Nike makes a LiveStrong shirt with 10/2 on the front. I'm actually, quite unintentionally, wearing it as I type. That date represents the date in which Mr. Armstrong's life changed forever. The date when he got diagnosed with testicular cancer.
February 17, 2005 in my 10/2.
I remember first reading one of the biographies written on Armstrong. I had always been a fan of him, and even had a US postal service hat when I was 19 way back in 1999. I think that hat blew off my head when I was sea kayaking in Patagonia in December 1999...anyway, back to the subject. When I read the book on Armstrong, I think it was 2006, almost a year after my diagnosis. At that time I had, moved from Boulder back to St Louis, underwent 2 total neck dissections with something like 70 lymph nodes and my thyroid plucked from my neck, and had 4 radioactive iodine treatments. When I read that Mr Armstrong had his last treatment in December of the same year as his diagnosis, I laughed and declared (in complete sarcasm and in jest) that "Lance is a wuss".
Now it is 5 years later and I have my health but have still never been in remission. We could talk all day about the importance of health and that 'remission' doesn't actually mean much...but then I'd just keep coming back with the cold, hard truth that there's a metastasis in my vertebrae. Not having ever been 'in remission", I've never had the feeling that I 'beat cancer'. However, for that matter, I've also never really felt like I was 'fighting' cancer. Maybe I'm just playing semantics and over-thinking the issue, but my experience has felt as though I'm being watched or stalked, not in a fight. Most of the time, I'm able to ignore being watched, other times, it feels as though I'm alone in one of those police interrogation rooms knowing that behind the tinted glass, are eerie sets of eyes (my cancer even has histological nuclear features of 'orphan annie nuclei' under the scope! that was a joke). What a mental game this experience has been. The only time I've ever felt sick has been when I've underwent treatment. Otherwise, I feel fine.
This Friday, after exactly 1 month from initially learning about the vertebral met, I'll find out my doctors' plan. I imagine that it will involve either a different (and much more serious) kind of radiation treatment or surgery (which would suck, because they'd be cutting out a piece of my vertebrae). Until then, at least the Olympics are on!
Bicycle-wise, I'm having to take some time off the bike. There's a couple of reasons, the most immediate of which, is a nagging bit of pain in my right knee that I want to nip in the butt before the weather gets nice. In the meantime, I'm dreaming of warm places and mountains (I just registered this morning for the Firecracker 50!!!!).