When sports-mad Yorkshireman and Leeds United faithful, Peter Miller, heard about Jeff’s March, he couldn’t wait to join the cavalry and take on Day 2 for the 30-mile stretch between York City and Leeds. But the hike brings back memories of the first time he experienced warning signs of a hidden cancer.
As a healthy and active guy in his 70s, Peter Miller is no stranger to a march or two. From Hadrian’s Wall and the Isle of Man to the Pembrokeshire Coastline and the Isle of Wight, Peter and his mate Jeff (no, not Jeff Stelling!) made the most of the hiking Britain had to offer. But it was on one of these walks that Peter first had a warning sign that something wasn't quite right.
During one of the duo’s treks in 2010, Peter noticed that his urine was very dark. A symptom that, in hindsight, he didn’t take seriously enough. Early the following year he began passing blood and, after seeking medical attention, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer.
“I liken the change in urine colour to brakes on a car failing,” Peter reflects now. “You don't realise there's anything wrong until they fail.”
But Peter actually counts his blessings that he was diagnosed with bladder cancer, because during the process of his diagnosis they also discovered that Peter had moderately aggressive prostate cancer.
With the wonderful support of his family and doctors, Peter was fast-tracked and presented with a number of options to treat the cancer and in August 2012 he had his prostate removed.
I consider myself lucky to have had bladder cancer otherwise my prostate cancer would have gone undiagnosed
As a grandfather of five, Peter is grateful he was diagnosed before the cancer had time to spread. “I consider myself lucky to have had bladder cancer otherwise my prostate cancer would have gone undiagnosed, got progressively worse and would have required further treatment, which I’m sure would’ve had more of an impact on my current life,” he says.
Although the Yorkshireman feels he made the right decision to have his prostate removed, he hasn’t been completely free from side-effects as the surgery left him with scar tissue in his urethra and he’s had to have restriction surgery on four occasions since.
These are uncomfortable experiences, but Peter met men along his journey who’ve had it a lot worse or have sadly lost their battle. For the most part he has been able to get on with his life and enjoy the pleasures of football, golf, spending time with his grandchildren and, of course, taking part in Jeff’s March!
That walk which sparked warning signs seems a long time ago now, but Peter is excited to get his walking boots back on to raise awareness and funds for Prostate Cancer UK, and help the 1 in 8 men who are affected by the disease.
You can support Peter and Jeff by donating on his JustGiving page.