May 20, 2022
A member of a Bannatyne Health Club in Edinburgh is raising awareness of bladder cancer while also raising money for charity after surviving the disease.
Johnstone Shaw was an ‘extremely fit and healthy’ 64-year due to regular sessions at the gym in Newcraighall Road, Musselburgh.
As a GP, when he found blood in his urine, following a rigorous spin class at the health club, he realised it was likely to be bladder cancer.
He went to see his doctor and was referred for investigation at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, where his diagnosis was confirmed.
Johnstone needed radical surgery, which included having a urostomy, where his urine is delivered into a stoma bag.
He has received support from the Maggie’s Centre, based at the hospital, which ‘helps people take back control when cancer turns life upside down, with professional support for anything from treatment side effects to money worries’.
Now three years on, Johnstone is back to living a ‘reasonably normal’ life including attending the health club at least three times a week and taking part in spin-cycling sessions.
Now, the 67-year-old is doing his bit to bring attention to the disease during Bladder Cancer Awareness Month – this has involved him distributing leaflets, which have a QR code for people to be able to donation to the Fight Bladder Cancer charity.
Johnstone, who now is retired, said: “Getting used to having a urostomy took a while, but is a small price to pay.
“Living with the fear of the cancer recurring rears its head when my regular CT scans happen but I cope with that more easily than in the early days. Support from cancer nurse specialists and Edinburgh “Maggie’s” has really helped me live life to the full every day now as it’s important to be positive rather than constantly thinking you’re about to die. That was not easy.
“My advice to anyone with symptoms suggestive of bladder cancer. Get sorted asap! And keep Spin-cycling!”
He is urging anyone who sees blood in their urine or has repeated unitary tract infections to get checked out at their doctors.
He said: “Returning back to exercise was not easy, but my Gym Buddies at Bannatyne’s have been really supportive, which has been very much appreciated. “
Johnstone, who lives in Edinburgh, added: “During my stay at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh I stayed in touch with my friends at Bannatyne’s and the amazing reception staff, who sent back very much appreciated moral support.
“Who knows, my spin cycling coach may have saved my life? As well as, of course, my wonderful bladder cancer surgeon!”
Fiona McNorton, Bannatyne Health Club Newcraighall general manager, said: “We were delighted to welcome Johnstone back to the health club and only too happy to help him raise awareness of bladder cancer and help attract donations to such a worthwhile cause.
“We are proud of the caring community atmosphere that is prevalent throughout the club, and it is good to know that Johnstone appreciated the moral support he received from staff during his recovery.”
The charity Fight Bladder Cancer’s objectives are to support people affected by the disease, raise awareness about the causes of bladder cancer and its treatments so it can be caught early, and campaign for and support research into ‘this much-ignored’ cancer.
For more information visit www.fightbladdercancer.co.uk