July 24 last year saw my life turned upside down. I was out on a training ride with Olympic Gold and Silver medalist Zac Purchase, and took a tumble off my bike after hitting a rather innocuous pothole. Zac called an Ambulance, as I was talking more rubbish than usual and I was taken to Great Western Hospital Swindon. Here they took a precautionary CT scan to check if I'd damaged my brain, as I'd smashed my helmet in. No probs in the impact area (back right), but they did find something unexpected - a big white area the size of a large plum at the front left. Turned out to be a brain tumour.
I spent a week in Swindon, without seeing a neurologist or oncologist, and eventually after all the scans were done, they sent me home. Not so long after, I had a biopsy where they drilled a hole the size of a 5p/c piece in my forehead after cutting a rather natty inverted flap of skin back for access (32 stitches). The prognosis from this sample was that I had 12 months to live. All I could think of in that moment was that I'd never get to see Rosie grow up. No tears - just a hollow feeling that I wasn't going to be able to see her get married etc. We went off to the Lake District 2 days later and had an amazing week away. Lucy and I didn't talk about it much- we simply resolved to fill the time I had to the fullest. I got out on my bike every day we were away, stitches and all. Riding has been great therapy.
Of course, then there was also the dreaded phone call home to tell everyone gathered at my brother Miko's place that I didn't have long to live. Not a nice thing to have to tell your family...
On September 19, I went back to the JR in Oxford for a Crainiotomy, which involved having the same scar opened up from the biopsy (another 32 stitches), a rather large triangular part of my left forehead broken out for access, 5 Titanium plates inserted to hold it all back together and a natty little drain from the tumour removal site which came out of the original biopsy hole, ran under the skin and popped out thru a hole above my ear. I won't tell you how much fun that corrigated tube was to have removed. Or the catheter...
Anyway, a visit to the Oncologist for the first time a couple of weeks later revealed an error in the first histology, and it turned out as my specialist cancer nurse put it.... 'if I had a brain tumour, this would be the one I'd choose'. Turns out 50% of people go on to live another 10-15 years according to longitudinal research, and given my age (it's most probably been there since I was 10), fitness and the fact that I was asymptomatic, I'm gunning for that. Oh, the other 50% live longer than that 10-15 years.
In the meantime, I've had a few doses of Radiotherapy (33), 3 doses of Chemotherapy and enough needles to embarrass a junkie. And I'd like to get stuck in and try as hard as I can to help others in my situation. I knew very little about cancer, treatments, surgery etc, so it was all a little scary. Having Miko and mum to visit certainly helped during the height of my treatments! I'm getting stronger on the bike again, and jumped at the chance to get involved in this challenge. The 120miles (for my Aussie mates, that's Bemboka to Canberra) won't be a big issue , but some of those natty little Yorkshire climbs may have me straining a bit.
So support me. and help people going thru what I've been thru. My target is £600 minimum, and while I don't expect to raise a million, I'd love to raise more if I can.
Cheers, and if you're in Oz, I look forward to seeing you in a couple of months after my next operation:) Bike on shoulder of course....
PS- Duncan can be seen riding around Didcot on his Raleigh Shopper with a kiddy trailer full of tools doing Handyman work as he can't drive for 2 years from his last surgery. More coming up after the Challenge.....
raised of £4,000 target
by 108 supporters
Duncan's Grand Depart Yorkshire Tour Challenge 2014 page
Riding the First Stage of Le Tour! for Brain Tumour Charity (The) because I've got a Brain Tumour, and want to help others
raised of £4,000 target
by 108 supporters
We are moving further, faster to help everyone affected by a brain tumour
Charity Registration No. 1150054