Obliteride 2015

One of the most lovely aspects of Obliteride was the constant reminder of how cancer has touched all of our lives. From identifying survivors riding, to dedicating the ride to those in the midst of their battle or who lost the fight, cancer’s ghost was everywhere.

The ride itself was a challenging but doable loop that took us from Fred Hutch, around Lake Washington, around Mercer Island, and finally, around the bottom of Lake Union and in to Gas Works Park.

As we headed out from Fred Hutch wheel to wheel with hundreds of other riders, the energy was incredible. While I was still nursing my rib injury, and felt a little under trained, I also felt like I was on a mission.

As the day wore on, I was getting tired and while heading up one hill told Paul I wasn’t sure I could do it. Yes you can he said, yes you can, and I did.

Riding alongside my hero, my champion, my love, my partner, my Paul, was incredible. As we headed to the finish ahead of our five-hour goal, he reached for me and with his hand on my shoulder, we crossed the finish line together.

My sincerest thanks to my donors, who helped me raise $2,000 for life-saving cancer research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Thank you!

Adrienne, Amanda, Barbara, Chris, Dan, David, Derek, Fred, Greg, Janna, Jenn, Jill, Kathy, Laura, Marc, Paul (2), Paula, Peter, PJ, Scott, Sujay, Tammy, Tom, and Yvonne.

OBL5

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

As amazing as it sounds, Obliteride is SUNDAY. I feel a little under trained, but what else is new? Since our epic 50+ miler I haven’t put in much mileage. I also took a full week off last week for vacation and had business travel before that. Excuses, excuses! The thing that gets me is this: I hurt my ribs on Friday last week… This must be a sign of aging that you can roll over to check the time and hit your ribs on part of the bed and then it hurts for DAYS… Annoying! However, we will soldier on! The 50 miles WILL happen and the pain afterwards might just be more than expected considering all of the above.

But here’s the thing… Someone is dying of cancer right now. Someone is grappling with treatment decisions right now. Someone is telling their family right now.

I’m riding 50 miles to raise money because that’s what I can do right now.

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About that training…

Opetal pedalbliteride is coming up fast, August 9 in fact.  You might wonder how I have been training for the big event. I am using a combination of spin classes at my gym and long rides on my bike on the weekends. This photo in fact was taken on Saturday during a long 32 mile ride..Yes, there is a petal on my pedal that I think I picked up during a rest…Funny, it stuck with me for about 20 miles! This was our second long ride…I know, we probably need to ride more but life gets in the way. The plan for this weekend is to ride about 40 miles of the actual course which winds around Lake Washington. One challenge for me is some upcoming business travel. Business travel and a busy schedule is where the gym comes in.

At my local gym I am taking spinning/cycling class 2-3 times a week. I have also ridden my bicycle to work but the spin class is a much better workout.

The weather here has been really hot so hopefully we’ll have a cool down for the long ride this weekend!

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Too many cancer scares…

  • Ovarian cyst
  • Kidney
  • Breast
  • Skin (under thumbnail)

Each of those cancer scares included their own journey, diagnosis, surgery, waiting, anxiety. Even if you don’t have cancer you get to have some surgery because the minute you figure out you might have cancer you really don’t want it on you or in you. You will ask surgeons dumb questions like if it was their wife would they do the surgery and almost feel mad when they find nothing and you have to recover from the surgery. These are decisions you will second guess frequently. You will breathe a sigh of relief when you get your biopsy results if it’s negative and wonder if you should have let them remove your thumbnail or make a divot in your breast. When the results are positive then every subsequent scare has you wondering if you have cancer again. Where will it go next? The scars are a constant reminder of every battle and when you see other friends and family getting diagnosed you feel their pain and wonder if at some point we will all have a cancer scare or a cancer diagnosis…When will it ever end?

Please donate to make it stop. 100% of your donation goes to cancer research.

Bicycle memories

I clearly remember my first time unassisted on two wheels. Fairview Avenue, my father running with me as he held onto the back of my pink bike with the flowered seat. One moment held tightly and the next I was free, riding down our tree lined street unassisted.

When I was older I borrowed my mom’s Huffy bike, it was blue. I remember flying down a hill coming home from a friends house and getting hit by a car at the intersection. The bicycle lay twisted, and apparently so did I. I was OK, no broken bones just a little upset. When my mom came all I could say was “I’m sorry about the bike mom!”

I went without a bike for a long time, and didn’t do other things, because I was scared. I was afraid I would fall and land on my transplanted kidney. I didn’t ski or bike until I decided I was tired of being afraid.

2009 hybridThat all ended in 2009 when I purchased my red bicycle. I rode around town and rode it to work and even did a 25 mile ride once. Today I am riding this bike to work this summer as part of my training and one of the best things is that I get to ride to work with my husband.

STP meAs they say,one thing leads to another and there I am in July 2010 riding from Seattle to Portland. Obviously I’m not riding my hybrid bike, I’m riding my lovely road bike with complicated shoes and clip-less pedals. How I got here is a bit of a blur and a few hard landings trying to figure out those darned pedals. The STP (Seattle to Portland) ride was pretty amazing. We did the event in two days. We trained hard for the event and I felt ready. Of course, I ended up with a serious case of shingles during training, in May all down my right leg. Unbelievable. I imagine this slowed me a bit but we made it!

I’ve fallen of both bikes several times and in general I approach riding with a certain level of trepidation. I don’t take risks on the bike, I don’t make sharp turns or go over curbs or anything that might lead me to meet the pavement.

Yesterday we did a 30-mile ride as part of our training for Obliteride. By the end of that ride my legs were tired! I know this is just one of many long rides we will do in preparation our 50 mile Obliteride August 9.

Oh, and thank you to all who donated, so far we have raised $1,250. Please consider donating to this worthy cause and I promise I will keep getting back on my bike.

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Easy cancer

I am really lucky. I am lucky because my cancer was found early, and really by chance. If I hadn’t done that 100 mile bike ride, if I hadn’t gotten that kidney infection, no one would know that cancer was sitting there, waiting, growing… I don’t feel like a cancer survivor because I had easy cancer. I have seen some folks reading this blog with big, gnarly, obnoxious cancer that is wreaking havoc on their lives. People go through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and medication. They get to live with the side effects of all that and sometimes they have to do that all AGAIN. Many of them do not survive. Many of them survive but not in ways they’d like. Many cannot do the things they were doing/wished they could do like work, have babies, travel, relax… Many are strapped financially and live day to day wondering how they will get through the next day, how they will pay for medications and medical care,  and wonder if/when cancer will come back.

The surgeon who removed my cancer in 2011 said this to me during one of my final follow-up visits…”get a chest x-ray every year because that’s where this cancer goes next.”

PS…I made my goal but let’s blow this out of the water because 100% of all the money I raise goes DIRECTLY to cancer research. 100%

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surgery and backpacking…

engagementThe summer of 2011 included some amazing highs and some challenging lows. From a trip to Prague where the man of my dreams asked me to marry him, to a cancer diagnosis back home in Seattle. I spent that summer in a daze and Paul and I had some interesting discussions. Should we get married now? What will they find when they cut me open? Will they damage my kidney? Will I need another transplant? Oh, and cancer is just plain frightening because once you know you have it in you don’t know how big, how much, or where…

We ended up scheduling surgery for September 2011, just after the Labor Day holiday. As the date grew closer my anxiety level kept rising. My soon to be husband made a terrific suggestion: let’s go backpacking. Now I grew up car camping and did some as an adult too, but I never did any backpacking. We shopped for gear and made a reservation for Cape Alava for two nights over that holiday weekend, what a great idea! I was so occupied with the beauty and the load on my back, our search for whales and enjoying the deer passing through our campsite that I was at ease about my surgery.

When we got back from that wonderful trip Monday afternoon, Tuesday morning came. The surgery it self was painless and post-surgery, with a line of stitches down my lower abdomen (for those who don’t know, they put the new kidney from the transplant in your abdomen) I came home to heal.

Soon enough we would find out that I had a chromophobe renal cell carcinoma. I don’t really understand why I got this cancer but we did have my father checked out to be sure he didn’t have any cancer (he was fine) so the prevailing view was that I grew this myself. The drugs I take for my transplant, the immunosuppressants, those can cause cancer, so maybe that was it. Regardless, I was happy it was no longer with me.

Next time, follow-up

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