APRIL 10 cannot come soon enough for Ryan Edwards.
That is the day that Argyle’s 24-year-old defender hopes to be given the green light to take the next, and probably most significant, step along the road to full recovery from cancer.
Eddy was diagnosed with the illness at Christmas after doctors confirmed that a lump in a testicle was “one of the most aggressive tumours”.
In less than three months, the Liverpool-born centre-back has been operated on and undergone an intensive course of chemotherapy until, now, he is on the verge of resuming a football career that has necessarily been on hold.
Speaking exclusively to pafc.co.uk on the eve of his team-mates’ aborted Sky Bet League One Easter Monday trip to Scunthorpe, he said: “Especially the last two weeks, I’ve been feeling a lot more myself and it’s pretty good to be feeling like that after not knowing what it was being a normal 24-year-old.
“But it had to be done for my own health and my own safety, and I’m glad the worst is out of the way now.”
He looks fit and relaxed. The only visible sign that there has been anything untoward in his life is the hair-loss that often comes with chemo which, following surgery to remove the affected testicle, has blasted any possible remnants of the cancer out of his system.
“They have told me the chemo will stay in my system for up to six weeks and I’m coming up to five weeks now, so one more week and it should be fully gone,” he said.
“I’ve started a little bit of light training, probably a little bit earlier that what I should be, but I’m taking it easy and listening to the doctors, listening to their advice. That’s important. I’ve got to keep doing that because, if I push myself too hard, I’ll end up going backwards.
“So I’ve got to make sure I get the balance right. I’m back to see them on April 10. We’ll see what gets said there and, if all goes okay, I should be ready to step it up a bit.
“They are the experts, so it’s better to hear them tell me what the plan could be, going forward. It’s slow steps, but the main aim is to get back on the green as quick as I can. Hopefully, it will be quicker than I’m expecting to hear.”
Whatever pace is set by his doctors, and although his journey back to where he was will sometimes be a solitary one, Eddy cannot wait to get back into a dressing-room, the only environment he has known since he was a teenager.
He said:“I’m not going to be on the training pitch straight away. I’m going to have to build my strength and fitness back up in the gym because my body’s taken a good whack from all the types of drugs I’ve been taking.
“The main thing, first and foremost, will be getting back round the place, getting back round the lads. I know there’s a good vibe there at the minute and I just want to get back to it.
“I haven’t known any different, so I need to get back there and just be around them and the place. It will be good to get back to that.”
That last sentence is not a glib one, either. Although Eddy has been a Pilgrim only since July, he has taken to Argyle, and Plymouth, as much as they have taken to him.
He said: “I love living there. I love the training; the team; the lads; the staff; everything about the club, since I’ve been there. I’ve not got one nit-pick about the club. It’s been spot on. You can tell it’s going in the right direction.”
Thankfully, so is Eddy himself and, like the club, he has targets.
“Come pre-season, July 1, I’ll definitely be ready for that,” he said. “Even in the Championship! Who knows?
“I’ve just got to make sure I listen to the right advice from the experts and not push myself too hard with my body until it’s time that I can push myself, and we’ll take from there, see how my progression goes.
“I thought I’d walk all over the chemo, being so young and fit, but it shows you how strong it is.
“Hopefully, the worst is over; I’ll get my checks on the 10th and that’ll be it.”