Sharing my story for PROSTATE CANCER UK because some men with Cancer have no symptoms, like me!
My journey – so far
I completed my first Triathlon in 1991. In the following 25 years I’ve completed everything from Sprint Triathlons to Ironman, Relays to Tandem Tri and BTF Level1 Coach. Well almost everything. I hadn’t represented GB at any age group.
So, in 2017 the target was to qualify for the GB Team in the Sprint distance. Everything was looking good, I picked up a few trophies in the 60-64 category, I was feeling fit and healthy.
April 2017 - A routine health check up at the doctors included a blood test that showed an odd result. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) was 26, in 2009 my PSA was 1.9. Numerous tests, scans, prods, and pokes followed.
I was told, ‘Malcolm – you have prostate cancer’.
July 2017 - Geraint Thomas was collecting his first yellow jersey and I had my prostate removed.
I made a speedy recovery but I had missed all the qualifying events for Team GB. Then someone mentioned European Triathlon Union event in Ibiza; so I entered a Cross Duathlon in October. The surgeon explained that my aggressive cancer cells had got into the lymph glands - I needed to start 3 years of hormone therapy and 7.5 weeks of radiotherapy (I asked if it could be postponed to allow me to compete in Ibiza – the answer was a flat No!)
October 2017 – I had started hormone therapy and 3 days of radiotherapy but felt good enough to come second in my age group and applied for Ibiza. That was the last bike ride until March 2018.
November 2017 – Radiotherapy was a challenge, I was fitted with a catheter then with just 12 days of radiotherapy to go – I got a Q to go to Ibiza… And yes by crikey, we celebrated!
Feb 2018 – catheter was removed and I could start to walk and swim
April 2018 – I completed a few Sprint Triathlons – but 20’ slower than previous, but progress was being made
May 2018 – I was sent to hospital with ‘complications’ – 4 weeks in hospital was not ideal – but I wrote myself a 12-week plan to get to Ibiza
End of June 2018 – I’m learning to walk and swim again
July 2018 – I’m on a bike – but having to stop regularly for comfort breaks and hot flushes!
October 2018 – the hotel and flights are booked… I’m at the start line with ‘muscle memory’ ready to go and the words of Team Manager Marc Preece, ‘GB never quit’ in my head. 2 GB age group medals are now hanging on the wall and amazing memories of being part of the GB age-group triathlon team.
‘1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives’ the problem is, as I found out, there may not be any symptoms.
So if you’re over 40, get yourself tested. The more men that get tested, the quicker the unlucky ones can be treated and increase their chances of survival.
Take a look at Malcolm’s JusGiving page here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/malcolm-harrison-triathlete