Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

A Delayed Return, But I’m Back

Since last summer I have not posted on this blog as frequently as I usually do.  And there’s a reason for that.  Sadly, that reason was not retirement.  Although I am eligible to retire and could afford to, I have a couple of daughters who cannot afford for me to.  So my current plan is to work for a few more years while I pay for their college tuition.  And then when I actually retire I’ll buy myself another retirement gift like I did when I became eligible to retire last fall.

The reason I have not been riding and posting in this blog is because early last summer I started experiencing intermittent stomach pains, and sometimes nauseau and various other symptoms.  This would occur at different times, but especially when riding a bike.  Neither I nor my medical team were initially able to determine the cause.  Because the symptoms would come and go it was like taking a car to a mechanic because it was making a strange noice, but my the time the mechanic takes it out for a test drive the noise had stopped.  By the time I could go to see one of my doctors the symptoms would subside.  And you can’t fix something when you don’t know what to fix.

We were eventually able to determine that it was a tear in my abdominal wall at one of the seven incision locations made during my previous cancer surgery.  Thankfully, the cancer was not back.    But the tear had become so large that additional surgery became necessary.  So I had surgery again this past fall to repair the problem.  And I am please to be able to say that the surgery was successful.

However, by the time I had recuperated from the surgery and was ready to get back in the saddle, the government incurred a partial shutdown due to a lapse in appropriations.  And I got furloughed, which means I was sent home from work without pay, for what turned out to be the longest shutdown in American history.  As you may know from reading this blog, I have been working for the Federal government for over thirty years.  So this was not my first furlough.  In fact, I have been furloughed more than a half a dozen times.  But this one was the longest, lasting from before last Christmas until January 25th of this year, around five weeks.  It turned out alright in the end, and I received back pay for the work missed during the furlough.  But the furlough time kept me away from my lunchtime bike rides for even more time.

And then when the furlough finally ended, to coin a phrase, “when it rained it poured.”  Since returning to work after the government shutdown, we have been experiencing numerous closings, delays, and early dismissals from work due to severe inclement weather here in the D.C. area.  This further delayed returning to my routine lunchtime bike rides.

It’s been around six months since I was in the habit of riding every day, so I will have to transition back into riding and posting about it on this blog as frequently as I used to.  I got out of shape and gained some weight during “the incident.”  But I have two goals to getting back to the way things used to be.  The first is to get fit again.  And the second is to stop referring to allowing myself to gain weight and get out of shape as “the incident.”

I have adjusted and tuned up my bikes.  So they’re ready.  And I’m now ready too.  Every journey has to start somewhere.  Or in this case, restart.  So it’s time to start riding again.  So please keep an eye out for me on the streets of D.C.  And keep reading this blog.

Yesterday was National Cancer Survivors Day. And to celebrate I signed up for the Great Cycling Challenge (GCC). Let me explain.

The concept of the GCC is simple. Participants set a personal riding goal for the month of June, and then get people to sponsor them. And all of the money raised from the sponsors goes toward fighting childhood cancers.

As it states on the front page of this blog, I’m not a fanatical cyclist. I’m just a guy who goes for bike rides. I use my lunch break each day at work, or occasionally on a weekend day off, to go for a ride and discover some of the interesting sites and events in and around D.C. I then write about it in this blog.

But I am now committed to some bike riding that is a little different than my norm. I have pledged to ride 250 miles during my lunchtime tides this month. That puts me on a pace to ride a cumulative distance during this year’s lunchtime bike rides equal to the distance between New York City and Los Angeles.

As a cancer survivor myself I know how scary and difficult such a diagnosis can be. But I was diagnosed as an adult. I can’t begin to imagine how much more scary and difficult it is for children. And despite being a parent, I can’t imagine what it is like for the parents of a diagnosed child. I love my children more than my own life and would rather have cancer myself than see one of my children diagnosed.

Currently, cancer is the biggest killer of children from disease in the United States. Over 15,700 children are diagnosed every year. And tragically, 38 children die of cancer every week.

So I signed up for the GCC to raise money to help these kids and their parents fight back, and to support The Children’s Cancer Research Fund in continuing their work to develop lifesaving treatments and find cures for childhood cancers. And I’m asking you to please go to my personal GCC page and sign up to be one of my sponsors.

I know there are lots of charity options, as well as bills to pay and other demands on your finances. So any amount you can give will be appreciated. All you have to do is go to my GCC personal page, or click on the logo at the top of this post, to donate using a credit card or PayPal. And like the lack of a minimum or maximum number of miles participants can ride, there is no minimum or maximum to the donations.

Anything you can give will help keep me motivated. But more importantly, it will help the kids. And I can’t think of a better was to celebrate being cancer free than do something to help kids with cancer.

Update:  Through the Great Cycle Challenge and other events, the Children’s Cancer Research Fund raised a total of $13.1 million in fiscal year 2018.  This money goes to support to the brightest scientists whose ideas are making the greatest impact for children with cancer.  The fund also supports vital family services across the country and advocates for childhood cancer education and awareness to surround families with community and, ultimately, hope.  Thank you for your support.