I was diagnosed with Lung Cancer in May 2011. Months before, in January 2011, I began to notice I had difficulty breathing while exerting myself. I was pretty sure I had asthma. Great. With this development and wanting to reduce the wear and tear on my joints, I decided to swap my running hobby for cycling.
At the end of April 2011 SW and I purchased road bikes. The beauty I ordered would be ready for pick up in 15 days.
As it turned out I did not have asthma. Between the bike purchase and pick up, the pulmonologist confirmed that I had a nice-sized tumor in my left lung.
When I went to the shop to pick up my bike I was told I’d get a complimentary 60-day tune up. With all seriousness I told the clerk, “I’m starting chemo and radiation next week. I’ve got cancer. Can I get my tune up when I actually ride my bike for 60-days? It might be a few months or even a year?” He looked at me like I was insane and squeaked out something along the lines of, “Holy shit. Yes. Get it whenever.” When I inquired if I could get that in writing he replied, “You don’t need to. Just tell who ever helps you that same line. You’ll get taken care of.”
I’m actually, now that I’m feeling swell, logging miles on my bike. I’ve named her Therapy. She’s a beautiful white bike, like the lung cancer bands people wear. I ride her to my weekly cancer support group meetings. It’s only 4 miles away but I love that my fellow cancer survivors think it is a huge accomplishment that I ride there.
Cancer has not taken away my competitive spirit. I’d like to ride Therapy to more of my engagements around town. I am awfully intimidated by the hills though. The load on my lungs while climbing a hill is a little alarming. A fine line exists between training my lungs to work harder and pushing them too much. My medical team tells me to push with caution; I hope that is what I am doing.
Therapy is going in for her 60-day tune up this month. I do intend to play my usually hidden cancer card if they try to charge me for the tune up.