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

Sunday, September 18, 2011

La buona vita- The good life!

After my final Herceptin treatment, it was as if the final buzzer went off and things started to move really quickly.  I was extremely busy with work and was gearing up for our big vacation.  The timing was perfect and I could not be more grateful to be given the opportunity to travel with G and his family to Italy.  There was something about the feeling of really disconnecting from my everyday routine –including the bike, that let me feel free of so many of the worries I have been holding so tightly to.  We attempted to adopt a new lifestyle for the next 10 days.  We were in a house in a small village in Pulgia down in the “heel of the boot” on the Adriatic. The only thing keeping me from really living like the Italians was the fact that I did not speak Italian.  We tried to blend in the best we could and soak up as much of the new lifestyle as possible.  We did not bring bikes for a couple reasons; the hassle and the fact that we did not want to get them stolen.  This area is home of the “gipsy”- a fancy word for thief!  We took hikes, sightseeing drives, and just relaxed and swam. We had very limited internet and no phone service.  It has been a long time since I have detached from the cyber world and from the cancer vortex- It felt amazing!   I did not want to leave that mind set.

Traveling always reminds me of how lucky I am to live where I do and to have the life that I have.  Italia was beautiful, but it is certainly not home. 

Here are some of the highlights of our trip.

Great hike G and I took- View up the coast north of Otranto. 

We hiked the edge of these cliffs and the views were amazing!  

Here we are- it was so hot that day.  It was actually 100* almost every day!
Swimming holes like this one were always a great find.  
Dinners at home were always best. 

The outdoor grill.
The scene of many great meals and good company.
Driving south to the heel of the boot.  Fun drive! 

Down the cliffs in a small village- Castro.
Many smiles during our sightseeing adventures.

Delicious Cappuccinos
Watching the local activity 
G getting a little closer to see what the fisherman were up to.
So many cafes on the water
The good life...for sure.  Siesta time in Gallipoli, Italy.

As much as I would have liked to stay out of the cancer vortex, I still returned from vacation with medical junk to take care of.  It seems as though it never really ends but looking back to a year ago- I have made tremendous progress.

I have scheduled my next phase of my breast reconstruction process for October 13.  This is what is called the exchange surgery.  My plastic surgeon will be removing these horribly uncomfortable tissue expanders and replacing them with softer, squishier silicone implants.  I am not looking forward to surgery but I am looking forward to my new boobs!  Since I will be put under anesthesia for this surgery, I am also having my breast surgeon remove my medi-port at the same time.  This is the devise that I have been getting all my medicines infused through and blood drawn.  Since treatment is over and I should only need blood drawn roughly two times a year, I no longer have any use for it today, and nor in the future. If all goes well, this should be the last of the major surgeries until I decide to move forward with nipple reconstruction and/or tattooing. Yes, they will actually reconstruct nipples and use tattooing for the coloring.  I have not decided on that yet. I am also considering just 3-D tattooing.  First things first.

From what I have heard, this upcoming surgery is not as invasive as the first surgery and while my actual recovery time should be a lot shorter, my times off the bike will be about the same.  6 weeks.  I could keep pedaling through October and wait to have surgery in the winter months but honestly, I really want to put this behind me.  It has been way too long with these ‘rocks’ in my body and it has been too long since I have been able to sleep on my stomach.  Sleeping on my side is not even that easy or very comfortable. 

Having the surgery in October will also give me enough time to recover, enjoy the holidays and start training for the 2012 racing season.  This year was not my year to race.  I wanted to feel good but I did not recover from training rides or racing very easily.  I sort of lost the desire to race the rest of this season.   My body took a huge beating over the past 18 months and it was just too much to keep up my fitness to a racing level. I did my two big races this season and I am okay with that.  It was my way of saying a big Fuck You to cancer and I did just that. Now I just hope I stay healthy so I can attempt to have a good season next year. 




  1. Beautiful - the scenery AND you!!!

  2. Very sweet Sophia, thank you- hope all is well with you.