Oprah: Do you define yourself as a cancer survivor more than you do as a cyclist?
Lance: I do. You retire from sports. There's always a new face, a new idea, and then you're finished. Sport comes and goes. That's why I'm careful not to become addicted to it. But I'll be known forever as a cancer survivor, and I'll have an impact there for a long, long time. I'm proud to do that.
Oprah: How did cancer change you?
Lance: It caused me to focus on what's important in life. But I've shown many times since that I'm not perfect.
Oprah: Who would expect you to be?
Lance: A lot of people.
Oprah: That's why the world's so upset about the Brad and Jen breakup—they want the perfect picture. Perfection doesn't exist.
Lance: Right—and that's Brad and Jen's business.
Oprah: But would you say cancer made you a better human being?
Lance: Absolutely—in terms of what I do off the bike and what I give of my time, my soul, my emotion, my money.
Oprah: After five years, when the cancer hadn't recurred, did you think, "Done"?
Lance: No. The type of cancer I had was very aggressive—it can come back just like that. It's nasty. I always wanted to look at my tumor smeared under a microscope and say, "That's the bastard I'm fighting, right there."
Oprah: I'm surprised you didn't look at it. Between surgery and chemotherapy, you saved some of your sperm, right?
Lance: Yes. My operation was on a Thursday, I was out of the hospital on Friday, then at the sperm bank on Saturday. I could hardly walk. That Monday I started chemo.
Oprah: Get out!
Lance: Banking sperm is not exactly what I'd call a great time. It was awful.
Oprah: But aren't you glad you did it?
Lance: One of the best decisions I've ever made. Now I have three little miracles.
Oprah: What did it feel like to be back on the bike for the first time?
Lance: I just pedaled around the neighborhood. I didn't really ride for weeks and weeks. Because of the cuts, it was too painful.
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