Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase. - MLK, Jr.
Courage is being scared to death...and saddling up anyway. - John Wayne
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. - Albert Einstein

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Mysterious Healing Powers of the East Route

Sunday I did it. I got back on my bike and rode with a group, only four weeks post surgery. I can comfortably lift my arms above my head and support my weight on the handlebars. The only problem would be if I hit a hole or flatted a tire, but since I did the no-drop ride I didn’t have to worry about any of that. It was a beautiful morning, the sun was shinning, and the air was slightly cool with the promise of intense heat as the day wore on.

The Jack and Adam's shop ride was heading east. I love the east ride!

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The group slowly winds its way towards Springdale along 2nd street, past Full-screenCristo Rey Catholic Church where the priest has a Spanish word of the day, past the urban Boggy Creek Farm, and over the railroad tracks to Springdale Road. On Springdale we pass the house where the crazy lady once through a rock at the bikers in “her bike lane”, move through intersections most of us never see in our daily lives, pass old forgotten cemeteries, and small churches with bands starting to warm up for daily services. The group moves up and down small hills warming up for the larger hills ahead. We take a right on Loyola and make it through the intersection at 183; then up the hills on Johnny Morris in a single file line so cars can zoom by without getting too annoyed at the bikers. At the Budweiser distribution plant we take a breather and let everyone catch back up to the group. Then we move faster down a winding country road before popping out on Decker. None of us want to do the loop around the lake yet, so we ride down Decker to Loyola, go back across 183, and back towards the shop. While we were riding the neighborhoods have started to come alive. People are waiting at the bus stops, some in their church clothes and some just hoping to find someplace cool for the day. The Catholic churches are in between services and people are rushing to take their places inside, or are leaving ready to go about the rest of their day. As we cross under I-35 Mobile Loves and Fishes are feeding the homeless, and we are almost done. Rowers in their boats cut though the water as we pass over the Congress Avenue Bridge, and we are back at the shop.

Cody making sure that his bike is ready to go before the ride.

Zac and I, ready to conquer the morning ride.

Mark making sure everything is in tip top shape before proceeding.

Did I mention that I love the east ride? Cody and I started riding with the group in January 2009, it was so cold then. It was the ride that originally helped me get into shape, and drop 50+ lbs. I know that I can show up to the ride, and even if I’m not in the best shape or mood, by the end of the ride I will feel great. Since being diagnosed with Stage IIA Breast Cancer (T1N1M0) in December 2009 it has been the one activity, happening every Sunday morning, that if I felt well enough to attend, I would be there. And when I didn’t feel well enough to go, Cody tried his best to be there. It allows us to feel connected to our community of friends.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dog Days of Recovery

Four weeks out of surgery, and my recovery is progressing nicely. I have some sections on my incisions that look like a skinned knee, but they are healing. To facilitate their healing I am still covering the wounds in Bacitracian and Xeroform, and wearing a soft jog bra. No tape! Of course all of this is happening to slowly for me. We are in the hottest part of the summer and I want to go swimming! It is frustrating to have to hide in the house because it is too hot to go outside.

My flexibility and reach is increasing everyday. I have exercises that I do three times a day, and am now able to reach my left hand straight over my head. This is a huge improvement, last week I could only get it about 45 degrees over my head. I have no problems with my right arm because they did not remove any lymph nodes enabling the muscles in my chest area to recover quicker. The edema in my left arm has also decreased significantly. After surgery my left arm was significantly more swollen than my right arm, now it is difficult to detect a difference. I am still waiting to be allowed to exercise, which is starting to drive me slightly stir crazy. I don’t understand how people can just sit at home day after day… it is so boring.

I have been passing the time by reading and volunteering for the Breast Cancer Research Center of Central Texas. On Friday August 20th I am selling raffle tickets at a BCRC's Suzy's Soldiers Golf Tournament. That night, Cody and I are attending the Gala Event at the Barton Creek Country Club. It will be the first time we have been back to Barton Creek since our wedding reception. The dress is “Texas Chic” and it sounds like a fun event. I finished reading Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain; a great book about working as a chef in New York City. I am now reading Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel, recommended by my Aunt Ellen. In order to keep from going completely nuts I have requested that I be allowed to start working out. If Dr. Chang agrees, I may be on the bike by this weekend. Wish me luck!

My poor bike has been relegated to the trainer.  I think we should get an award for creative use of a phone book.

A new game for Cody and I to learn to play.  It sounds like a lot of fun, a mixture between scrabble and crossword puzzles.