9 1/2 Weeks

Today, I rode my bicycle. First time in almost 9 1/2 weeks. No, this post has absolutely NOTHING to do with a movie about sex and eating jalapenos blindfolded in lingerie. It’s just the first movie reference that popped into my head when I looked in my journal for the last date I rode my bike. Monday, September 14th. A grocery run to Trader Joe’s. 64 days ago. My bike chain jumped the gears on the way home with 30 pounds of groceries in the pack on my back. The chain wedged itself between the gears and the bike frame, and it took me about 20 minutes to cautiously work it free, reset it, and slowly ride it home using only the one gear I got it to loop back into. 21st gear. The top gear. Up hill the last 2 miles home.

It was my last ride. The pains and symptoms that had become a part of my recent life with kidney cancer were becoming more than I felt like riding to the store with. In fact, by that night, I started to notice an increasing pain in my lower abdomen that, by the next night, made me decide that a trip to Urgent Care was a good idea. Because in my mind, after my catheter and camera bladder exam the Friday before, I thought this new pain might be a bladder infection. And at this point in my Summer of Cancer adventure, NOTHING was going to stop me from having the surgery scheduled for October 6th, to get my cancer-coated kidney out of me.

As I’ve mentioned to a few folks since, that pain I was feeling turned out to be a little bonus affliction called diverticulitis. You fans of WebMD can play with that one at your earliest convenience. A couple more trips to the doctor and two prescriptions of antibiotics later and the surgery happened right on schedule.

Anyway, that’s all just backstory now. Same with why I would ride to buy groceries and run other local errands. It’s all just history now, and probably more filler for another post I’ll write before the end of the month.

The important thing about this day was, I rode my bicycle. For the first time in almost 9 1/2 weeks, I rode. Six weeks to the day after surgery. Just like the doctors said not to do. Not to fuck up the healing I can’t see on my insides, while the scars I can see on my outsides do the same.

Today, I rode my bicycle. It felt good. The day felt good. Writing this felt good.

(c) copyright 2020 William S. Friday

Night of the Living Dead

*The following is a word-for-word journal entry from Thursday, September 17. There is no embellishment or editing. NOTE: two days earlier, I took myself to Urgent Care for pain in my left abdomen. I assumed a bladder infection following a catheter camera examination the previous Friday, and hoped it would be caught quickly so that cancer surgery would not be delayed. A urine sample and talk with a doctor identified nothing at that time. However, five days AFTER this journal entry, rapidly increasing abdominal pain and a second appointment, along with another CT scan, revealed I was suffering from diverticulitis, or an inflammation of the interior lining of the large intestine. This was treated with two prescribed antibiotics, and my surgery would happen, as scheduled.*

9:06 am.

Oh look! A brand new day!

(49% sarcasm)

The girls are coming over today. Daran said ‘errands’, which means she wants an extra pair of hands for the Grandlings. Since I’m mostly fine, and have ZERO else to do, I’m all in. Maybe there’s a Horchata Cream Frap in my future!

12:20 pm.

Cooked and ate breakfast. Load of dishes. Now getting ready for the kids. Watched Night of the Living Dead – 1990 during all of the above. Drew no contemporary life parallels. I feel tired after all that. Guess I’ll see how I feel tonight. 19 days to go.

I don’t know what other motivation there is. There is no relationship or reward, or seemingly anything pushing me to this ‘first finish line’. Just counting down the days. Admittedly, that’s not much. The last couple of days, I haven’t felt too journal-wordy, either. I know it’s rooted in the Tuesday pain and Urgent Care visit, and some lingering right arm nerve pain from over-popping my shoulder around the same time. That just leaves me flat.

*By Sunday night, after dog sitting from Thursday night till Sunday afternoon, what started out as a mild pain and a whole lot of worry had turned into enough abdominal pain that I was emailing my doctor and popping a Percocet in hopes of having a few hours of relief and maybe a little uninterrupted sleep. Fortunately, the pain never returned after the meds wore off, and within a couple of days, I was being treated for the unexpected BONUS condition, in time for the BIG operation.*

(c) copyright 2020 William S. Friday