Many people in the Road and the SoCal forums know my story, but here's the top line - for the past year I've been battling cancer. I was just getting back into cycling after many years when I was diagnosed last March. It turned out I had a Ewing's Sarcoma in my right hamstring. Ewing's is a rare pediatric cancer that normally manifests itself in the lungs or bones. So, this was really rare...and very serious. Doc's weren't too sure about my prognosis but did say that it was really good that I caught it early. (My soapbox: If you know it ain't right - GO TO THE DOCTOR! It's just a co-pay. I went in on the 4th day after finding a bump, and that is what saved my life!)
I think my final count was 67 days in the hospital over the past year, 14 cycles of VERY nasty chemo, another 40 days or so laying on the sofa trying to recover, and they removed my right bicep femoris (rear hamstring muscle). I spent the time in the hospital researching what bike I wanted to buy and living vicariously through Beanz' videos! (Thanks again!) The good news, I'm done with chemo and at the moment am cancer-free. My first scan shows "all-clear"!!!! And I plan on "all-clear" reports for the next 5 years, too!
On January 1, while still a long way from being done with chemo, I got about 8 miles in on the bike. I needed to start the year off on a good start. I'm 6'2" and am up to 238 lbs. Doc said during treatment was NOT the time to be losing weight. That wasn't an issue. I begged anyone coming to see me to save me from hospital food and bring me something. They obliged....and it seems my wife told them all that chocolate was my favorite milkshake. Anyway, January 1 I got out on a ride. Only 8 miles, but I needed the sanity check. It felt SOOO GOOD....until I almost passed out. Rested on a bench for about 1/2 hour and finished off two bottles of water. Chemo is EXTREMELY dehydrating, so I'm glad I had brought extra bottles. I think that day I had 4 big bottles with me. Jan 2 I got 12 miles in...with my daughter(in case I had problems). Great ride and I felt pretty good. Chemo is cumulative, so the last treatments kicked my butt. After those two January rides, I could not do any more. It's ok, at least I got my fix.
Like I said, I'm done with chemo now(I just love the way that sounds!), and to reward myself, I have ordered a road bike. I'm done doing the miles on my old MTB. Don't get me wrong, tbe wheels are round and it works, but it's been a very long, hard year, and I REALLY WANT a new bike.
So, I finished up chemo March 17th and have seen my strength rebounding.....though slowly. Doc says there is nothing that will help it other than time, and it will be about 6 months until I see very much improvement. So, if I'm going to be exhausted whether I exercise or sit on the sofa, I'm going to ride.
What surprised me was when my wife (300 lbs+) asked if she could come along! WHAT? ARE YOU SERIOUS? I thought she had no interest in riding anymore. ABSOLUTELY!!!! She absolutely KILLS my speed. She cuts the distances I want to ride in about 1/2. AND I WOULD NOT TRADE IT FOR THE WORLD! We are committed to getting back in shape - and we're going to do it together! I came too close to leaving my kids without a dad. We're going to do what it takes to not have that happen! My wife needs encouragement to get out there and push herself and I'm glad to be the one encouraging her.
So in the past week, we've done three rides. Yesterday was 17.5 miles in 2 hours even. She was exhausted....and exhilarated! I felt better than I have felt in over a year. The morning was BEAUTIFUL and so was my wife. Her face was beet-red, she was drenched with sweat, barely able to breath, almost didn't have the strength to get off the bike but was so excited that we had exceeded our planned 15 miles my 2.5 miles. And it's only going to get better from here!
I do have a goal of riding in a few centuries, most importantly for me is the ALS ride in Napa, CA., so I'll be doing some riding on my own to get the miles up. Then again, she's surprised me once...maybe she'll want to do the century with me. How awesome would that be?