Today’s ride took me down the hill and to the left and over to Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center at 601 North Caroline Street, though it’s not really on Caroline Street, as far as I can tell. I’ve been here many, many times. I remember posting a similar picture when I rode over to meet with my breast surgeon for the first time after my diagnosis with breast cancer, almost two years ago–November 21, 2017 is when the news came in, but I knew it was cancer a bit before that. Radiologists know, and mine told me. If the biopsy comes back benign, I’ll know the pathologist made a mistake.
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
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.
I’m six weeks out from chemotherapy, and I cannot even begin to express in words what a difference it makes to be six weeks out from and not six weeks into chemotherapy. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like I’d been living in a perpetual present, unable to look outside of my immediate physical self or beyond the precise moment. I’m in a different present now, one that reaches beyond the boundaries of my body and connects to the world again, just a little bit. And I’m starting to make plans for the future, and they aren’t about cancer. I feel so much better. It’s astounding. Continue reading
It’s a sunny day, cool and windy, and I finished my homework early, so I decided to take a bicycle ride. I had to really work myself up for it, and I gave myself a thousand reasons not to take it. It’s too windy. I walked a lot of miles yesterday and my body needs a break. I would rather read. I’m too tired. It took me a good two hours and the nudging of my friend A. to head down to the basement, roll my bike out to the alley, and take a ride.