Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Uneasy rider

There's nothing I would like better right now than to jump into my cycling shoes, hop on my bike and tear off into the night.

My bike is resting on the same patch of real estate in my living room where I left it late last November. If it could, I bet my bike would sue me for neglect or abandonment.

Once I got a G-tube, I got very nervous about riding my bike. For city riding, there are too many things that could happen that could result in taking a spill, and I don't want to risk damaging the tube. Long-distance rides are a problem because staying hydrated through the G-tube is too complicated to fathom.

The trach I got last month only expanded the reasons why I shouldn't be riding my bike.

Fortunately, my cycling friends haven't abandoned me.

When I was hospitalized following my biopsy and surgery, my fellow Positive Pedalers buoyed my spirits with visits and text messages and hugs. Positive Pedalars are cyclists with HIV/AIDS, and I fly a Positive Pedaler flag on my bike whenever I ride.

My AIDS/LifeCycle friends have also been keeping an eye on me, through visits, e-mails and messages on my Facebook page. AIDS/LifeCycle is a 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles which raises funds for HIV services. I've done the past three AIDS/LifeCycles, and I'm registered to ride in ALC 8 this May.

Today, I got a get-well card signed by dozens of my ALC friends in the mail. I've missed every ALC training ride since October, the ALC holiday party and a recent ALC 8 countdown party at the Petersen Auto Museum, so knowing that my ALC family hasn't forgotten about me feels as wonderful as a swift descent on a smooth country road.

Tucked inside the get-well card was a Mickey Mouse pin with a note attached. The note read:

"Mickey heard about your eventful year when I was at Disneyland a few weeks ago, and wanted to send his best wishes and a big Mickey hug. I thought this pin would be the best way to deliver them. Hope you enjoy it! Love, Chris and Mel."

I haven't cried in a long while –I didn't even cry when my doctor told me I have cancer three weeks ago– but I cried when I read the messages in the ALC get-well card.

If chemo and radiation succeed in knocking out this cancer, and if I can get this G-tube removed and my trach plugged up, I just may have enough time for a compressed training season before AIDS/LifeCycle 8 begins.

I don't know if I will be able to pull that off. But I sure hope I get the chance to try.


Help me raise funds for AIDS/LifeCycle 8, May 31- June 6, 2009
My AIDS/LifeCycle page

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