use to - quite humbling in fact).

I have removed all the bandages from my wounds - quite a few cuts where the robotic hands/devices entered my body. My belly is also quite bloated as they have to force air in to help with the view of all your organs.

In summary, not very pretty but on the upside progress is being made.

Just got to make it through the weekend then on Monday I turn off the valve to the catheter to see if the plumbing works..... If that all goes to plan, then Tuesday the catheter comes out and I start stage 2 of the recovery progress, hopefully with a bit more activity.... baby steps.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Day 2 - allowed back home

I was pleased to hear my surgeon was so pleased with my progress that I was allowed home.

Taking it easy - mix of rest, some movement (mostly walks to bathroom to empty catheter - sorry, too much information) and catching up with some emails and messages from friends and family.

That is going to be the structure for the next week - baby steps. Increasing movement and rest in between. If all goes to plan the catheter is removed next week and I begin stage 2 of the recovery.

Over the coming days (nothing really exciting to report on) I will try to bring you up to date with everything else that has been going on in my life.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Day 1 - In hospital

So lots to tell but let's start with how I ended up in hospital.

There has always been a bit of cancer throughout the family medical history so when I hit 50 years old I thought a wellman test may be a good idea - I went for one that focused on my overall wellbeing rather than fitness but ensured there was a PSA test.

A month or so later the comprehensive report was posted to me - it was mostly based on a traffic light system and I was pleased that the majority of the tests came out green. It also listed my fitness in the top 5% of my age group. The only 'amber' signal of significance was that my PSA level was 3.8 - not a terribly high number. If I was 40 that is even in the comfort zone but I was told that below 3 would be preferable.

So given the family history I decided to go to the GP for a repeat PSA test - this one coming in at 3.2 (getting better). The Doctor was a runner and thought my slightly raised PSA level could due to my cycling but to be totally sure put my name down for a MRI.

The MRI unfortunately showed up some area of concern, however only in my prostate area, which was a minor positive. From the MRI I went onto having a biopsy, which is certainly not the best experience - in fact it was pretty awful and I ended up getting a serious infection that eventually put me in hospital for a week.

Anyway, infection aside, the Doctors found a little more cancer than they originally thought and recommended surgery over active surveillance.

So a few months later - here I am - day 1 of my recovery with prostate now removed.

I didn't have the best of sleep - the ward is full of older guys that are struggling a lot more than I, which does make me think it is better for me to do this now, while I am relatively young and fit.

So what is the plan over the next 4-6 weeks - well I am handling it like any big sporting endurance event. Week 1 and I am not going to be good for much - I have a catheter in place, which will limit my movement. However the plan is to get out of bed on every opportunity, although rest is the priority.

Week 2-3 when the catheter is removed will allow me to increase my mobility and fitness. I hope the plan will be to schedule a number of walks around the lovely village I Iive in, increasing the distance as my fitness improves.

Beyond that my attention will turn to getting back to work and swimming, cycling and running - baby steps.

I also need to get over a couple of nasty side-effects of the operation, which will impact the quality of my life but hopefully not for too long.

There is also the repeat PSA test down the line, hopefully with a reading of zero. I will keep you informed.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

2 years later and a twist to the journey!

Where do I start....

2 years have gone past so why publish a post now?

Well not to be dramatic but I am lying in hospital after having my prostate removed this morning (and hopefully the cancer with it).

I now know when I started my original blog many years ago I needed it a lot more than any interested readers - I felt the need to catalogue my journey and it motivated me to meet my fitness goals.

For whatever reason that changed down the road and writing a blog (diary) unfortunately became more of a chore.

Now there has been another twist in my journey and I feel the need once again to share my experience and document it for my own future use.

This time around it will be slightly different - I am still relatively fit and still enjoy the triathlon scene, albeit my training has gone from 12 hours a week to 6 hours for the last 2-3 years and now more like 3.

The sport and the like-minded friends I have met along the way is very important to me. The long-term fitness I still maintain, to a degree, should help me get through these more tricky coming months.

There is also other stories to share - how I have found love again and all the twists and turns that brings.

Anyway quite a bit to tell. With that I am going to sign out until tomorrow - it has been a hell of a day, although I am all good.

Night, night (if there is anyone out there!)

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