In the end, I did it. I cycled to every session of radiotherapy this week. That means that over the course of my radiotherapy treatment – the final phase of the hospital-based part of my treatment for breast cancer – I cycled to more sessions than I drove to. That means that in the duel I was playing out between the car and the bike, the bike won. The final score? Bike 8 – Car 7.
It started out as a bit of fun (Cycling challenges and lowering expectations) but then it became more serious. It became really important to me psychologically that the bike won.
The infection I’d had (It went downhill from there) set me back a few days. To secure a win, I knew I had to cycle the 11-mile round trip to the clinic every day of my final week of treatment. So that’s what I did. I cycled in the rain on the first day, last Monday (Don’t wait for the rain to stop, dance – or cycle – in the rain), and then the weather turned in my favour. It was cold, but there were beautiful blue skies for most of the rest of the week. By Thursday evening, we were even at 7-7. It was only by cycling to that very last session that the bike would win. Friday 26 February dawned clear and bright and off I rode, making it 8-7 to the bike. The photo is of me minutes after arriving back home from the clinic (thanks to the neighbour who took the photo!).
It seems fitting that my triumph on the bike coincided with the very last day of the hospital-based phase of my treatment. Six months of chemo, surgery and radiotherapy – it’s all over.
I’m not stupid; I know how symbolic the “duel” was. The bike was me and the car was my breast cancer. Put simply, my treatment has gone well. We got rid of all the cancer that could be detected. There can never be any guarantees that it won’t come back in or around the same area or turn up somewhere else in my body. For the time being, however, I guess you could say I’ve won. For now, that has to be good enough. Victory is mine.