Wednesday was a big day for me. I’ve been working from home since my leg issues became debilitating but I went into the office that afternoon which was the first time since surgery. I think everyone there is aware of what’s transpired so that makes for a unpredictable and potentially uncomfortable situation to walk (hobble) into. Getting ready was tiring, getting around takes me at least twice as long and sitting in an hours-long meeting was uncomfortable but it was good to see my team. I didn’t see many other folks and those I did were pleasant encounters. I know how the gossip factory works. I’m not very tolerant of it. People huddling and whispering about me is unacceptable and they will find out firsthand. Fortunately for all, no one had to find out how that would play out.
I’ve been jonesing to ride a bike for weeks now and felt like it’s been feasible for several days. I thought I’d ride this past Sunday but I was exhausted from all of the fun from the days previous. Wednesday was the first day it worked and so it was. Jana picked me and my bike up after setting the expectation of a slow ride on flat ground with a short duration. How could she resist that kind of party? We went down to Water Works Park and I struggled to get on my shoes and socks while she unloaded my bike. I stood behind her SUV and stared at my bike. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get on it but I was sure that I was.
I maneuvered left and right, back and forth. Finally, I grabbed her bike rack, she leaned my bike over and I was able to get a leg over. That was all it took. I was back in the saddle. I got clipped in and slowly started my first loop. My right leg immediately talked to me. I was pushing it’s range of motion and it’s strength. Looking down at it, I barely recognize it as my leg. It’s lost so much muscle. The left one has, too, but not to the extent of the right one. I started out at 12 or 13 mph until I realized that I wasn’t giving my leg what it could handle. I continued on for 10.5 miles and usually stuck between 14 and 17 mph. By the time I was done, everything was talking to me. My rear, my leg, my back, my shoulders, but in a good way. I felt alive again. My body seemed to appreciate being challenged in a way that wasn’t a lopsided hobble that further jacks up my torso and torches my shoulder or doing the Drunk Turtle getting dressed or out of bed. The sun was out, the temps were mild, the grass, trees and water provided a scenic backdrop that I haven’t had for weeks and moving under my own volition felt…..normal. I was happy.
When I pulled the plug, Jana helped me back off the bike and she racked it while I struggled to get my shoes and socks back off. We decided dinner on a patio was fitting and went to Exile. We parked right by the full patio and I have to wonder what people thought as I hobbled out of the vehicle in cycling shorts and a crutch with bikes on the back of the SUV. I caught a few people glance at my crutch, then my shorts, then my eyes. Each got a big smirk from me.
I was exhausted on Thursday. I had a radiation replanning session for my leg. We wanted to make sure surgery hadn’t skewed any of the initial tattoos and that everything still lined up as expected. We also talked about my pain. The all-over torso pain doesn’t seem to be from the cancer eating away at vertebrae since it’s so indiscriminate. It could be a side effect of the herceptin, inactivity, lopsided motions, stress, something else completely or a combination or any of it. We really don’t know. For now, it’s still a wait, see and cross fingers situation. In the meantime, I’m getting reacquainted with my foam roller. It feels good but getting up and down off the floor is….a challenge.
They weighed me as they always do and noted that I’d lost about 8 pounds since surgery. I looked down and said that 5 of it came off of my right quadricep. I’m pretty sure almost all of it is muscle. Almost a month of spending the majority of time on your back will do that to a person. I’m hopeful that my back will cooperate enough to let me ride and have better, increased movements. The pain is wearing on me.
On the bright side, my leg continues to improve. I hobble around more and more inside the house without a crutch which I hope gives my shoulder a break, too. My leg’s range of motion is increasing and hopefully I’ve lost all the strength I’m going to and I can start to rebuild it. I’m tempted to put up a bike on a trainer in the house so I can hop on and ride anytime. I just haven’t figured out how I’m going to get on it.