Saturday, January 23, 2016

"I Will Ride 500 Miles, and I Will Ride 500 More"

            Greetings and a Happy New Year to everyone!  (The title of the blog post comes from a song by The Proclaimers.)  Where to begin?  It's been a long time since my last post, but in the interest of brevity, I will stick to the main points and current news.  First, I celebrated my 4th 2nd birthday on Dec 21, meaning the 4th anniversary of my transplant.  My health was excellent in 2015 - I don't recall being sick during the entire year.
Caught this Musky on a fly rod in Wisconsin, October 2015 
            After the Christmas holidays, just last week, I was in Houston for my 4 year checkup, and the news was again very good - clear CT scan and normal bone marrow biopsy.  I'm told that the longer I stay in complete remission, the lower the probability of relapse.  Dr. Hosing actually told me that from her viewpoint, I did not need get annual bone marrow biopsies or CT scans anymore, unless something in my blood counts changes or I develop other symptoms.  Which means, among other things, that I may not be going back to Houston for a while, maybe never.  I tracked Dr. Keating down at his office that evening around 5:30 to thank him in person again and to say so long for now.  It was a huge milestone in my cancer story.  Most websites still say there is no cure for CLL, but a successful bone marrow transplant definitely walks and quacks like a cure!  I'm inexpressibly grateful to the Lord, my doctors, my family, my friends.
On the Missouri River with Dad, October 2015

              I have been spared, but in 2015 cancer continued to devastate.  I lost several acquaintances last year to various forms of cancer.  One colleague at IBM was diagnosed in June with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and died within 5 months.  One of my best friends had a close colleague taken in November.  St. Jude's hospital in Memphis continues to be filled with young cancer patients.  So I will continue to put my recovery to good use by completing endurance events and raising money for the fight against leukemia and lymphoma.  Last year I executed the "Triple Play", the half-marathon, double century ride, and hike in Yosemite, and raised over $30,000.  I spent time during the holidays thinking about what I might do in 2016, and what came to me is to commit to completing 10 century rides, for a one thousand mile odyssey.   Why?  Well, I like to push the boundaries of what cancer survivors can do, and I want to inspire others - to ride, to walk, to run, to give.
             So 2016 will be all about cycling.  I have already ridden 4 times since mid-December, 2 rides of 25 miles and more recently 2 rides of 50 miles.  I will keep track of my training miles too, as I suspect that I will log another thousand miles or more in training.  I have scheduled 8 rides so far:

April 3 -       "After the Bridge Run Ride"       Charleston SC
April 14 -     "Tarwheel Century Ride"            Elizabeth City, NC
May 1 -        "Raven Rock Ramble"                 Raleigh, NC
May 14 -      "Tour de Cure" Day 1                 Raleigh to Sanford, NC
May 15 -      "Tour de Cure"  Day 2                 Sanford to Raleigh, NC
June 5 -        "Fletcher Flyer"                            Fletcher, NC (near Asheville)
July 16 -       "Velo 4"                                       Wake Forest NC
October 2 -   "Bike MS Ride"                           New York City

There are two more rides that I need to schedule in the 2nd half of the year, and I will as soon as the various rides have dates selected and I can finalize the calendar.  I am very excited about this challenge, as it will sustain my focus and interest for the better part of the year - I am glad that you will be with me along the way!  Warm wishes for 2016!    




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