Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Cycling with cancer (this is not a depressing post)

Cancer. Feh. Big deal, right?
Calm down. It's OK. I'm just entering the numerous ranks of 'future breast-cancer survivor'.  Not long after the start of this year's Coffeeneuring Challenge, at the ripe old age of 44, I was diagnosed.

I won't let it stop me, I continued working, cycling and doing all the things I normally do, but interspersed with lots of cancer research on the Interwebs, medical tests and trying to figure out the least-traumatic way of letting family members, loved ones and co-workers know I know had cancer.
No offense to my readers, but you're the last to know. I debated much with slapping this out there in the blogosphere.

I rode my bike to my appointment for a routine mammogram and that's when the diagnosis hammer dropped and my life as a cancer patient began. Biopsy, MRI, another biopsy, CT scan, bone scan, x-rays, bloodwork, talking to a surgeon, oncologist, etc...

Laughter is the best medicine.

I have wonderful emotional support. I'm distracted from the negative mindset that this diagnosis would otherwise bring. I have someone who laughs at my cancer with me, finds humor in all the weird things that are/will happen to my body with cancer treatments. How awesome is that?
Kudos to my caregiver, he's sacrificing so much and giving so much time. All caregivers deserve a big pat on the back.

Mocking Death
I have a stuffed toy vulture that looms above my desk. It's been a grim reminder of my mortality, but it makes cute noises when you push on it's belly... so perhaps it's not all that grim. I can smile at this cute, fuzzy, squeaky metaphor for death. Illness and death are a part of life, deciding that I should laugh as much as possible throughout life and resign fear and sadness to the backseat brings me solace.
I have no plans on letting this beat me.

Buzz off, Death.

Oh, the Irony
The day of my surgery was Friday the 13th. I find humor in this as well.
Some time ago, I found myself gravitating towards wearing hi-viz pink while riding. I chose it because of it's visibility, not because of any affiliation with breast cancer. I began choosing pink accessories for the Kona Rove I bought just before my diagnosis and named the bike after a friend who had passed from cancer. Kinda funny, yes?

Surgery will keep me off the bike and in a hug-free zone for some time, but I'll get back in the saddle as soon as they'll let me.

Women: regardless of age, if you have tissue categorized as very dense or extremely dense, get a 3D mammogram. Pay extra for it. Lobby your insurance company to cover them. A regular mammogram is virtually useless in women who have dense tissue. If you're high risk and/or have dense tissue, lobby your insurance company to cover mammograms under age 45.

When/if you see me out and about on the bike, don't fear asking me about my surgery or treatments, I'm not uncomfortable about them. If you aren't comfortable talking about it, that's cool too... even if you say to me: "it's good to see you out and about." that would mean a lot because it *is* very good to get out and be seen. Living, breathing and laughing is an awesome thing and I plan on doing a lot of it in the future.

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