My name is Gideon Burrows and this is my blog about bicycles and brain tumours.
I’m a writer and a keen cyclist. Before all this started I worked half the week as a charity sector trainer and consultant, and half the week as a ‘stay at home Dad’.
In November 2011, I started to have very strange dizziness episodes when pushing it hard on the bike. At first I thought they were connected to an exposed nerve in a broken tooth.
I was wrong.
After the tooth was fixed and after another particularly bad episode, my doctor sent me for a whole bunch of tests.
In April 2012, an MRI scan found what a surgeon later confirmed: I have an inoperable brain tumour that was giving me mild epileptic seizures.
Quite why the fits were brought on by cycling, I’ve not yet been able to work out. Maybe my tumour got cut up by a red-light-jumping cycle courier in an earlier life.
Following a biopsy in April 2013, doctors discovered I have an oligodendroglioma, a type of tumour that cannot be cured and will, eventually, turn malignant and end my life. That could be in a year or less, or it could be in many years. If I’m still alive in 10 years I’ll be pretty lucky, but it’s certainly possible.
If something changes for the worse, I’m due to begin a 42-week programme of six weeks of daily radiotherapy, followed by six times six weeks of chemotherapy. The aim would be to shrink the tumour, and reduce the number and intensity of epileptic seizures it causes.
I have no great mission here, but reading the stories of others was extremely helpful to my wife and I when I was first diagnosed. If I can offer a little information, entertainment and diversion for those in a similar position, then I’ll be happy.
If I’m able to demonstrate that a tumour of my type is pretty bad news but doesn’t mean your life is already over, then I’ll be particularly satisfied.
At the heart of this blog is the promise I’ve made to myself: I will not get off my bike until I absolutely have to.
To adopt some pretty worn out cancer language, I may already have been beaten by this tumour and there’s no fight here I can win. But I’m not going down easy.
I’m not brave and I’m certainly no hero. I just love to ride my bike.
You’ll find here a mix of musings, cycling talk, personal feelings, hard information, complaints, medical information and waffle.
Except in very general terms, you wont read about my three young children, my wife, my family or close friends. It’s not that they’re not all far more important than my bikes, it’s that this blog isn’t about them.
Besides, telling the world about how wonderful your kids are, how they got great results at school or just did their first poo on the potty is what Facebook is for, isn’t it?
Please do interact with this blog. Share links, make comments, share experiences. I reserve the right to edit or remove anything anyway.
If you are or have been touched by brain tumour, or any kind of cancer, I hope you find what I have to share useful. You are not alone, whatever your diagnosis.
If you are or have been touched by cycling you have my sympathy and understanding. It’s an addiction that can be expensive, painful (particularly to collar bones, bottoms and calf muscles) and compulsive. That’s why we love it so much.
As we cyclists say, see you down the road…