It’s been a few days since I posted, but I mainly needed a few days to recover. Plus, I had to help out at work a tiny bit to try to make things slightly easier for the fam, so I’m glad I was able to do that.
But let’s get to the troubles, as it were. Some of you may already know, but this one is going to have pictures, so you’ll actually get to see what I’m talking about.
Monday afternoon, I was feeling great. I had just gone into the doctor’s office that morning, and my numbers were kind of a mixed bag. My white blood cell count dropped, so I’m back into neutropenia (boo!), but my platelets shot up above 100,000 (yay!). So that raw beef I was eating…was probably not the best of ideas, but being on anti-biotics already probably prevented anything bad from happening. That, or my stomach was just so happy to have beef in it that it just killed any of the little nasties that may have been hiding. Or, who knows, could have been completely clean itself. Regardless, not too many worries there.
Anyway, I was feeling good, and I told myself that when I hit 100,000 platelets, I was going to go on another bike ride. I was planning on waiting until either my sister or my friend Dan were home, and either asking them to come, or asking them to plan on pseudo-following me, but I got anxious, and I was afraid I was just going to make excuses and not go for the ride. So I suited up and headed out.
I did my normal training path from when I was training for the triathlon. For training, I would do a 14 mile loop twice, but I was planning on just doing the loop once, and on the way home, bypassing some of the more difficult hills if I wasn’t feeling up for it.
Once on the road, I was feeling awesome. I was powering up hills, cruising along the flats, and flying down the drops. My heart rate was between 165 and 175, which is just slightly higher than what was normal, but the important part was that when I was coasting, it would drop rapidly, meaning, I was still responding well and normally to the exercise.
About halfway through the ride, I took a short 30 second breather, and snapped a shot for Facebook. This would turn out to be a bit…pre-mature, as it were.
After taking this shot, I turned around and headed back. Again, I was feeling really, really good. Better than I had on the last time I did this single loop, which was months ago, and before all that nasty chemo business. However, I was incredibly anemic at the time, and it’s amazing just what a difference that makes.
I was coming up to the end of the bike trail, where it stops being a trail, and dumps into a little secluded residential area in my town, which then dumps into a fairly main road. There were 2 climbs left to do – one to exit the trail, and one once I got back on the main road. After that, there were a few more minor hills to get over, but that was basically the end of the ride in terms of difficulty, and I was still feeling strong. I was making great time too, average above 16 mph, which is 2 mph faster than I had averaged the last time I had done the ride.
Like I said, I was feeling confident, happy, and strong. That last one I hadn’t been able to feel in a really, really long time.
I came up to one of the final turns on the trail, and the plants in the area had overgrown since the last time I had ridden the trail. I called out a loud “incoming”, because I couldn’t really see what was around the next bend. No noise answered me, so I didn’t particularly slow down, and I came around the corner.
Dead into 2 riders, taking up both lanes of the trail.
I immediately squeezed my brakes, and my back tire slid to the right. My memory goes fuzzy around here, but what I imagine happened is that at some point between here and impact, I had my old biking instincts kick in. More or less, panic release from the bike, and hope you land on your feet.
Only problem was, I use road bike shoes on my road bike, appropriately enough. This means I am clipped to the pedals, so you have to twist your ankle first before you can lift your foot off the pedal. Unfortunately, I have not clocked enough miles on the road bike to really make this my first instinct.
When you start learning on clipped pedals, everyone says – be prepared to fall. When I learned, I managed to do so without ever falling. I even teased a friend of mine who was also training for a triathlon, because she ended up falling a whole bunch after following my recommendation to switch to pedals. There was always an inkling in the back of my head that when I did finally fall, it was going to be a doozey. I was not wrong.
I honestly don’t remember the impact. I don’t remember if the people helped me up or not, but I do remember that the first and only “unhazy” bit of memory I have is when I called my mom, some period of time after crashing. At that point in time, I could not remember the accident itself, but I was adamant that the people did not help me. Since then, the time immediately before the accident has come back, but nothing else.
The damage, all things considered, was fairly minor. My face took a pretty solid beating. A nice egg on my left forehead, a nice big bruise under my left eye, cuts on my nose, a giant fat lip, and some cuts inside my mouth. My left shoulder has a nice big scrape on it. I had some gravel in my forearm. My left glove got a little cut up. My sun glasses took a nice little beating. My left knee took a nice amount of damage, and so far, aside from the cuts in my mouth, that’s the only thing that’s still bothering me.
Oh, and the pounding headache I had after the adrenaline wore off.
Luckily, I was able to make a phone call while I was still pretty out of it. Unluckily, I wasn’t able to convey where exactly I was (more to do with the fact that I didn’t know where on the bike trail I was in exact relation to the road). So, my family panicked a bit, and had 3 cars coming my way. My head finally cleared, right around when they were getting to me. I haven’t checked my GPS watch yet, but it’ll be interesting to see just how long that took for me to be coherent again.
Concussed-Tony managed to walk himself and the bike out and off the bike trail, and I don’t even remember having to do the worst hill in the entire ride. So there’s that bit of silver lining, at least. My brother in law grabbed my bike, and headed to his home to turn off the oven he left running when he dashed to my rescue. My mom and my sister got me in their car, got me to my apartment, cleaned me up a little, and we headed to Presbyterian’s ER.
Cat scan came up negative, everything else was fine, so I was surprisingly released to go home that night. My Godmother, uncle, and cousin were all in the area, and they stopped by to keep us all company, which was nice, because with the ER, nobody was allowed to come in with me. So there was at least someone to make sure my mom and sister wouldn’t fall asleep or panic too much. Who knows, maybe they panicked more, but I was just hoping they were all able to keep each other calm. What do I know though?
So, I managed to escape major consequences, other than injured pride. Unfortunately for my family though, I don’t think this will be the last time I ride my bike before treatment. It’s one of the few places that I get to feel like I don’t have cancer. I get to forget the mantra “it’s going to be okay” and get to think “it’s pretty okay right now”, if even for an hour. It makes me feel better than I’ve felt since months before the diagnosis. It makes me feel like I felt when I first started my triathlon training. I actually get to feel hope.
It’ll probably be the last time I ride alone, though.
I’ll leave you with the aforementioned and promised images of my damage. For the extremely super duper squeemish, my face is definitely not pretty. For everyone else, enjoy my misfortune. Forgive the low resolution for now, I didn’t realize my sister’s phone down rezzed everything when she sent them to me. I’ll fix it when I get a chance.
While these might not look that bad, keep in mind that EVERYTHING was redder and more bruised in person. For some reason, the iPhone camera made everything seem more normal-human looking, rather than damaged-human.