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

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wrapping things up.

Christmas has come and gone....We started off with a Christmas Eve morning ride on some new trails in Yorktown. I was so grateful to be out in the woods among good people and the fresh air.  It meant more to me than just another other group bike ride- thank you everyone that was there.  

Too far away but you get the point.

As planned, we headed into NYC for the evening with G's parents and sister.  We started off with evening mass...yes, we all went to church and it was pretty special.  The decoration, the music, the spirituality-  It was almost more than I could handle emotionally.  We spent the night in NYC after a lovely meal and with great company.  After a relaxing morning, we headed up north to my father and Anne's for a low key Christmas dinner.  Anne's parents were up from Florida and  a couple of their friends joined us as well.  I didn't take many Christmas photos but Anne sent me this one of the four of us.

Christmas Day Smiles.

Christmas was followed up by a huge snowstorm that just about shut down the east coast. We slept in that morning and realized we better hurry if we wanted to get a ride in before the trails were all gone...The traction was perfect and G and I had a great ride in the woods that day.

Stopping for a rest and a photo opportunity. 

The following day after the storm,  my guy frantically shoveled the car out so I could make it to my radiation treatment (we don't want to miss any). That afternoon we met up with some friends for some sledding up at Rockwood- this has and always will be a prime place to go sledding because the hill is so steep and  the view of the Hudson is fantastic.  I was pretty tired from treatment and feeling a little fragile, so I opted to watch. G and I walked around amidst the sledders while the wind howled and tried to blow us off the hill.  The wind was so strong that day that it almost blew all the snow off the top of the hill.
G posing at the top of the hill. 

Seeking shelter under a tree.

The new year is almost here and of course the end of my radiation treatment is coming to an end.  I was hoping to be finished by December 31st, but it turns out I have one more left on Monday.  But that is ok, as I have to see Dr M anyway for a follow up.

Like many people, the end of the year is a time when we look back and reflect on where we have been.  I started to remember back to last New Years and how I had no clue what would lie ahead for me.  G moved in last February and shortly after that ( not even two months later) I was diagnosed with cancer.  Frankly, that is as far as I went with this "looking back" on the year crap. So much of the last year  is still very dark for me to think about.  I can only look forward from here.

As you can imagine, I am anxious to start a new year.  While much of the effects of my treatments will linger,  G continues to remind me that I have come a long way since May.  I continue to try and stay in the moment, but there is some level of anticipation of what this new year will bring.  All I really wish for is to be healthy and cancer free. A pretty simple wish for most people, as we take for granted our health- but this year that is all I hope for.

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for what might happen in 2011!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The final countdown.

It is the final countdown of my radiation treatments.   I have 5...yes only 5 more radiation treatments left.  I am exhausted but surprisingly finding the energy to get a lot done in a day.  It must be the excitement that this huge part of my treatment is almost over.  I might be over doing it a bit since I passed out on the couch last night before 9 pm.

The treatments are going as planned.  About two weeks ago, my skin started to develop an itchy rash on my sternum and my collarbone.  This is to be expected and Dr. M. does not seem to be too concerned.  If my skin starts to bubble and peel, than we up the medicine to something stronger but for now, I will keep using this steroid cream and Biafine.  It seems to be doing the trick and my skin remains status quo.   I was advised that the skin could get worse after I stop treatments.  I guess the effects of the radiation keep going and then the skin begins to heal.

Like most, this has been a hectic month.  I have had all my routine Doctor appointments and then some.   I have been able to work more now that I am feeling better but I still get tired quickly.  We have been more social with holiday parties and G had a birthday last week.
It was too cold for a ride so we went for a hike instead.  
We went out to eat at the Red Hat - Make a wish G!
Even thought we did not ride on G's birthday, we did manage to get some really great riding in last weekend.  Saturday we ventured up the OCA  for a two hour pedal.  Always good for my endurance training.  Sunday was a surprisingly balmy 35 degrees and after a great nights rest and relaxing morning, we headed to Graham Hills.  I felt steady for the first time in a while and G and I had a great time in the woods.

Christmas is days away and I almost finished my holiday baking and trying to tie up some loose ends for the big day.  We plan to spend Christmas Eve and morning with G's family in the city and then Christmas afternoon at my fathers.  It took me a while to get into any sort of holiday spirit but baking my traditional and not so traditional holiday goodies helped.

Oatmeal Cranberry cookies- my new favorite. 
Mini Zucchini Breads- apparently they are delicious 
I had good intentions of getting holiday cards out....sorry in advance, but it didn't happen.  I am grateful to have so much love in my life.  Thank you to all of my family and friends who have helped me during a very difficult time in my life. Especially to my guy for all you have done for me this year.  It has not been easy and I'm sure at times I have not been easy to deal with.  I could not have done this with out you. 

So, the final countdown of this phase of treatment and 2010 is near.  Merry Christmas to you and your families and here is to a healthy and peaceful new year!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Halfway and cold days.

Winter has hit NY pretty hard.  We have been enjoying a mild fall until this past weekend.  It got cold really quick.  While most people flee for the indoors, we sought shelter in the woods.  My guy has been a big motivator to get me back out there riding.  Not only did he build me a new plush bike to ride ( yes, my guy is awesome) but he is always enthusiastic about riding our bikes and encouraging  me.  As much as I love riding my bike more than anything, I came to a harsh realization-I am at the bottom of my game.  I even took a moment on Saturday and said, out loud - I think I will quit mountain biking....It's just too hard.  I expect to be out of shape but I feel like I am so far behind where I was last April that it will be impossible to ever have that same connection to my bike.  Maybe there is some truth to that. 

Sunday was the colder of the two days and even though "I quit mountain biking" the day prior, my guy and two of our dear friends convinced me otherwise. That morning, I sat in G's car while we waited for our friends to arrive.  The heat was pumping out of the vents and the seat warmers were roasting my butt and I thought, how did I used to do this?  I actually used to ride in colder weather than that and even snow!   

This was taken last year on New Years Eve day. I don't remember if I was cold but look at those smiles. 
There was no snow on Sunday but I was bundled up and feeling the chill.  While I am still off my game and still out of shape, I managed to have a great time in the woods.  Isn't that what it is really about anyway?

Vortex update:

I have passed the halfway point of my radiation treatments.  I have completed 17 out of 33 treatments and so far, it has been pretty uneventful.  The daily routine is getting old but I just keep reminding myself that this will not last forever.  My skin is turning the perfect "pink" and while it is tender, it is holding up strong.

My three weeks were up and I had my Herceptin treatment yesterday.  For the first time in months I did not have much to complain to Dr. W about. I'm sure she was happy about that.

It is hard to believe all the crap I have had to go through the past 9 months. It is a very long treatment process to which oddly, I am very grateful for.  Without these treatments.....well, we don't need to discuss that.