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

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bon Appetit!

Today is one year since my surgery. I thought I would have a lot to say but I have been at a loss for words.

After my surgery last year, a friend sent me a box of awesome cookies to help with the recovery and my spirits. They were all decorated butter cookies (my favorite) and amongst the batch, was a personalized cookie.

Straight from the box.

I could not bare to eat it. I took a photo of it and decided to freeze it for my one year anniversary.
I pulled it out of the freezer last night in preparation of today.


After my evening pedal, I will be sharing my special cookie with G and saying a big "F U to cancer".

Last year cancer took my breasts from me but today I have my health!

Bon Appetit!

S. M.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The “Wait and See” approach.

I had my follow up appointment with my OBGYN regarding my suspect radiology report.  It was pretty non-eventful as all we did was go over the report together.  This was helpful because I really did not know what it all meant and using ‘Dr Google’ is not always the best way to find your answers.    Bottom line is I have a fibroid or two : one is pretty large.  I also have a couple ovarian cysts.  This is all very common and usually benign findings for women in their 30’s.   But of course- with my history I will be carefully watched and monitored.  After discussing it all, we collectively decided to push back the follow up ultrasound three months and take the “wait and see” approach.  I am not off the hook but nothing appears to be life threatening or even close to it.  Now I just have to not think about it. 
The three weeks were up already between my Herceptin treatments.   The side effects were a bit different this time.  I felt much more tired and achy for a couple days.  Friday morning my knees and ankles were really sore when I woke up.  Was it the Herceptin or is it the Tamoxifen?  The runny nose and headaches usually follow two weeks post treatment.  It is worse at the 10 day mark but it all seems pretty manageable in the grand scheme of things.  I am now only seeing my oncologist every other treatment so I did not see her this time.  To be honest, I was relieved.  As much as I like knowing I am being looked after, it adds more time and anxiety to my day.  

Despite my complaints of aches and pains, I am overall feeling really strong.    I have been focusing on my bike training and nutrition and it seems to be paying off.  
After the really bad week I shared about in my last post, I was starting to lose faith in the fact that I could do this huge race on June 5th.  If you don’t remember, I am registered for the Bearscat50 - a 50 mile mountain bike race.  It will not be an easy 50 miles either.  The Monday following that bad week, I walked into the Pilates studio feeling tired, weak and discouraged.  My instructor is really amazing.  She has understood my focus from the beginning and she knew something was up with me that day in the studio.  She asked how my training was over the weekend and my reply was basically – minimal at best.  We talked about what was not feeling right while she quickly got me started on one of the machines to stretch out my legs. It took about 15 minutes into the workout but I was already starting to feel better.  She pushed me hard that day and moved me quicker than usual.  Her goal was to energize me with a fast paced core workout to make me feel strong.  She purposely didn’t work my legs hard so I could go out and ride my bike that evening.   Her plan worked and that night I hit the road for an awesome 34 mile solo road ride and felt stronger than I had in a long time.  I owe a lot to this Pilates instructor and for believing in me and giving me her time and guidance.  My recovery would not be the same and I believe it has made a huge difference.  I am so grateful for the opportunity. 

This jump start to the week really helped get me back in the training groove.   I have had a few weeks of great riding and workouts.  

A couple weekends ago, there was a race at Wawayanda in Hewitt, NJ.  It was the first race of the H2H mountain bike series but G and I both decided not to race in it.  I probably could have raced, but I was not ready to put the pressure on just yet.  I felt I needed the training block so instead we decided to head out to the course on Saturday to ride a few loops.  This is the same venue where the Bearscat50 will be so even though the course will be different, it really gave me a reminder of the lay of the land.  While it is not the hardest mountain biking I have ever done, it is certainly one of the more challenging and rocky areas to ride around here.  A mile into the race loop, I felt great.  I had that extra light feeling on the pedals and was coasting through the first set of rock gardens without a hitch.  This course was no joke and there was one technical section after another.  It really made me have to stay focused and be present.     Lap two, maybe I was a little too arrogant from lap one but I was reminded how quickly it can happen.  I hit a rock the wrong way and slid off my bike only to find my right arm ripped up from the rocks.  It was bleeding quite a bit, but surprisingly it did not hurt as bad as it could have.  It stung as I rode on and I was just angry that I fell on something so silly.  I am still frustrated at times with my new body and my new physical restrictions, this put me in a bit of a tizzy for the remainder of the 2nd lap.  I could tell G was just trying to keep his distance the rest of the lap.  He knows that I usually work this sort of thing out for myself.  Sure enough, I did and lap three was another experience.  While I was a bit more timid on the really gnarly stuff, I still rode well and we ended up with a good 25 miles of technical riding in our legs.  It was a great training day for both of us.  On the way home, G and I actually talked about how I felt after the crash.  The frustration, the anger is all understood and merited at times but crashing on my mountain bike…that is just mountain biking! 

G was riding like a champ that day! 
A new section of trail.
I thought I would be too spent on Sunday to ride the dirt so we decided to go for a road ride instead.   Road riding is not easy but it sure has a different effect on the body.  My legs felt tired in the morning but not as bad as I thought they would.  I still had quite a bit of life left in them.  My lungs felt clear despite the horrible pollen in the air and my heart rate felt right on target. We had a great 45 mile road ride on a beautiful sunny day! 

This past weekend we headed down to Pennsylvania for a family visit and of course we brought the bikes.  We are down to the wire here for training and can’t lose a day let alone a weekend.  We had planned to go Friday night.  The overall week and my treatment took more out of me then I anticipated so we decided to get a good night’s rest and head out first thing in the morning.  We drove right to the trail head at Blue Marsh Lake.  This was by no means a technical place to ride but it had plenty of mileage, awesome singletrack and more climbing than we anticipated.  We had such a great time riding there that we decided to head back the following afternoon before driving back to NY.   This was a great plan as we were able to get another solid day of riding in with over 4000 feet of climbing over two days. 

Stopping for a break in this beautiful field. 

Bikes eye view.

So does this all mean I will be ready to race June 5?  I guess we will have to “wait and see”…

Thank you for reading.