A large part of my working life I worked as a boss of the car service. I had common life problems like everyone else. At work I often spent ten hours every day. I had to ensure my customers be satisfied with all the repairs made are first-rate and on time. My work also became my hobby. I loved cars and bikes. In the past. I worked as a motor- bike mechanic at the motocross racing in the whole Czech Republic. I cooperated with a very successful speedway driver at the time. Unfortunately he died at a motocross racing event abroad.

Time to time I had a back pain at that time, but always after a short treatment it passed away and all seemed to be alright. I always thought that it was from the cold from car repairs and races.

My big hobby is cycling, I gave my time to mountain biking together with a bunch of friends in my free time. Time to time I attended some bike races. Biking was my hobby when I was young. At first I rode on a road bike (a mountain bike was not available at that time), later I bought a mountain bike. The bike races were not separated into the age categories and I was always placed in the middle of the pit lane.

I borrowed a motocross bike in the spring of 2006 to remember my young time and I slightly felt nothing serious from my point of view. When I was lifting the motorbike I felt a pain my back. I did not pay any attention to it because it was not unusual for me. The pain increased during the summer. I visited the Orthopedic Department. However, the pain did not step back therefore I visited other two physiotherapists. However, they did not help me as well. I had such a back pain that I could not ride a bicycle at all.

My friends advised me what else to try. One of them told his son about my problems and this man worked as a doctor in The University Hospital in Prague. He arranged me an examination of MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) at the end of summer. The examination was done at the weekend. On Monday next week the doctor phoned me and asked me if I had been at work and how I had felt. He recommended me to go home. He said that it would be best if somebody took me home. His other information was that MRI examination discovered a problem with my spine and they would wait for me in the Neurology Department in The University Hospital. And in the end he recommended me to travel to Prague. I was taken a back of course and my colleague took me to Prague.

After the formalities at Department Reception I went for on examination in Neurology. I was told very firmly that my vertebra had been totally ruined and my spine was kept only with muscles the so-called “on nature.”  Furthermore, the doctor said to me that although I was in the hospital some careless movement could destroy my spinal cord. Immediately I also learned all possible consequences of this situation. I was admitted and all the time the doctor was coming to my bed and with a hammer knocking knees or tickled me on the foot. I had to move toes. The doctors were leaving and coiling their heads. I asked them why and the answer was: you did not see your MR images.

This situation really scared me. I was very unhappy and I imagined a lot of bad future situations including the idea that I would to be depended on a wheelchair. I was operated immediately at the same week. I remembered I moved foot fingers after my waking up, which confirmed the success of the operation to me. I was told about my histological results, it was multiple myeloma (MM).

Although I was satisfied with the doctors and the staff I decided to start treatment of disease in University Hospital in Plzen. I came to the Oncological Department with my MR images. There was a very pleasant and humorous conversation with a doctor who said to me that it was in fact “children disease in Oncology”. He used this comparison as an example of very successful result in the treatment, because I knew him as my customer and he knew my cycling activities.

The same day the doctor sent me to the Hematological Department and a Multiple Myeloma specialist explained all to me. I received a brochure about the treatment of Multiple Myeloma and in two days I took the first dose of chemotherapy. My treatment was carried out in accordance with the brochure, including the autologous stem cell transplantation.

I missed my work that was why I still worked and walked with my wife between chemotherapy cycles. I obtained a full disability pension. After the transplantation I spend time at the cottage. I slowly began to regain my strength and I was looking for a new full-suspension bike. The friends of our cycling team supported me a lot and helped to buy it. And in two month I started to go by bike again. I started really slowly indeed because the power was missing. Therefore I put performable goals to myself. “Today I come to forest. Tomorrow I will try to come in the racks” and so until the time when I got back tissue strength and again I could slowly rode away.

In this time I have had a complete remission for a few years. I am not trying to think of the disease. I´m able to rode a lot of kilometers by bike and per year I ride 2 500 – 3000 kilometers. I also go skiing and cross-country skiing. My hematologist understands my activities. Last year I spent a week with my friends in Hrensko (this is a very nice biking area in the Czech Republic) and we travelled a big part of the Saxon Switzerland. We are going to travel to the Czech Canada this year. I still go for regular medical examinations, every day I exercise 15-30 minutes according to the book “The Five Tibetans”, several exercises with weights and a few clicks and I spend my time with hobby.

In the meantime our family have grown a little bit so we enjoy five grandchildren. I can only say thank you to all of the doctors who helped me come back into full-fledged, common life. Thanks also to my friends for tours, biking and skiing. And of course great thanks to my wife. She was with me the whole treatment and sometimes it was not easy for her at all.

– Josef

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