Robin Williams

"We found a tumour" by Robin Williams, MBE.

Robin williams with Heather Stanning and Helen GloverI don't know how many readers have a ‘bucket list' of things you'd like to do before it's too late , but 2012 was a big one for me. I work as a full time rowing coach in Caversham for the Great Britain Rowing Team coaching on the Women's squad and have been in coaching since 1991. On August 3rd 2012 ‘my girls' won Britain's first gold medal of the Games and rowing's first Women's Olympic gold ever. It was a magical moment and the culmination of years of work. Life changed permanently for them but returned to normal for me quite quickly, thankfully! I prefer my life to be my own and not the media's.

In 2013 we won the World Title, another high point and a month later saw us back in hard training again and over to Mallorca for a hard cycling camp. I relish these because I am able to join the group and cycle with them. However, just before the camp I saw my GP because I had some blood in my urine and she booked me in for a check-up at Royal Berks Hospital. The appointment wasn't imminent so I decided to go on the camp in the meantime, thinking that it was either an infection or maybe kidney stones. Cancer never entered my thoughts. About 100km in to a 160km ride I felt bad; no energy, everything aching. I cut back on the cycling and joined the support car instead for the other long rides. I knew something wasn't right.

Once home I had a flexible cystoscopy by Mr Mostafid and he wasn't happy. "I'll book you in for a GA and we'll take a better look".  I had my second cystoscopy  and when I came round the doctor gave me the  expected news. "We found a tumour in your bladder". There was a diverticulum or pocket in the bladder wall and the tumour was inside. It was difficult to get at but he had removed it. Well, thank goodness for that. "However, we found Carcinoma in Situ as well and we'll need to take out your bladder and prostate". Thunderbolt to the heart. I guess doctors need to say it how it is but he could see I was dumbstruck and he took my hand.

I looked up every bit of information I could find on the internet and spoke to a total of seven consultants to explore my options. In the end I believed there were none other than the one already given. I had a really helpful meeting at a pub with Simon who was a former cystectomy patient and I began to face the realities of what was to come. I won't dwell on the subsequent operation but Mr Shah without doubt saved my life. The two weeks in hospital was an endurance test but my wife and two children were fantastic and eventually I went home. Recovery went well but was still hard. I returned to work in a graduated way after 10 weeks and now type this short piece from a hotel in Breisach, Germany, as we prepare for the 2014 World Championships. I had my six month scan recently and it came back clear. It was expected but was still a huge weight off my mind. ‘My girls' are here and rooting for me as much as I am for them and sights are set on Rio 2016. After that, Anna and I plan to address some other things on our bucket list because cancer teaches you to value everything you have and every day you are here.