Why I ride
For three days in July I record the picture of a child in my mind as I start pedaling my bike. I compare my ride to what a child’s journey through cancer is like. The following is some of my thoughts. (My ride is in black, THE CHILD’S IS IN ORANGE)
1st few miles: “healthy, good to be alive, love my bike, love my friends and team mates”
1st day climb: “uneasy, hurts a bit, CANCER, NOT ME,IT’S TRUE, unsure, can I do this? I HAVE TO DO THIS, settle in to peddle, HOW MUCH CHEMO, HOW MUCH RADIATION, HOW LONG WILL I BE SICK?”
1st downhill: 1 climb done 2 to go, I KNOW MY CHEMO/RADIATION SCHEDULE IT’S DOABLE
2nd day climb: That downhill went too fast, 1st CHEMO, I CAN DO THIS, my legs are tired, THIS IS CRAZY, THEY ARE POISONING ME,it’s getting hot, I AM SCARED, I AM NAUSEATED, so happy to be riding with a friend, it helps, IT MAKES ME SAD TO SEE MOM AND DAD WITH TEARS IN THEIR EYES, I AM SCARED, dig deeper, finish the climb, I NEED TO THROW UP, I AM TIRED, I AM SCARED, WHY AM I HERE, WHY ME”
3rd day: darn, another uphill. I am hot, I am tired, I HAVE SORES IN MY MOUTH, THEY HURT WHEN I THROW UP, dig deeper, MORE CHEMO, MY HAIR IS COMING OUT IN CLUMPS, drink water, I AM BALD, I DON’T WANT TO SEE MY FRIENDS, I WANT TO GO HOME, PLEASE NO MORE NEEDLES, PLEASE NO MORE SURGERIES, I AM SCARED, I AM SICK, I WANT TO GO HOME, MORE MEDICINE, I CANT KEEP MY MEDICINE DOWN, don’t look up just keep pedaling, PLEASE I WANT TO FEEL BETTER, WHEN WILL THIS BE OVER?, I want this to end, it will soon, MORE MONTHS OF THIS. I WANT IT TO GO AWAY NOW.
My ride is 3 days, hmmmm… This child’s journey lasts for a year, often YEARS. Which one is harder?
THEN: I cross the finish line
I see me a bit sunburned and a few pounds lighter but… this child that had cancer is now walking through a pediatric cancer unit with a full head of hair and sporting a hospital nametag that says “MD” and not a patient number!
IT HAPPENS!!!! PLEASE, YOU BE THAT PERSON THAT PUTS HAIR BACK ON THAT CHILD!! GIVE TO MY RIDE