Every Second Counts
Copenhagen, May 18th 2010
Less than a month ago I was diagnosed with rectal cancer. Yesterday on May 17th the doctors at Bispebjerg Hospital here in Copenhagen declared me cancer free.
It's been an unbelievable journey these past four weeks. Kind of surrealistic but in the good fashion. And with a hopefull ending.
Now I am out of hospital, back at my daily job of conducting bike tours for overseas visitors to my hometown of Copenhagen. Everything seems like a month back in time except for my cancer journey to hell and back.
Cancer is a monsterfucker. I wasn't aware of that, but now I know from own experience. Cancer has the potential to kill and leave scars in the body and mind despite the encounter with the disease make you come out on top of the battle.
My story with cancer apparently began long ago but I first noticed something wrong as I returned from a journey to Egypt in early March this year. I needed more visits to the toilet than usual, which I took as a symptom of the food bacteria being a little different in Egypt than back home in Denmark. However toilet visits increased, but never any pain. Late March my GP listed me for an endoscopy survey. On April 14th this survey indicated a tumor in my rectum and as I clocked into Bispebjerg Hospital on April 19th first time in my life, I was told, I had cancer.
The week to follow was loaded with MR and CT scans plus other surveys and tests. The good news started coming my way on April 26th where the results of all scans and tests so far generated the basis for stating, that the cancer had not gone travelling in my body.
On May 4th I signed into the K1 dept. on Bispebjerg never knowing the attachment I would come to make with the doctors and nurses at the place for the week to follow.
May 5th was the day to be mine. The operating theatre. Or "The Jupiter Space Station" as the surgery staff calls it. An impressive study first hand of modern technology. I spend 1½ hour lying/sitting on the operation stretcher having all kinds of needles positioned around my spine by the anaesthesia team while watching the nurses preparing for the operation lining up knives and forks in plenty, arranging them with a precision worthy a gourmet restaurant. And I was the turkey.
The operation lasted six hours followed by a nearly four hour wake-up session. When I finally returned to life I felt foggy, but in good spirit. My fiancé was there holding my hand as she has been next to me all along.
My days to come after the operation - against all odds - can only be described as a good journey. Everything went as prepared by the medical team and the nurses pampered me and together I think we created a positive recovery spirit, important for thriving after the meeting with cancer. When I finally was ready to be send off six days after my operation, I felt a deep devotion and connection with all the professional and highly committed people at Bispebjergs K1 dept. The place felt as my home when I walked through the door together with my fiancé. I can't say thank you enough to the many outstanding professional medical staff at Bispebjergs K1 department. In my book they saved my life.
Four days onwards I am back on my bike and on Sunday May 16th heading up a large group from all over the world on a bike sightseeing tour of Copenhagen. I have only been out of hospital five days. I had earlier been informed that I should expect a three to six months recovery period before I could return to my bike.
May 17th. Back at Bispebjerg again. Check up. All well. Doctors find it hard to believe, thatI am back on my bike. However my story hits a climax as doctor Pilsgaard tells me:
"Michael, it's my pleasure to tell you the best news a person in your situation can get. Your operation was successful, we removed all the cancer identified and none of the 27 tissue tests we took from your body has revealed any signs of cancer. Combined with results from all the early scans, we now declare you cancer free".
No further treatment, no chemo - only regular check-ups the next few years.
Caroline - my contact nurse - hugged me, my eyes wet and Caroline said: "Michael, it was so good you came in time. Always listen to your body and never hesitate acting on any abnormalities, we are here for you".
All I could say was: "Every second counts". In the battle with cancer.
I rode my bike home through my hometown. Of course she looked more beautiful than ever. Enjoying the very moment, a momentous moment. I felt grateful and appreciative, but also shouted out loudly in my Bike Mike fashion: "I am still here, you fuckers"!
I want to say thank you to all who visited me in hospital, mailed me greetings, lent me their dog, thought and prayed for me, I can tell you, it all helped tremendously on my recovery road back to life. I also want to pay my respect for the treatment I received by the Danish medical system and all the many dedicated people making the system perform so impressively well.
Cheers to life,
Michael / "Bike Mike"
Bike Tour Guide
& Cancer Survivor
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