“I’m not the expert”by Tony Lanza
My life the last few weeks has been a bit more filled with hospital visits and tests and stuff than normal. You can read about that stuff over on my cancer-focused blog, www.effleukemia.com. The short version is that I’m going ahead with a stem cell transplant, and that this procedure is much more dangerous than sticking with just chemo, it gives me a much better chance at long term survival. Especially as someone so young – if left to its own devices, even with all the chemo we were throwing at it, my own bone marrow would most likely develop leukemia again at some point in my life. So, instead, we give me somebody else’s bone marrow, and hope for the best.
The plus side of that, though, is that my PICC came out, so for the first time in 4 months, I no longer feel this nagging, annoying, little murmur in my heart. It means for the next 2 weeks, I can go to the gym and do whatever I’d like (within reason). It means I get to live life for 2 weeks, and just try to enjoy myself. I intend to essentially live on my bike.
I mean, there are still more hospital visits to do, but no more than I’ve had in the past few weeks.
But, I learned an interesting tid bit. Despite all the chemo, despite all the infections and hospital stays and problems I’ve had, I’ve still been able to maintain a fairly consistent amount of bike riding, whenever it was safe for me to do so.
This past sunday, I did a 16 mile ride with my cousin, sister, and brother in law. It was a funny ride.
The weather has gotten a lot colder since the last time I was able to get outside on the bike, and I wasn’t quite sure how to layer myself to stay warm. Most of my training for my triathlons was either done in the spring, or done on a bike inside (indoor cycle trainer or spin bike, depending).
I put a hoodie on, put my bike jersey on underneath, and threw on a pair of bike shorts, figuring that would probably do it.
The way out, I really struggled. I was in the middle of back of the pack, and it just seemed like things weren’t working out for me. My bike felt heavy. My heart rate felt fast. I just didn’t think I was getting the speed I should have been getting for the amount of effort I was putting out.
On the way back, I was really feeling like I was starting to fade. I actually debating taking a break, which would be the first time I took a break for myself while biking since my 14 mile ride the week I was diagnosed with leukemia. Luckily, someone else had to use the facilities, so we made a quick pit stop. It had warmed up by then, so I took off the hoodie, and tied it and wrapped it around my waist.
Wouldn’t you know it, but the rest of the ride back was almost pathetically easy? I felt like I was flying the rest of the way home, though I was certainly a bit more drained than I should have been, given the amount of effort I had to expend getting to that point.
The moral of this story is: don’t wear a hoodie while biking unless you really need an extra layer.
It’s funny that even after hundreds of miles on the road, I still have super basic lessons to learn.
Also, while I was waiting for everyone to get ready, I had clipped in one foot on the bike. I was sitting there, just waiting, probably on my phone or something, when I started to feel the bike gently roll towards the clipped in foot. By the time I realized what happened, I just plopped right over onto my right side.
I had my first stupid clipped fall. Roughly 400 miles into riding with clips. Before I even started riding anywhere.
What the hell is the matter with me? Hah.