4,100 Miles Across the U.S. for Prostate Cancer
This is the first post I’m writing for the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), so I’ll introduce myself. I’m Steven Malikowski, and at age 50, I joined the club that we’re all in, the one that lives with prostate cancer. Of course, this is one club that none of us wanted to join, but we’re all in it together now.
At age 51, I moved into the part of the club that has to worry a bit more, the part with metastatic prostate cancer. Around that time, I started hearing a common comment, “You look so healthy. It’s hard to believe you have advanced cancer.” That comment comes from my interest in endurance sports. I used to enjoy running marathons, but after they hurt my back, I switched to cycling. I don’t enjoy sports to win. I just like getting outside and seeing this wonderful world.
I’m now 52, and my cancer seems to be stable with ADT and Abiraterone/Zytiga. Most of you know what ADT is like, so you know that I get tired more than before. You also know about the annoying hot flashes, and of course, you know about losing one of life’s “unique desires.”
The first two years with cancer were tough. My voice waivered when I talked about it, and I cried more than before. But lately, I’m realizing what I can still do. I can still tell stories that make people laugh. I can still learn, so I’ve been learning about treatment options, and many are coming out—especially with funding from PCF. And best of all, I can still ride my bike, so on May 6, I’m starting a bike ride across the US and raising money for cancer research. All the funds I raise go directly to PCF through their Many vs Cancer fundraising arm.
I don’t like cycling fast. That’s too sporty for me. I’m better at slow and steady and I’m good at finding treats along the way. Honestly, I need to be careful not to gain weight on a long bike ride… The route we’ll take is called the Trans America Trail, (shown below). It crosses the U.S. and is 4,100 miles, not including the wrong turns I have a talent for finding. More information is on my cycling blog, at http://tinyurl.com/steven2018/.
I’m cycling with a group of 9 other people from an organization called Adventure Cycling and I’m the youngest. One of the people on the group is working on an audio documentary of the ride, asking each cyclist why he or she chose such a long ride. I haven’t told them about my little problem with cancer yet, so that might be an interesting surprise in the documentary.
Now you know my own story with prostate cancer, and I’m sure you recognize much of it. I want to add one more part. Planning for this bike ride made me forget about my cancer, at least for many precious long moments. I’ve been too busy taking care of important details and enjoying myself. I’m still too busy with my ride to think about that much, but even with a little thought, I’ve realized that staying busy and enjoying life is some of the best treatment I’ve had.
My cancer could get worse, so it’s possible that I may not be able to ride my bike in upcoming years. Walking away from my bike for the last time would make me shed more tears, but if that happens, I’m going to do my best to get busy again, probably telling stories to make people laugh and maybe learn a little. After all, people in our unique club have some lessons to share. Thanks for reading. I’ll write another update after I’m on the road for a while.