My account of life both on and off of two wheels...... "At least I'm enjoying the ride"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bikes, Boats and Bald Baby Bird?

Last Friday was the best I have felt in a week.  I have yet to feel 100% since surgery, but I have come to terms  that it may not be  for awhile.  As I get more adjusted to the new me, I start to figure out my limits. And, try to give myself a little push past them.  I've never been one to stay within the limits. 

I started off Friday morning with a very productive physical therapy session.  My therapist is helping me work out the cording in my left arm.  Cording can happen after having a axillary lymph node dissection, which I did.  It limits my range of motion in my shoulder and causes a great deal of tightness, as if I have a tense rope that starts under my armpit.  It can cause pain when I'm doing certain activities so it needs to be stretched.  I am hopeful for a full recovery from this.

On any given Friday evening, you can pull into the parking lot at Graham Hills in Pleasantville to find a group of mountain bikers ready to head into the woods to get their ride on. I've missed these rides.  It has been over two months since I've been able to ride my mountain bike in the woods.   With the clearance from most of my team of doctors, G loaded the bikes on the car and we headed for the woods.  I didn't really know who was going to be there at the trail. Oddly, I was nervous.  Will I still remember how to do this?  Will my arm hurt?  It has also been a while since I've seen a lot of these guys and there is always a bit of social anxiety that comes with this diagnosis-I've felt a bit isolated these days.  As people arrive and I see their huge smiles and realize they are just happy to see me, it was then I started to feel more comfortable in my skin.  As I'm gearing up I hear " Reba, are you here to ride?" I'm sure gonna try!

G captures my first dirt ride. 

 I have a long way to go before I get back up to speed and confidence but this was a good start.  

On Saturday G and I headed up to the Peekskill Celebration for the Dragon Boat Races.  My mother met us up at the train station and we headed over to meet my teammates for the day.  The Yin Yang Dragons- Great group of random people out to celebrate life.  Some folks I knew before from other activities and ironically, there was a couple there that I know from mountain biking!  
Getting ready to get in the boat- Holding my rose proudly for the Cancer Awareness Rose Ceremony
My mom and me
The Dragon

Trying to figure out if the roses will make it through the race?
Paddling out to line up
The race
Post race, the boats come together for the Cancer Awareness Rose Ceremony.  Quite emotional with bag pipes and all. 
View from the shoreline
Roses now float  away as a symbol of those that have lost their battle or continue to fight to beat the cancer dragon.

Paddling back to the dock. 
Safe and sound back at the dock- phew!
Me and my beautiful, strong and courageous friend J.

This was a great day. Thank you to my friends for inviting me to paddle with your team and to be able to participate in the Cancer Awareness Ceremony.  This experience will be with me forever and will remind me on those dark days that there IS life after diagnosis and Cancer will not define me or defeat me.  Also, thank you to my mom and my guy who came out to support me.

I was so tired after this event that I ended up passing out on the couch for a 2 hour nap before joining up with my sister.  This was her last weekend in town before she heads back to her real life in Maine.  I am going to miss her so much I have trouble even thinking about it. 

I had planned to try and ride in the woods again on Sunday morning, but  my arm hurt too much.  I didn't want to over do it. So we decided to hit the North County Trail again.  These are great endurance rides for me and are way less hard on my body.  I was very tired after the full weekend of activities but so grateful for feeling well enough to participate and enjoy the fantastic weather and people.

So, am I totally bald yet?  I still have baby bird like fuzz on my head but yes, I'm almost completely bald.
Taken Friday night- even less than that now.


  1. What a beautiful ceremony, wish we could have been there! Thanks for sharing your great photos, they make me feel like I was there. You are really creating an amazing photo/video diary.

  2. Thank you Kathy, I love doing this. I feel like you were there as well.