The Worst Medical Advice I’ve Ever Received

Couch Potato Dreams of Cycling

Couch Potato Dreams of Cycling

A few months after my cancer diagnosis, the medical costs were accumulating and the insurance carrier was questioning every treatment, compounding the stress levels.

The insurance carrier decided they’d like to send a nurse expert to my house to evaluate my condition and care. We reviewed my diagnosis and what I was doing to ‘stay healthy’. Her stated goal was to get me the best care possible, but I suspected another motive to minimize insurer costs.

Prior to diagnosis, I was very physically active, riding bicycles around 10 hours a week, for the last 25 years. I often rode to work and back – logging in extra miles, 25-50 miles on some work days, 60+ on the weekends. My diet was poultry and fish, with fresh veggies every day – a pretty good diet except for a love of pizza. Beside genetics, there was really little reason for me to have pancreatic cancer – at age 48.

I talked to the nurse about how difficult it was to ride the bike while on chemotherapy. While still riding every day, two days after chemo I could only manage about 3 miles and others up to 30. The long bike rides helped me release stress while giving me time to process the thoughts running through my head.

And this is where I received the worst medical advice ever:

You don’t need to ride your bike any more. Now is the time that you get to sit back, relax, and use up all that fitness you’ve got stored.


With one recommendation she dismissed my stress relief and suggested I wouldn’t survive long.

Apparently I should sit on the couch and watch TV for the brief remainder of my existence?

I disregarded her advice and suggestion. Six years later, I’m still riding my bicycle and surviving.

Driving treatment decisions on 11 Nov 2017

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