Lately I’ve been thinking and talking a lot about the deeper meaning of cycling. How cycling is more than gear, racing and recreation. If we let it, cycling is an activity that brings us closer to nature, mindfulness, and the true spirit of who we are. Whether we are seeking adventure on a trail or braving cars during a commute, the bicycle allows us to truly experience the world around us. Our senses are magnified and that allows us to look inside and see what we are made of.
I’m very interested in exploring this deeper side of cycling, meeting others during their journey, and helping others break the sometimes difficult entry into the world of cycling.
A few months back I read a very inspirational story by my ‘online friend’ Kris. She runs the website VeloHut. If you haven’t been there it’s a wonderful resource for road cyclists. Great reviews, how-to videos, and personal stories.
I received permission to re-post her article about cancer and cycling. She’s amazing and her story will give you motivation to pedal hard!
A little over four years ago I was diagnosed with bone cancer that had already spread to my lungs, lymph nodes, heart and brain. Things weren’t looking good. The oncologists had made it very clear that they didn’t believe I was a good candidate for chemo and/or radiation and that if anything, it might prolong my life only briefly. In the meantime, my quality of life would be in question.
I naturally had a lot to think about. How was I going to deal with this? What about my family and friends? So much was whirling through my mind and I felt terribly lost. My personal doctor searched for alternative options for me and we did find one. It required dedication and a lot of hard work from me but I was willing to give it a try. It meant A LOT of exercise and making sure it was aggressive. Evidently there are a lot of studies going on around the world that are looking heavily into diet and exercise towards fighting many illnesses such as cancer. That fact gave me a lot of hope that I shouldn’t roll over and give up. The natural approach might not be for everyone, but it’s working for me and although I am fighting cancer, I am also more fit than ever before.
During this past 4 years, it’s been a roller coaster ride and, in a way, a dance with my tumors. I’d fight one tumor only to be replaced by a new one. The aggressiveness of my cancer felt relentless at times. It was getting very frustrating but I was still believing that if I just kept with it, I could in fact beat back cancer and push my body beyond these tumors. Not to mention family and friends were not letting me give up and kept pushing me along.
Yesterday, June 26th (2013), I got the best news I could have possibly asked for and just in time for my birthday. I found out that for the first time since I was diagnosed, I am tumor free. Not a single tumor left. I still have my bone cancer to deal with but bone cancer is not always what kills. It’s often the tumors that spread from it. So, I’ve bought myself time and quite possibly a lot of it.
How am I doing it? I’m riding a bike and I watch what I eat. I push my body beyond its’ comfort zone when I ride and I’m beating back my cancer. I don’t take any medications, nor do I even take vitamins. Nothing. It’s me and my BMC TeamMachine. I like the name, makes me feel as though we are a “team”. A friend of mine renamed BMC to “Beating MotherF***ing Cancer”. Every time I walk past my bike, ride it, or say goodnight to it at night, I know it’s what is helping me survive. Yes, I say goodnight to it every night. I’ve been told that is weird but I have a special attachment to it and I just can’t help that.
Many of you never even knew I was going through this battle and really only a small handful of you did. It wasn’t something I wanted to talk about very often for so many reasons. Now that I am winning this fight, which I believe strongly I am, I felt a need to be more open about it.
To those of you that knew, I appreciate your support and encouragement. I appreciate your pushing me along when I was frustrated or wanted to throw in the towel. I would honestly not have made it through without some of you and your dedication to how I decided to fight my cancer.
I’ve got a long way to go but I’m looking forward to many more years with my family and friends and continuing this fight. I’m glad I am doing this through something that is as much fun as cycling. I couldn’t have asked for anything more enjoyable even though sometimes it feels like hell.
It’s nice to finally come out and share about my battle. I’ve been wanting to introduce myself as one of the founders of VeloHut and explain why cycling is so important to me as well as the importance of this site to me. I want to help others find a love for riding or share a common passion with other cyclists. I would love for everyone to feel how healthy they can be from riding a bike. Both mentally and physically.
Thanks for reading,