I’ve spent the past three months in chemotherapy for breast cancer. It has been rough, not going to lie, made more so by a mid-treatment bout with the flu. Jesus. It’s a roller coaster of side effects, and I’m here, a week out from the last treatment, in a bit of a haze from what has just happened. I haven’t been on my bike except for a couple of really short rides, because I’ve been too exhausted and often unsure of my balance. I got on my bike today, though, because the only way to get back on the bike is to get back on the bike, and I want to get back on my bike.
I got my things for the day together and dug out my bike bag. I cleaned out some of the trash in there, including the CD with pictures of my cancerous tumor. Apparently last time I used this bag I was shuttling between doctors, but today I got to shuttle between home and errands, like the old days. My first stop was R.’s house. She’s got the flu–the worst part of cancer–so I brought her some leftovers and we had lunch together. I’ve learned from being sick that what sick people need is food and company, and it seemed to work for her, too. The ride was fine, though I was almost instantly out of breath, not from the pedaling, but from the nerves. Traffic, terrible asphalt, darting pedestrians–the usual. But it’s not usual for me, and it looks like it’s going to take a minute to get used to it again.
And then I rode over to the coffee shop to do some grading, and it felt like the old days, except I was tired and out of breath from a really short ride. I was nervous about the ride home–could I get up the hill? I went for a short hike with the ladyfriend yesterday, and I had to stop for breath twice on the short uphill at the end. But you know what? Then I caught my breath and kept going, and I made it to the top and it felt amazing. My body is amazing. It has done so many things, and this latest is pretty incredible. It has communicated so many new things as it has worked to kill the parts of it that have gone rogue. And today it rode a bicycle for a few miles, including that uphill to home. I stopped at red lights, and that was all I needed. I made a final stop at the grocery, got stuff for dinner tonight, barely fit it in my bag, and rode my heavy bike, weighted down by more than usual, all the way home. It was all so ordinary, in an extraordinary way. And now I’m tired and will sit down and let my cells figure out what to do now. Other than the cancerous ones, they’re pretty good at knowing what they need.