Hello, my name is Mike Compson and I am a cancer survivor. In January of 2008 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and presented with a number of different options to treat the cancer. After being very scared and weighing all of my options I decided to have robotic assisted surgery to have my prostate removed in March.
Three months after a successful surgery I was doing yard work and hurt my back. I ended up with a bulging disk and a herniated disk in my back. After two months of physical therapy, my therapist told me I should continue stretching and working out to reduce the chances of future problems with my back. He recommended swimming. I told him that I did not know how. He said, “LEARN!”
As I was learning how to swim at my local gym I began seeing and talking to more and more people who were training for triathlons. I thought these people were crazy! Pretty soon some of these crazy people suggested that I give it a try. My wife Robbie and I decided to sign up for the 2011 Celebration Triathlon in Columbia. While training for that race some friends were telling me about the Half Full Triathlon and how it was such a fun race and such a worthy cause. After reading about the Half Full I decided to sign up for Olympic distance race before I had even raced my first triathlon.
Racing as a survivor was a very emotional experience that kind of blind-sided me. At times, I tend to take things for granted. There were two other survivors running the Olympic version of the Half Full. Although I do not remember their names I do remember the women I met that morning. One of them had battled breast cancer and the other had battled brain cancer. I was truly amazed by their stories, strength, and that they were about to do the 40 mile race. We received a great send off for the swim from all of the other racers doing the Olympic race.
Although the weather last year was very cold, the race was a great experience. I was amazed at all the volunteers who were out there in the cold with the racers and all of the people on the side of the road cheering us on. I was also amazed at all of the support and encouragement from fellow racers along the way—they really helped me get through the race. Running through inspiration mile was just that, very inspiring, and it really helped me get through the worst part of the race, the run.
The Half Full was just an amazing experience for me last year. The race supports such a worthy cause that helps so many individuals as they battle this insidious disease. As I am writing this note, I got a call from back home that my uncle was just operated on for colon cancer. He is but one of the many individuals that I have known or heard about that has been afflicted by this awful disease. I consider myself blessed and extremely lucky. I hope to be doing the Half Full—my little contribution to the cause—for many years to come.