It is late for me to be starting to write but I haven’t written for a few days and today had so many events I had to get some of them down. To begin with I will have to apologize to my wife that this will not focus on the biggest highlight of the day which was today is our tenth anniversary. Ten years she has put up with me as her husband which I am sure just keeps her from leaving me without some legal ramifications. I am sure I have needed this cushion of defense multiple times over the past ten years. In all honesty she had a pretty good understanding of what she was getting into before we got married as we had been together for 8 years. Still ten years of marriage is pretty amazing. No one could claim anymore truthfully that they have lived through the traditional vows of “in sickness and in health” as she has. She is amazing and today was no exception.
A year ago today we were heading to Seattle to start the transplant workup. I was just getting a little strength back and the idea of mountain biking or playing soccer was far from a possibility although not out of my realm of wishful thinking. Today, Brooke swallowed many of her concerns and like a truly loving wife encouraged me to push my boundaries a bit. To start with I was allowed to go for a mountain bike ride on my own. Most people might think that would not be to hard to accept but given my slightly low blood counts and platelets it is a concern. More over given my history of close call bike incidents and a year of coping with Leukemia it is a reasonable and understandable worry from her stand point.
I will admit I was cautious about cruising around Kincaid heavily wooded single tracks. My cautious though is probably enough to scare a good portion of the general public and a decent part of the mountain biking faithful. The best part of the ride though was not the adrenaline or the fact I returned in one piece but the way I felt. I did not feel like I used too. I was much more short of breath on areas I would have never thought hard. I could feel my heart racing after moderate climbs. This feeling was however nice partly because I just did what my body let me and it wasn’t fighting me.
Over the last year there has been an explosion of data collection on activity. It seems everyone can tell you how far they went, their speed, their energy output, their heart rate or any number of variables around their workout. Most of these are pulled right off their phone. I will admit I have obviously been a part of this growing population of info thirsty sporting warriors who carry their activity recordings like a shield of honor (although mine have not been extremely honorable, but every bit counts right?). Today I did not put on my heart rate monitor, I didn’t even turn on the GPS. I took my phone in case some catastrophe happened but the feeling of just riding to ride was luscious and sweetly rewarding mentally. I have never been a fan of blasting your ottic hairs with music while riding or exercising but now I remember the lightness of relying solely on how you feel to be unhooked during an activity. I know I went far enough to be tired, I know I pushed it a little to hard at times, I know I didn’t hit any wild animals and mostly I know I was alive without some form of entertainment other that what I was doing or an app to tell me so.
After my ride Liam returned from his week in the Cove with Grandma Toni. It was great to see his gap tooth smile and his outdoor kissed skin. We hung out in the sun of the back deck for a while. We tried out the new Go Pro I was given for fathers day/ birthday gift from Jim and Gayle. I will hopefully learn to attach some of the upcoming videos with will focus highly on my active boys. We also enjoyed a dinner out before Jim and Gayle took the boys back home. Brooke and I headed off to a soccer game.
I have not played soccer in over 18 months now. Next to before I was 5 this is the longest in my life I have gone without a game of some sort. I went primarily to watch Brooke but she encouraged me to bring my gear. The team needed an extra guy which is not all that common and so I stepped on to the field with a massive Dudley grin. As with my ride I could feel the low hemoglobin and I was far from aggressive when the ball came my way (I was threatened with expulsion by Brooke if I took my glasses off to try and head any balls, I was supposed to duck which I did begrudgingly). Yet, I ran around, I passed, I trapped, I even got off a classic Matt Dudley shot which as all good defenders should do hit the field goal post for the American football as it sailed over the goal. In the past I would have, even on a team I walked on to, not want to come off but I was all to happy to accept substitution in this first game back.
The day was wonderful. Mentally one of the best days of the last year and a half. Sure I worried at times about a lot of things but some of the old me was back, mixed with the new me and as always supported by the best part of me. Thanks Brooke, not just for the 18 years of friendship and love, the ten years of marriage, the 18 months of gut wrenching cancer support, but for knowing me so well and being able to accept your own fears to let me still enjoy some of my health. No one could ask for a better best friend.
Head Up, Heart Strong. I need a cure.