David R
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Leukaemia, Drugs and Cycling

David R
Posted by
03 Sep 2013

David is a keen cyclist and is in training for the London Bikeathon, despite having just been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia

Well the drugs really do work...well prescribed ones anyhow! It’s taken a few weeks of getting used to popping pills every morning, but it’s worth it as they're working and my white cell blood count in the past week has dropped by an amazing 50 pct. The platelets have still some catching up to do but they're heading in the right direction now too.

My specialist in agreement with myself recommended I go on Sprycel aka Dasatinib for its clinical effectiveness, with me also having type 1 diabetes. Like most things these days the drugs come with a list as long as your arm or in this case longer I think of potential side effects. I'd already set my mind up that they'd be minimal if any and I am pleased to report they were.  The only really thing to note is the tiredness, but I think like most things this will pass with a little time, once the CML is more stabilised. Anyhow within days of starting the treatment I was already back at work. Although a restricted return, I was still back and living life as normally as one can. I'm just trying to begin the fight to punch CML to the mat and into some form of remission as quickly as possible.

The things I really have to laugh about are the tablets used normally for dealing with gout. It means I am forever going to the bathroom during the day and night like an old man!! I've made a bit of a joke out of it at work, in my management meetings. I need a quick bio break only 30mins into a meeting all of the time or arriving a bit late for a meeting for that last bathroom dash!! It's the nights that are annoying as it breaks your sleep pattern. Well at least it’s doing its job and I'm drinking loads (water!) and both the kidneys and liver seem to be coping with it all. Well neither of them has to deal with alcohol right now so they have something else to focus on!

I’ve not had a drink now for a month and boy do a miss an ice cold beer after Whalebone Wednesdays or WW as it is now called!! What's WW then? Well it’s getting in a 20mile ride on a Wednesday night and finishing with a pint or two at the Whalebone pub. Though in my case it’s a pint of sparkling water with lime!! It isn’t quite the same and the other guys from the cycling club seem to be smiling a lot more than me as they sup their drinks!! I wonder why!!

Well the weather has been grand except for that awfully wet day over the bank holiday which prevented cycling unless I put the bike in a boat! My 13 year old son, Luke has been getting me out at the weekends on the mountain bike again for some cheeky 6 or so mile rides. He maps the route out and doesn't tell me so he's in charge and have to follow him! Cheeky I know but I'm more than happy to follow and ensure he's safe in front of me.

The rides have been limited to a maximum of 20 miles with the We Hate Hills (WHH) guys as I'm under doctors’ orders but as the result was so good last week I am now allowed to ride up to 30miles. WHH did a little Heybridge Basin 29 mile ride at the weekend and you’ll notice I also got to try out my new Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research cycling top.  We stopped off halfway by the river for a coffee and some also ate some cake!! I waited for the sausage sandwich back at the club after the 29 miles, though I had already had a bowl of porridge before we left at 7.30am in the morning. It’s important when training to remember to eat regularly and properly so you don’t “bonk” during the ride. Pedalling up hills with legs of lead is no fun at all!! It gets you in good habits for the sportive ride on the day.

I'm admittedly not as fast cycling right now and need to have an afternoon nap afterwards but I still am achieving goals and living life large. I’m beginning to learn living with CML is all about redefining goals and learning to jog through life a little more instead of sprinting all of the time. It's only a few weeks until the main cycling event now and there are 35 or so of us doing the 52mile route. So at this rate I'll be fit enough to get in a good ride and a great time with everyone.



Dave, I've only known for a short time. But boy is he driven and commited. Normally drags my sorry butt around the roads and puts me to shame. You WILL beat this and I look forward to those catch up beers. 3XL