Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Open Streets- where you can high-five the Pope

Look at all these cyclists!

I got a chance to greet Jeremy Raymer

After OpenStreets, the 4 of us enjoyed some brews
 Some non-bike activities:
We enjoyed some time at the spray park down the street.

I love the view from the hammock!

There's a new mural Downtown in Strawberry Way.
 Back in March I started a 311 request to the City to restrict the parking at the entrance(s) of the Strip District trail. One of my panniers was damaged while I was trying to squeeze my bike through the cars blocking the entrance. Finally, 3 months later, I got my no-parking sign and there was compliance on it's debut. YES.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Feeling 'normal' without breasts with some help

In August of 2015, just before I was officially diagnosed and just after the lumps nearly materialized overnight... I had an inkling that I might have cancer. For an entire month, I spent the daylight hours trying not to stress about my situation and my evenings lying in bed burdened with worry. It was then that I happened to catch an standup comedian on HBO named Tig Notaro. She joked about her breast cancer diagnosis, she took off her shirt halfway through her set and performed the remainder topless. Her mastectomy scars disappeared as she continued; they vanished. I and the audience ignored what we were at first shocked by and learned to laugh with the topless, breastless woman. I admired her while fearful of what awaited me.

I knew I'd never be as normal as I once was, but she helped me to feel that this new body I would soon have wasn't quite so horrendous. She was the first person to help me feel normal with no breasts even before I had lost them.

Then, I too decided to try and go topless with mastectomy scars. I'd learned through fellow cyclists that it was perfectly legal for women (or anyone for that matter) to go topless in PA (exceptions for State Parks like Point State). I could sun myself topless in Schenley park? With some encouragement and reassurance I did so. It's rather refreshing and feeling the sun on one's chest is a feeling I'd never experienced before. I truly enjoyed it.

I'm not ashamed of how I look now, but I fully understand it might make folks a bit uncomfortable at first if they see someone with the scars I sport now. On the rare occasions I've sunbathed topless, I've done so in a location fairly remote from others. I plan on doing it in the future.

I also have Tig Notaro to thank for feeling that the humor that we used to approach this 
illness was normal. I wondered aloud where my breasts were now: "You think they're in a landfill somewhere? What did they do with them?" I felt relieved after learning that she too had this discussion with her significant other. "Do you think they just threw them in the trash?" "I sure hope so; recycling's not an option." 

If you choose to, you can click on the link below and see what cancer does to the human body. Be forewarned, you may find the images disturbing, shocking, etc...or you might not... you might be enlightened, moved or inspired... and that would be my intent. However, if you're offended by the images in the link below, I feel badly for you.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Rainbow Ride, radiation begins and more foraging

This month's Flock ride centered around support for and solidarity with the LGBTQ community: The Rainbow Ride. The trailer cranked out Queen and Bowie tunes. The route hit several locations important to Pittsburgh's Gay history.

I recently started the next phase of my cancer treatments: radiation. They're daily. For 6 weeks. Yeah, my jaw dropped when I heard that. 5 days a week for the next 6 weeks. Wow.
I managed to have them scheduled at a time that allows me to bike there before work and get it out of the way. At least there's that.

We went for a short hike (we did not use the bikes! *GASP*) in 40 Acres park, soon to be Hays Woods City Park.

We collected raspberries

...saw interesting 'shrooms

Turkey tracks!


Thursday, June 2, 2016

For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Ride of Silence that wasn't.

I recently had my final chemo infusion. 6 months, 16 rounds and numerous side effects later... I got to ring the Bell, my coworkers threw a party for me with macaroni and cheese and 4 different types of pie. I like pie.


Stella, one of my favorite techs at the center.

Me= not brave.

We were all set to take part in the Ride of Silence, as we waited and socialized before the ride, birds took a liking to our  bikes, they landed on several bikes handlebars and fenders. Interesting behavior.

However, as the throngs assembled, I had a vicious bout of chemo-fatigue set in and we decided to wait out the episode on the benches. The riders left, and when I felt well enough to ride 20 -30 minutes later, we rode home.

Marko and I made the rounds of many of the Bike to Work Day cafes and socialized with our fellow bikey people.

My next course of treatments is 6 weeks of daily radiation zaps and daily doses of anti-estrogen therapy.

Can I get another pie party when those are completed too?