Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Feeling better about Sundays Race

I did another race on Sunday.  My first Cyclocross race.   From what I could tell I started and finished in the middle of the pack.   I executed some of my newfound cross skills well, and some not so well.  I passed a few people, and a few definitely passed me.  It felt like a mediocre performance (which is about what I expected) and I think I could have hydrated better before the race.  Last couple laps I felt I was getting dehydrated, and I felt like I faded over the last lap and a half.

It may be too late to work on the anaerobic fitness to compete in these short contests.  That was never a planned focus this year anyway.  The goal was to get my riding legs back without overcooking my recovery.  I thought I'd be doing a handfull of these, but recent events may put racing back on the back burner again.

I am glad I went, even though my focus and performance wasn't what I wanted it to be.  It was a valuable learning experience, and that's the most important take away.

This coming Sunday is a different kind of cycling commitment.  I'm a ride marshal for the Lymphoma Research Ride.  I've been a volunteer for this since it's inception four years ago - excepting last year when I was actually in treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma.   I think that ride was 2 days after a chemo session.   Talk about your irony ...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Not Much Change

They've taken dad off the sedative but he's still not responding to any stimulous.  He is calmer now than he was last night when it was reduced.   That probably just means a reduced level of conciousness.  As long as he's not agitated it'll probably stay off to see if he gets more responsive.  We'd like to get him off the ventilator if we can. 

The temperature is normal for the moment.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dad's in the Hospital with West Nile

I had to help my mom get my dad to the hospital on Sunday.  He had had a fever over the weekend and was very shaky to the point where she needed my help just to get him down the stairs to the car.   They wound up admitting him on Sunday.  He had a fever, he was very shaky and unsteady and a little bit dissoriented.  Late Monday/Early Tuesday he had deteriorated to the point that they needed a rapid response team to quickly address the fever.  At that point they also moved him to the ICU.  When I saw him on Tuesday he was mostly delerious and they were still struggling to control the fever.  They brought in an Infectious Disease doc to aid with the diagnosis.  Based on the blood results they settled on West Nile Virus.   Tuesday night he dropped his oxygen saturation and they had to make the decision to intubate him to control his breathing with a ventilator. 

Right now hes still on the ventilator, and they're controlling the fever ( somewhat) with drugs and cooling blankets.  All they can do is address the symptoms and support him while he fights this off.  One significant complication is that he has a low grade lymphoma that compromises his immune system.  One of the associated conditions with West Nile is encephalitis (sp?) or swelling in the brain.   We presume that's happening, given the widespread muscular tremors and extreme dissorientation/delerium. 

He's very sick right now.   With my Hodgkins I've had a potential life threatening disease, but never been close to being sick enough to need round the clock supportive care.   There was no news last night, which I'll presume is a good thing.   Going back to see him this morning and expecting more of the same.   Docs say the recovery from this acute phase could take 2 weeks, with full recovery being several weeks or a few months after that.  

Headed back to the hospital this moring.   We'll talk to the docs and get the latest.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Very Savage Weekend

There is a triathlon that's held in western Maryland annually called the Savage Man .   It's a half iron man distance and includes a brutally tough ("savage") bike portion.  What makes it hard is the climbing in and around Savage River State Forest.

I rode the bike portion of that course on Sunday.  I rode it two years ago, but due to some wrong turns, rain, and fatigue I cut off some of the shorter later climbs, which I assumed were not significant.  They are.

 The climbing starts with a section called the "Westernport Wall" which includes a 31% grade on a fractured concrete slab of a road in the town of Westernport, MD.  This leads into a 7 mile/ 1950 ft. climb up Big Savage Mountain.  From there there are numerous shorter but brutally steep climbs that keep coming for the next 30 miles.   Here are some quotes from their website describing the ride.

  • "If, after finishing the SavageMan 70.0 Triathlon, you feel you have previously completed a similar distance race that is more scenic and more savage, race management will refund your entry fee complete with a profound apology."
  • "It is of utmost importance that riders ensure their bikes are in good working condition as this bike course includes some steep, technical descents. There is a mandatory pre-race bike check and athletes whose bikes do not pass inspection will not be permitted to start the SavageMan 70.0 Triathlon."
  • "the hardest 30 miles in all of triathlon"
  • Killer Miller: The first 0.6 miles of the climb shoot seemingly straight up at an unfair pitch, forgoing switchbacks to head straight up the hillside at an average of 13% with stretches over 20% before leveling out to a more gradual summit
I rode this with my wife and brother in law on Saturday.  Before we had gone a mile we came across two other cyclists (triathletes) who were also riding the course that day.  An older lady, Ellie, and her friend Joe.  Ellie was local and had ridden the course a dozen times, and completed the triathlon several times as well.  Joe was visiting from Columbus OH, and this was his first time.  Joe had one of those IM tattoos, so I presume he was an Iron Man finisher.  But Joe was a big man.   Looked about 5'8", 225#.  I don't think he quite appreciated what he was in for.  We stayed close to Ellie and Joe for the first 18 miles, which is mostly descending from Deep Creek Lake down to Westernport.  The first climbing challenge was the Westernport Wall.  This is the section that got me excited to do this ride two years ago.  I watched videos of triathletes falling over while attempting to ride this section as raucous fans cheered them on.  The first time I rode this course I made it all the way up, with just a little wheel spin near the top.  This time I also made it up.  We spoke to Ellie at the top as she was walking back down to encourage Joe on a second try.  I thought that if Joe knew what was ahead of him there's no way he would making multiple attempts at this hill.  This is not a ride where you can afford to burn your matches indiscriminately.  We continued on leaving Joe to his attempt to master the wall.   With his body type and time trial bike I knew it wasn't going to happen. 

From there we continued up the climb of Big Savage Mountain.   This would start a trend for the day where I'd be a little bit off the back of my brother in law, John, for most of the climbs.   He's lost about 50 or 60 pounds in the past year and has some very fine form now.   To be honest I'm a bit stunned that he's now able to out ride me on these tough climbs.  And not a little bit dismayed.  This one was by far the longest climb of the day.  The descent after the top is 3 miles of twisty, technical riding.  This is one of the parts that necessitates the aforementioned bike inspection.  It's also where I was able to put HIM off the back for a little bit.  At the bottom we then climbed out of New Germany State Park to take a rest stop at a local store. 

The store is a gas station/convenience store that's right on the route, and the owner has gone out of his way to accommodate cyclists.  He's got any thing you'd need to refuel, and is more than happy to talk your ear off about ANYTHING (be warned!).  We found out later that this store was the end point for Joe that day.  His companion was going to drive back to pick him up there, but the store owner very kindly gave him a ride back to Deep Creek Lake State Park. 

Leaving the store we went immediately (and I mean immediately - as in right across the road) to the final series of climbs.   All of them at grades that frequently past 10%.  Otto Ridge (avg 8%, max 17%), "Killer Miller" (avg 8%, max 22%), and Maynardier Ridge (avg 12%, max 23%).  We took another brief rest after these three, along MD 495 to regroup.  At this point any extended downhill was cause for concern since it had to be followed by an equivalent climb.  As it turned out, the worst was behind us.  There was one more dip into the Savage River State Forest, but the climb out wasn't as long as I feared and it was the last real climbing of the day.  

Leaving the Forest, we headed back to familiar roads.  Waiting to make a turn for our final leg we saw a cyclist approach and turn onto the road we were leaving.   She was going a little bit fast which normally wouldn't have been a problem, but she ran directly across a patch of gravel in the intersection.   I had seen the gravel and watched her start to turn, so I knew what was going to happen next.  Her front wheel hit the gravel, and down she went.  Full body contact on the pavement, then rolling over the curb onto the grass.  It was a dramatic crash, but there were no injuries worse than some moderate road rash on both arms and legs.  We went over and she said she was OK, but still took a minute before she got up.   We helped her up and made sure she was OK then took a look at her bike.  Her name was Cindy (I think?) I was surprised at how  unfazed she was by the crash, but then she told us she was a nurse, and it made sense that she'd realize her road rash was just scrapes and bruises.   She called her son to pick her up and we stayed with her until he did so. 

As we all waited, along came Ellie riding by.   She stopped briefly and filled us in about Joe bailing out at the store.  She had spent enough time waiting for him that she had to cut off her ride, missing the final significant hills.   Cindy's son drove up (did I mention he's only 14 but she has been letting him drive around out there?) and we got her bike loaded into her car, then we went on our way.  The rest of the ride was gentle rollers around the lake.  Or, should I say, normally gentle rollers.   No elevation gain felt "gentle" after the length and grades we had done that day, but we were happy to know there were no more real climbs.

I'd recommend this ride to anyone in the area of Deep Creek Lake who's looking for a real climbing challenge.  It will test your all kinds of climbing skills, descending and handling.  It will make you suffer in the midst of some truely spectacular mountain scenery.   It's 56 miles that feel like 86, and if you underestimate it, well, don't say you weren't warned.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Race Report - Michaux Curse of Dark Hollow

This is not a race I expected to do even two weeks ago.   I had resigned my self to a slow recovery from treatment, then I tweaked my wrist a couple weeks ago (maybe fractured, maybe not?) and I really thought nothing would happen until the fall.  I could tell my climbing was not up to par and I wasn't sure I had the energy to place myself in a race situation and put forth the effort necessary to at least have a respectable run.  

But the wrist didn't keep me from riding, and almost by accident I pre-rode this course last weekend on a short trip up to PA.   Driving back that weekend we discussed the quality of the course compared to the local race.   By Monday I was hard pressed to come up with a reason NOT to go back and do the race, since I had a good look at almost the whole course and thought with a little more preparation (food and drink) I could make a good run of it.

So here's the official report.

Drove up with Ilana on Sunday to race the course we pre-rode last weekend (by luck). It was hot, but the elevation, slight dip in temps and slightly dryer air made it, if not comfortable, certainly noticably better than Saturday around D.C. We got there around 9:00 am and as we were registering we saw Mike T. headed out for the 40 mile race - I think he finished 10th (overall?) in around 4 hours.

Our 20 miler started at 10. They did a LeMans style start, so we ran away from the bikes, through the short finishing chute and back out towards the bikes. First couple miles was technical downhill single track. It was narrow but there were a few places to pass. Then rolling rocky single track for the first 7 miles or so until we got to the first checkpoint/water station. I slowly gained positions but also tried to keep my HR rate down since I knew blowing up on this course would make for an unbearably long day. Just like the pre-ride I flatted on that rocky single track. As I was fixing it, Ilana passed by and told me she was chasing the 1st place woman. Got my flat sorted out (thank God I had TWO CO2 cartriges) and passed Ilana back on one of the uphill gravel road climbs. (There were a few of these, and I was able to make good time on them w/o taxing the legs too much) After another long rocky downhill I passed the leading woman on another gravel road climb and let her know that my teammate was chasing her. It was a good distance between passing Ilana and passing her, so Ilana made up a sizable distance to finaly take the lead.
At the second chekpoint (14 miles?) I had them refil my bottle with Cytomax and borrowed an allen wrench to snug down the linkage bolt on my suspension - it had been rattling and was loosening up. From there it was into the woods again for double/single track climbs into the (almost) finishing singletrack. This was a meandering, sometimes rocky section in a pine forest. It's lots of fun when you're fresh, not so much when you're flagging. Throughout the second half of the course I'd see occasional riders just sitting by the side of the trail - apparently cooked for the moment. One more fireroad climb, and on this one I started to run out of gas. There was a rider ahead I assumed I should catch, but I just didn't have the energy left to try and run him down. From there we turned onto a powerline trail - downhill leading to a short, steep sun exposed climb (think Wakefield in July), then turned back into the pine forest for more meandering rocky single track. I think my Camelbak emptied out here, but it didn't matter as I still had the Cytomax bottle from the last aid station. I was definitely close to done and just looking for the finishing chute. Lots of almost cramping going on.

I think they said I was 19th overall for 20 mile racers and I wound up 4th for the Vets.  I was slightly in shock that my first race back I had a legitimate placing.  My expectations were definitely middle of the pack. 

After WE were done and cleaning up a bit the T-storms came through with many riders still out on course. That had to be interesting. Glad I finished before that. It would have made those last sections of tight rocky singletrack much more difficult, especially if you were worn out at the end of a 3+ hour hard ride.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

His stomach must have been full of anger

Started my ride home from the metro station as ususal last night.   Sometimes I get lucky with the left turn arrows and I can piggy back on that signal, which is what I did (start in the crosswalk from the sidewalk, and blend in to the left turn flowing traffic.   A guy in a car who was sitting at the red light, waiting to go straight ahead leans on his horn and flips me off.   I was not impeding him in any way.   Me being there or not would have had no bearing on how fast he got anywhere.  He seemed to simply be upset that I "severely bent" the traffic signals on my bike.  

I think I have a better time understanding the driver behind me who gets beligerent because he has to slow down for me and my bike, even though in that situation I'm completely within the bounds of the traffic laws. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Appreciation for the cancer docs

Really for all the medical professionals who take care of cancer patients.  I recently dealt with my PCP for an unrelated issue and I have to say the whole experience was far less than satisfying.  I made arrangements to get into the office early enough (Friday) to have any necessary tests performed, only to be delayed IN the office to the point where I had to wait until Monday for the tests.

Monday the results either didn't get to my PCP, or his office didn't acknowledge them.

Tuesday (today) I had to follow up on both ends (dr. and radiology lab) to finally get my result.

Which was apparently wrong, according to my doctor/cousin in the field, not to mention the ARROW ON THE FILM POINTING TO THE DEFECT.

So now I'm having to continue working my case into tomorrow, when it should have been resolved (diagnostically) yesterday.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Latest Doctor Visit

She did her standard physical exam.  Nothing remarkable.  No nodes, lungs fine.   HR @64.  She said my thyroid function was borderline low from the last blood count (April).   She'll take another look with the next blood draw.   Scheduled that for early July.  She set me up for a morning draw so I can fast for a cholesterol test.  If the thyroid is still low she'll refer me to an endocrinologist, and likely get me on thyroid hormone.   The thyroid function was a known risk of the radiation.   I mentioned my current physical abilities (about 85% of norm) and she said that that could be a result of an underactive thyroid.  Basically I just don't get my HR up like I used to.  If the thyroid IS confirmed she indicated that suplemental thyroid hormone could "perk me up."  So more clarity on that in July. 

And just as I was working on being patient with my fitness.  Well, maybe.

We also discussed further scans.  My last one was in April, 4 months after radiation.   She said the latest studies don't show any appreciable benefit to regular CT scans in the absence of any symptoms, and they continue to expose patients to additional radiation.  So it sounds like there won't be any further CT/PET scan without cause.   The plan will be to get anual chest X-rays starting next April.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Physical Recovery

With the return of warm weather I've been riding regularly.   2 - 3 commuting days durring the week, plus 1 or 2 rides on the weekend.   Nothing particularly long or hard, just getting miles in - the miles I'd normally be logging in the winter and early spring. 

This weekend I had two 50 mile days.  One with a small group on single bikes, one (today) on the tandem with Claire.  Right now I'm probably at 80 - 85% of where I was before I got cancer.   The biggest difference I notice is my ability to reach and maintain the intensity I'm used to - around 85% of my max HR.  That's what I'll be looking for, because that's where I "make my living" so to speak on the bike.  It's where I get the power to keep control of situations on the road, or maintain momentum through difficult sections off road.

On the flip side, it seems like my endurance is in pretty good shape.   That may be a consequence of the lack of intensity - I think since my muscles don't get pushed into the red so much they don't fatigue as much over time.  It's a good lesson about my physical abilities, but I'm looking forward to when the intensity vs. endurance decision isn't being made for me. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I have two options when commuting by bike.

The subway station closest to my house (Shady Grove) is about a 7.5 mile ride.  But it is not a straight shot I have to zig zag through Gaithersburg and Rockville and around the doughnut kingdom of NIST.  Takes me about 30 minutes.  My actual route is slightly different, but google won't map it right since I make some connections that are technically off road.

Home to SG Metro

The other station I can go to, Grosvenor (everybody say Grove - Nor) is about 14.5 miles.   I think I do this in 45 - 50 minutes depending on traffic lights, enthusiasm, etc.  In that case I avoid (by choice) Great Seneca Highway because of the poor bicycling conditions (high car speeds and  no shoulder) and Seven Locks Rd. (sharp hills and very poor road surface).

Home to Grosvenor

The thing I've discovered is that even with the time to change into work clothes after the Grosvenor ride (I can do SG in street clothes) it doesn't take any more time to do my full commute to work.   This is primarilly because the route I must take to Shady Grove is so convoluted.

So the longer trip to Grosvenor has become my ride of choice since it gives me more time on the bike, which is time well spent, and no real time penalty for the overall trip.   Also, the end of the Shady Grove ride takes me down 355 which is simply not conducive to cycling.   The road is very busy with car traffic, and the available sidewalks (going and returning) are incredibly choppy and narrow, with the added bonus of businesses sticking advertizing signs halfway across the walkway.  I could probably cut off another mile with some additional off road riding, but that would require something more rugged than the street tires I currenly sport on my commuting bike.

So I suppose this is a shout in the dark for the citys of Gaithersburg and Rockville to give some needed attention to Bicycle Access to Shady Grove Metro station, especially the mile or so approach from both north and south on Rt. 355, which is in no way bike friendly at the moment.  And to NIST to give me a special cut through bike path that gets me from Quince Orchard Rd. to Muddy Branch Rd, just west of the I270 overpass.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wait a minute ...

My local sports radio website tells me it's National Military Appreciation Month.

But it's also National Bike Month.

And the radio station is promoting Bike to Work day (May 21).

So what's the precedence?  

If I stipulate that Military Appreciation takes precedence over the Bike, then on Bike to Work Day does the extra emphasis on the bike flip the scale?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Name Change

I mean for this space, not for me.

I've been thinking about doing this once the Cancer treatment started winding down. That's less and less the focus of my days, and now it's going back to The Bike, which has been the focus of my day/life for 20+ years. So the new name of the blog (with appologies/nod to Lance) will be "It IS about the bike." since that's what I'm most likely to ramble on about.

So stay tuned for training updates (and by training I mean my daily commutes to the subway), weekend rides (more akin to actual training) and various frankenbike activities.  Usually if vices or hammers are involved its worth writing/reading about.  (Can you end a sentence with about?  And can it be done twice?)

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Derby Favorites

I was just reminded that the Kentucky Derby is in eight days so I wanted to put my picks out there while they are fresh in my mind.

1. Going Frequently
2. Stopping and Starting
3. Unable to Go
4. Weak Stream
5. Trouble Going
6. Sexual Disfunction

Oh, wait a minute. Those are common symptoms related to an enlarged prostate, which I was informed I had durring my biopsy a year ago. In my case the only legitimate symptom was difficulty inserting a catheter. The symptoms from the above list I DID have were related to the healthy doses of narcotic pain medicine I was given.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Saw the Doc today

She said we could do appointments every other month since it's an inconvenience for me to take off work. Everything continues to look good.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I had put my spare road wheels on the Cross bike for good weather commuting. That worked just fine until this morning when I assumed they would roll over a driveway lip that the larger cross wheels rolled over just fine. Instead the front wheel got pushed away and my momentum carried me over onto my side. I bounced back up, but the front tire had been torn by the curb and had gone flat. So out comes the never used CO2 kit and spare tube. Fortunately the tube was good. Unfortunately I leaked more CO2 than I should have inflating things back up. So now I've got a 60 psi front tire with a small paper to hold the tear waiting to take me home later today. Hopefully it holds.

I should really carry a pump for a backup. Could have easilly been a 2 mile walk this morning. Curious if the tire has an air when I get back to the bike this evening.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

4 Month Scan

Or is it 2 1/2 month scan. Depends if you count time from the end of chemo or the end of radiaion. Anyway, got scanned Monday. Saw the doc Thursday and the scan was completely negative for cancer. There is some left over scar tissue from the tumor and some inflamation from the radiation. Durring the appointment my doc asked me when I was getting scanned. She was a bit surprised when I told her it had already happened, but she said that the clean ones don't always catch her attention. She still printed the report out and we went over the results.

While discussing my current physical state she did say that full recovery could be 6 months to a year from the end of treatment. I guess that's good to know because I certainly don't feel fully recovered (from treatment) yet. Mentally this has been more challenging than going through treatment. At least then I had a concrete goal and end date. Now it's like being in limbo. Not it treatment, but certainly not back to "normal living." I've picked up life where it left off, but I'm still "with cancer" every single day. Almost everything I do is a reminder of that either because I wasn't able to do it before, or it's one of the activities I COULD do.

I'll still be seeing the doc monthly. There are blood tests she wants to keep an eye on including LDH, a marker of cellular break down (elevated by cancer AND exercise) and my cholesterol, since my chemo and radiation can both impact the heart.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I should ride alone for a while

It's easier to imagine I'm fast without the annoying intrusion of reality that accompanies riding partners.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Had my PFT today

I had a pulmonary function test today to see what impact the pneumonitis (induced by radiation) had on my lung function. I haven't heard from the doctor, but the tech who performed the PFT indicated that my lung function looked just fine to him. Obviously he's NOT a doctor, and he didn't compare it with previous tests, but it's certainly encouraging that there's no obvious impact at this point. My understanding is that when lung function is compromised there are some tell tale signs on the graphs and calculations on the test results.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Recovering Again?

I've got a Pulmonary Function Test scheduled tomorrow to evaluate the pulmonary inflamation from the radiation. What got me into the doctor for this was having a terrible exercise session, where I had no energy, a persistent cough, and pain at the radiation site.

After finally getting in to see the doctor (as soon as snow would allow) on Monday she scheduled it and indicated she would treat based on those results.

Since then I've been on the trainer twice for about 40 minutes at a time. But no heart rate monitor, and no training video. I watched regular TV and pushed myself only as I felt up to it. Both sessions went pretty well, and after tonight I think my inflamation may be resolving itself. I certainly feel better comparatively. I'll find out for sure I guess when I get the results from tomorrows test. I suppose the best case scenario is that it IS resolving itself and no meds are needed.

Have I mentioned I'm way tired of not being well?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wasting time with doctors

My radiation oncologists office left me a message this mornign asking if I could reschedule my appointment earliear in the day on Thursday. This could have been good news as the same day I have an appointment with my medical oncologist in the morning. The best they could do was 1:00, which would ruin any attempt by me to actually spend any time at work. At that point I asked if I could just be given a prescription for steroids to deal with the lung inflamation from the radiation. Of course they had to transfer me to a nurse to answer that question. So I ask the nurse the same question. She checks with the rad. onc. and then informs me that my med. onc. should be prescribing the meds.

I took 10 seconds to process this information, then asked why I needed to see the rad. onc. at all? Since I had just seen him for a radiation follow up, described my symptoms, and had him tell me to deal with my med. onc. for any treatment. At this point, as far as I was concerned, he HAD his chance to poke and prod me as he saw fit. If he wasn't going to prescribe me anything to deal with my current problem, I didn't see the point in having my schedule ruined to see him again. I had myself transferred back to the scheduling office and cancelled the appointment.

I'm generally willing to keep doctor appointments to do any follow ups. I feel the more contact I have with the doctors involved in my care the better. What I'm unwilling to do is loose a day of work when I can't see ANY benefit from an appointment.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I got an X-ray last week

So after getting sick a few weeks ago I had a cough that just wouldn't go away. 2 weeks of that had me calling my Oncologist. I didn't THINK it would amount to anything, but 2 weeks is one too many for me, and before I was diagnosed my main symptom was a persistent cough. Besides the cough, the last time I exercised (a week ago monday) I was only good for about 30 minutes and I had some chest pain at the radiation site when breathing heavily. It's about the weakest I've felt working out and a marked decline from my current levels of performance.

She ordered the x-ray which I was able to get Friday morning, before a scheduled follow up with the radiation oncologist. My regular doc thought it could be some scaring from the rads. When I saw the radiation doc I mentioned the symptoms and exercise difficulty, but didn't share this info. I don't want to get in between them, and at that point there were no results. He listened but gave no indication he thought it was radiation related and advised me to have my med. onc. follow me on it.

Friday I get a call from my med onc. She said preliminary results showed nothing related to the cancer. Today I got a second call from her nurse practicioner. Again, nothing related to the cancer, but there were apparenly some indications of scaring from the radiation treatment. Standard treatment for this is steroids to control the inflamation, so now I've got another follow up with the rad. onc. to get an Rx for the steroids.

Not sure how I feel about the rad. onc. throwing me back over the fence to medical in light of the x-ray results. They weren't in when I saw him, but he DID shoot my lungs and I mentioned the pain I had durring the exercise to him as well. I thought that might be a meaningfull symptom and it looks like that was the case. Even diminished, it seems I still know my body well enough to distinguish "somethings wrong" from "out of shape."

Even before the results I had resigned myself to stop pushing myself on getting my aerobic fitness back in short order. Even though my schedule didn't seem that ambitious, the way I felt after Monday made me re-evaluate even that much work. I felt I was pushing my body too hard right now for what it had been through. The first thing I've got to do is heal. Heal from the cancer treatment, heal from the cold I got, and, of course, heal from this lung inflamation. Spring will be here within a couple months (probably about the same time this snow finally melts) and I won't have to manufacture indoor bicycle rides. I'll be able to do my thing outside, at my pace. Instead of trying to meet a timetable of NOW I think the best thing is to just ride to enjoy it and let the fitness come as it may. Probably best to put the HR monitor away for a while.

Remember the old Florida commercial line, "I need it bad!" For the first time in my life I think I'm there. A week in the sun would do me just right right now.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I am out of shape

But I'm trying to get back in shape. It's been a slow process, and even though I felt like I wasn't doing enough, what I WAS managing to do would sometimes feel like overdoing it.

I am impatient with this. I know how I feel on the bike when I'm fit. Right now I'm not close to that feeling. At the moment there is doubt as to weather I can ever get back there. Maybe my treatment knocked my aerobic potential down a peg or two.

Today I took my mountain bike up to the rocky trails outside of Frederick, MD. It's something I've meant to do before, but that resolve would evaporate in the morning.

This morning I got myself out of the house. At this stage showing up is much more important than the performance. I just have to hope that will come.

Once I got close to my trails I started to really get excited, remembering past winter rides. It was an unexpected feeling and I let myself enjoy it.

Once I got on the trails reality set in. I felt lacking in power and endurance. I didn't climb well and I took a number of breaks. The first lap was hard. Actually the first half of the first lap was the hardest. It DID get better. I felt good enough to try a second lap. I avoided the muddiest parts for a slightly shorter lap. I felt better climbing. A little.

I was pleased to NOT be wiped out at the end. I was smart today and not only brought some food, but ate it, too.

Still working on a weekly routine in the cold to get some improvement.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Health and fitness - need more of both

So it's been hard finding the motivation and energy to ramp up my fitness like I really want to. My 4 day a week riding ideal has been more like 2 or 3 struggling days, with not a whole lot of miles when I'm out there. Of course it hasn't helped that it's been in the 20's when I have my riding windows. It also hasn't helped that I've been shorting myself on head and hand protection, even though I've got warmer stuff than I've been using (which is pretty good gear in it's own rite).

It also doesn't help that by the end of a full week of work I'm pretty drained. I actually had a full work week last week. I had meant to spend some time on the trainer when I got home on Friday and couldn't bring myself to do it. I did put in time on Saturday morning, but I really had to force it.

To try and help my motivation (and give myself an end of treatment present) I DID buy a new bike - something that will be better for commuting than my current fixed gear steed. Picked it up from the shop Monday and finally finished the build/adjustments today. Maybe I'll get some new bike fitness out of it this spring.

I also just got sick this week. Not cancer sick - just your run of the mill virus/bug whatever. Fought it for a couple days and finally developed a sore throat yesterday that left no doubt. I guess the good news there is I had a scheduled doctor appointment. She took a culture to rule out strep and sent me on my way with instructions to call if things get noticably worse (spike a fever, persistant cough) She did listen to my lungs (as well as Stacey, my nurse) and pronounced them clear.

Funny how I go 6 months with a compromised immune system from chemo and rads only to pick up my first infection on the back end of all of it. Well, systemic infection as opposed to the opportunistic ones that I got.

Since I was sick my doctor is going to push off my next PET scan by a month. Infection can cause inflamation in the lymph nodes causing a false positive on the PET. She felt it was better to wait and get to a healthy baseline for the scan.

I don't have much wrap up for these thoughts. Just that it's no fun to finally get well (well, a qualified well) in the dead of witner. I feel like I'm waiting for the weather to catch up to me.