Yep, still riding my bike around these days. The gift of not having regular access to a car is that I take a bike ride almost every day. Today’s ride took me down the hill and over to Harbor East to attend my Very Fancy Gymnasium for an exercise class. I remember the first time I rode my bike here, and how nervous I was that I wouldn’t be able to make it home. Six months out from cancer treatment and I know I can make it home, even if it’s into cold, gusty winds, uphill all the way. I’m ok now. It’s still surprising to me, and it’s still true. Might not always be true, but it’s true today, and today’s ride was a gift.
I’ve been riding my bike again, because that’s just how I get around. Some days I get on my bike and start pedaling and feel deeply myself again, familiar, at home. It’s a good feeling after most of a year feeling like I’m not myself anymore, and never really will be again, not the same way, anyway. I am so comfortable on my bicycle, me and that seat, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of miles, almost ten years together.
And some days I feel like I’m just moving this body, still shellshocked, to and fro, the bike just happens to be the way I’m doing it.
Wednesday’s ride was incredibly ordinary. I spent the first few blocks deciding whether to go south on Guilford, west on Lombard, or to go west on 27th, south on Maryland Avenue. I decided on the second so I could spend the bulk of my morning in the safety of the cycletrack, even though M. got hit by a car there on Tuesday, a reminder that nowhere is safe when car drivers are around. Continue reading
I haven’t been riding my bicycle much for the past two weeks, partly due to being out of town and partly due to having sole possession of a car for a whole entire week. I learned a lot that week–namely that you can go much farther much faster in a car, and it’s amazing how quickly I’ll take the easy way out, even if that means paying a few bucks for parking. Good thing I mostly don’t have a car, because I’d rather ride a bike, even if I forgot that for a few days.
Monday’s forecast looked hot and humid, a chance for thunderstorms in the late afternoon, just when I’d be riding back up the hill to home. I considered taking the bus, maybe catching a ride home, but I wanted to ride my bicycle, so that’s what I did.
This week was one of regular bike rides, to and from work, just like the pre-cancer days–down the hill, take a right, lock up, and reverse it at the end of the day. It’s a good kind of weird to just act normal, and it’s also exhausting; I ended every day with a bone-crushing fatigue that frankly I’ll take over cancer treatment any day. I’m better, but I’m not just fine, and that’s ok.
The wildest thing has happened, which is that I’m done with active treatment for cancer and I’m already able to do things with my body I kind of feared I wouldn’t be able to do again. The last six months were brutal in so many ways, and also less brutal than I was expecting, but as I emerge on the other side of this round of cancer treatment, I’m getting back to living as I used to live. My sister and I have been talking about those stories of people who survive cancer and then reinvent themselves in amazing ways. We agree those are likely people who didn’t like the lives they had going all that much. Me? I loved the life I was living, and getting parts of it back so quickly is a huge gift. I’ll take that over being a SuperSurvivor any day.