Saturday, August 18, 2012

What A Long Year It Has Been

As I sit down to start writing this I'm reminded of where I left off and why I stopped writing. Life had gotten hard and I found myself getting more and more angry at cancer. It wasn't really that healthy because there wasn't much I could do about it. I needed a break to concentrate on the important things in life and work on my training for the Seagull Century.

So let me get you caught up...

The Seagull Century was AWESOME! Thank you very much to all of you that helped donate to such a wonderful cause as the fight against cancer. I made it through the 100 miles without a problem. The last 37 miles of which we had a 25mph headwind with gusts up to 60mph. That was pretty brutal but I just kept plodding along.

Ashley had surgery to remove the cancer. A total thyroidectomy which is a pretty scary operation if you ask me because if they get it wrong it can leave you with nerve damage or the ability to talk.

Ashley underwent radiation therapy and then spent a week down in NC. Once she was back up here she spent about a month living in the basement so that she would expose the kids to minimal radiation.

The importance of Ashley limiting her exposure to the kids was really brought to light when we were going to the dump to throw stuff away. Ashley set off the radiation detectors at the dump. After dealing with annoying bureaucracy they finally used a hand scanner to test her and I noticed that Ashley was still putting off 230 rads even 2 months after her therapy. To put this into perspective, an xray is roughly 450 rads so being near ashley was like having an xray every 2 hours. I'm still not sure exactly what sort of terrorist they're thinking would blow up the dump but at least they're protecting all the rest of the garbage from stuff like airplane gauges, fire alarms, and 50's science kits.


That's right. Incredibly now my own brother has cancer too. He was diagnose with nodular melanoma on his foot. What.The.Fuck. Seriously, how the hell is it that everyone in my family gets cancer? We're not even related by blood so this is obviously some way for the cosmos to really screw with my family. I feel for my mom the most because she's having to go through this again only a few years after going through it with my dad. Mark's prognosis seems to look pretty good so far so hopefully he'll manage to beat it. He'd better or I'll never talk to him again. (Okay, okay, bad--and very dark--joke..)

So Mark has had the cancer removed from his foot and several lymph nodes that the cancer had metastasized to. He's now undergoing Interferon treatment. Thus far it seems like his chemotherapy is perhaps 3-4 times worth than mine was. I really feel for him and yet I also admire him for being strong and making it through such an incredibly difficult first month.

I have some other big news regarding what's going to happen in my life and plans for the future. I'll mention them in my next posting...

Monday, June 13, 2011


Lately I've been hearing a lot about Ashley's cancer. Usually it's something like...
You're lucky it's only thyroid cancer.
You're lucky that it's 100% treatable.
You're lucky that it's usually contained to only the thyroid.
You're lucky that it should just be an inconvenience.

If I went by how everyone else feels, I'd certainly go play the lotto, win few million, and go retire some place hot. Unfortunately I live in the real world where I understand that no one that gets cancer is "lucky". There is no amount of "luck" involved in finding out you have a disease that can kill you. If we were lucky, we wouldn't have gotten cancer to begin with.

The meaning of what people are trying to say doesn't escape me. I know people are trying to give Ashley hope that it's treatable, beatable, and just an inconvenience. That's really nice of people to attempt but I wish it were delivered in another way without the word "lucky".

I've made similar mistakes myself when trying to compliment Ashley. About a week before we found out Ashley really did have cancer I said something like, "You're looking really slim and hot." The fact that I was trying to compliment her wasn't lost on her but it did cause us both to think of the reality that it was probably because she had cancer. I guess weight loss because you have a deadly disease makes complimenting it taboo. I guess "luck" is similar because I'm pretty sure that Ashley wishes to never have this type of luck again.

On the other hand, there is some luck that I'd like to have. For example, if we're lucky...
Our kids will graduate college
I'll stay at the same job for another 22 years
We'll eventually move to a house we plan on living in till we die
We wont get sick anymore
We'll die from our parts wearing out
I'll never get hit on my bicycle
I'll manage to get Ashley to ride a bicycle

As for the "luck" that everyone thinks we have. If you want to comment on it try to be more personal with your delivery. Maybe you can say something like, "I'm glad that it should be treatable" or "I hope it's contained to only your thyroid like it is in 50% of cases."

Then, you can think of us, go play the lotto, and if you do have "luck"... give me half of your winnings. It's only fair. :-)


Saturday, June 4, 2011

A New Beginning!? (Ashley Has Cancer)

Yesterday, Ashley was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. You're probably thinking much the same as I am... something like, "WHAT THE FSCK?!?"

I really don't know what to say about it. It's scary, really scary. I think Ashley will beat this thyroid cancer quite handily but pondering the possibility of losing her scares the shit out of me. It's not just because it took me so many years to bamboozle a woman into putting up with me this long--although you have to admit that lightning doesn't strike twice. It's because I'm genuinely in love with Ashley. Every day with her is a gift. I strive to be the kind of person I think she deserves and although I fall short a lot of the time at least I'm improving. :)

We'll hopefully know sometime this next week what stage the cancer is in, if it metastasized, etc. I'll update this as I find out more information.

Until then, please consider using one of the donate buttons on the right side of the page to make a donation towards the fight against cancer.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Exercise Log

05/03/2011 - Did a 10 mile loop from GWU's Ashburn campus
05/05/2011 - Rode 8.34 miles from home to Kendall's school and back
05/07/2011 - No ride today because I had a football game. We lost but it was an awesome game. My thinking is that more than an hour of football makes up for not cycling.
05/9/2011 - Rode a 10 mile loop from home. Awesome ride. Got a chance to try out my new lightup vest--which was awesome. Didn't get buzzed once this time!
5/12/2011 - Football today! Not many people tonight so I had to play both ways. Talk about a good workout! :)
5/18/2011 - All this rain made it hard to get out and ride! Fortunately, today I managed to get out for an 11 mile ride at lunch and a 5 mile ride this evening as part of the Ride of Silence.
5/21/2011 - A short hike today and a flag football game! Played both ways again so it was super hard but I made it through.
5/22/2011 - First day of group rides for the upcoming Seagull Century! Awesome 15 mile out-and-back ride today with Bob Brown and another guy--I'm terrible with names.
5/24/2011 - Did an 11 mile night loop. Awesome ride!
5/27/2011 - 20.1 miles of awesome riding starting at Utica park. It was harder than I meant the ride to be because I got lost and had to modify the ride in the middle of the ride.
5/29/2011 - Today was the second group ride with Team in Training for the Seagull Century. We did a 24 mile ride and I pulled Kendall in the trailer the whole way. It was hard but well worth it. Afterwards, we did the park quest for Cunningham Falls State Park which meant about another 2 miles of hiking. Overall it was a great day with 2400 calories burnt!
5/31/2011 - I commuted to work from Leesburg, VA to the GWU Ashburn campus and then back to Leesburg, VA later. It's 12 miles each way. The last 12 miles I was running short on time so I really upped my pace and learned a hard lesson about NOT keeping hands too tight on the hoods. I compressed some nerves in my hands which left my hands weak and partially numb for 2 days.
06/05/2011 - 9 mile ride around Frederick. Should have been longer but I turned early by accident.
06/07/2011 - 30 mile extended Ride Around Walkersville. This ride was awesome! Lots of hills, lots of descents, and lots of shade at certain parts.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cancer - The Best and The Worst

The subject alone is probably enough to make people think, "WTF!" I'm serious though, cancer is both the best and the worst thing to happen to me ever.

The worst?

Cancer took my dad. How much closer can it get when you lose someone you love so dearly and there's nothing you could do to stop it? For me, I don't have questions of "what if?". There's no pondering "if only...". I can't change what happened. I can't go back. There's nothing but going forward without my dad and that hurts.

Just my dad though? No! It's not bad enough that it took my dad, it tried to take me almost 20 years ago, it tried to take my mom only a couple years ago. Cancer's a disease, it's everywhere, and it's affecting more and more of my loved ones all the time. 

And that's why I'm fighting cancer. I'm fighting cancer for myself, my loved ones, and for everyone else because someday your loved ones will be touched by cancer.

The best?

Before cancer I took life for granted; I didn't understand that there is more to life than coasting by; I never knew the good that resides in people; I judged people that were different--mentally, physically, or otherwise; I didn't have a career; and, I didn't understand the depths my parents loved me.

That all changed when I got cancer. It wasn't necessarily a fast change. I'm still changing and I like to think it's for the better. I constantly battle being different. It's not just that I think differently than a lot of people, I'm okay with that. It's the other things that I think I need to struggle against. I struggle with weight, I struggle with treating all people decently, I struggle with having compassion, I struggle with my anger, I struggle to be a good husband, and I struggle to be a good father.

A lot of the time I feel like I fail at those things. Does that mean that I'm a failure? No! It means that I understand the value of fighting against myself to be a better person. It means there's always more time to do better, be better, treat people better, and improve who I am. 

A lot of my wanting to be better and working towards that end is probably because I want to be the kind of person that I feel my family deserves. Years from now, I don't want to die with regrets. I don't want my kids to wonder about the kind of person that I was, what made me tick, or how much I love them. I want them to remember me as always there to dust them off but able to let them lead their own lives.

You may wonder what cancer has to do with the above so let me explain it. I learned the depths of my parent's love because I saw first hand what my having cancer did to them. I started my career because during chemotherapy I sat behind a keyboard all day and learned the ins-and-outs of computers. I moved to California because I found a job down there and it seemed like a fun place to be. I became tolerant of people because chemotherapy caused me to become super morbidly obese. I had surgery to lose weight in an effort to stay alive and embrace life. I met my wife because I was in the right place, at the right time, and I'd learned to embrace life. I have my kids because I bamboozled my wife into loving me--hehehe. I learned the good that resides in people because every day I meet people that touch my life in positive ways, my wife shows me examples of how to be a better person, my kids show me the innocence of children, and recently the good in people is so very obvious because of the support from people, like yourself, that read what I have to say, understand that I'm fighting cancer, and come together to support me in my fight and/or the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and their mission to find a cure for cancer and support patients and their families.

So yeah, cancer was the best thing to ever happen to me and the worst. Even so...

F U cancer, I miss my dad.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thanks & Improvement!

I need to start off this update by telling everyone how much I appreciate your donations for Leukemia & Lymphoma society. The generosity of my family, my friends, Ashley's friends, and strangers really astounds me. To all of you out there that have donated money to the fight against cancer, whether or not that donation goes to LLS, THANK YOU! You're saving lives and I feel uplifted by what you're doing, the support you're giving, and the words that I'm hearing.

I just got in from a 11 mile night ride and I'm feeling GREAT! Strangely enough, I'm most often training at night right now. I have a trainer in the garage and I do go some days at work but I'm really enjoying the night workout. It's so peaceful and quiet with very few cars that I'm not very worried about traffic or being hit. Of course, it helps that I have some awesome lights and other gear to make me look like a huge xmas tree zooming down the road. I'm okay with that. I like cars seeing me and if the sight of a huge moving red mass makes cars back off then I'm okay with that too.

In addition to the 11 mile ride tonight, I did a 15 mile ride this past weekend that was my first group ride. It was fantastic. I love riding with a group of people but I don't often get to because of time differences but also because I'm afraid of getting dropped. I can keep a fantastic tempo but I will eventually get tired simply because I haven't trained as much as some of the others. Keep in mind that with me, my 15 lbs of bicycle locks & cables, and whatever other gear I have on the bike, I'm toting around more than 300 lbs on my bicycle. This is FAR DIFFERENT than one of those weight weenies that tries to drop all weight possible so they can climb hills better. Sure, I can drop the weight off my bike before I ride, BUT WHY? Isn't the goal to improve? How much faster will I improve if I have extra weight during training and then I ride without the extra weight? Believe me, it's REALLY noticeable. Besides, if I want to drop weight, I can DIET.

Speaking of diet! As of 2 days ago, I've lost 16 pounds since I started this training! At this rate, maybe I'll eventually look good in lycra. Okay, okay! I'm just kidding! No guys look good in lycra shorts, period. In addition to the 16 lbs lost, my mph average has gone from 11 to 15 mph. That's probably just my muscles remembering what it's like to move but it's really nice to be able to consistently power my way up hills again.

I'll keep everyone posted on my weight loss. It seems people are interested in that as well as how my training is going.

Thanks again for your support!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Honor Ribbons

I've decided to start a new blog post that will get updated as names get added with a list of the people I'm riding to honor. These people and their struggles need to be kept in our minds so that we wont forget how devastating cancer is....

Gerald Lynn - My dad. He died from Acute Myeloid Leukemia. I'm wearing an orange arm band in memory of him.

Ashley Lynn - My wife. She's currently fighting thyroid cancer. I'll be wearing a purple arm band in her honor.

Alexis Wronzberg - A courageous woman that passed away after a long battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. I'm wearing an orange ribbon in her honor.

Amy Campton - Currently fighting cancer.