And I don’t mean bicycling… or any other means of exercise. Unless you consider the ups and downs of your emotions to be exercise. For me it is a cycle.
I was extremely emotional for some reason on August 3rd. Of course, my emotions have been coming and going with no rhyme or reason ever since Steve passed. But I eventually realized why I happened to be so emotional on this particular day – With going through everything that I had dealt with in life for the last 12 months, Steve was in the hospital one year ago for the first time actually awaiting his first diagnosis. He was in for our wedding anniversary on August 8th and I sent him flowers to mark the occasion. And once I realized this, I warned our children… this is the start of my first year of firsts. The first time we got the diagnosis – “You have stage 4 prostate cancer that has spread to the bones.” I knew this was not good from the get go. But like I do and most of us do, I googled it. “Stage 4 Prostate cancer that has spread to the bones.” Google gave me a prognosis of 4-12 years. I prayed to God every night… “I’m not going to be greedy. I’ll take 4 years if that’s the bare minimum. 4 good years, please… Not asking for 5, 8, or 12… just 4.”
I’m not sure Steve knew the odds, and I didn’t mention it to him. Instead, we remained hopeful. I planned vacations for the next year as an incentive to give him energy and something to look forward to, a goal. But we never met those goals. Steve’s treatments for radiation were for 5 days a week for a total of 10 treatments… check that box off. It helped immensely with the pain in his lower back. Now I’m not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be, but as it was explained to us, the radiation was for the pain, not the cancer. I found it amazing at how many people thought that it was for the cancer. It was for the pain brought on by the cancer. But I guess in a lot of situations the two go hand in hand.
Cycling back through time, thinking about where we were at this time last year. At the end of this month, last year, we were to be in Texas, for our niece’s wedding. Even before Covid, during Covid… we were determined to be there! Well, that didn’t happen. Even though Steve was out of the hospital, he could barely walk and used a walker to navigate. Our niece was getting married on a ranch, so this wasn’t going to happen. Maybe this was the first of many signs of what was to come – plans that we would have to cancel or rearrange based on how Steve was feeling, his treatments, his mobility. But I refused to let it affect how we planned our future – instead, I took it day by day.
So this past month was the first month of the cycle… back pedaling… trying to think of what I or we could have changed. It doesn’t matter… because life is a cycle, a cycle of change. We need to embrace it. You can’t change cycles, they repeat themselves, sometimes in a different way. The seasons are a cycle… spring, summer, fall, winter, they happen every year, you can’t stop them. The only thing you can change in your cycle, is how fast or slow you pedal. Yeah, I guess this is about bicycling after all. Slow down the pedaling. Instead of going full throttle, change your speed limit to make the most of your day, the most of your cycle, because next year, you may not be able to pedal at all.