Really cool thread! I was originally diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease and actually going on 10 years in remission.
I grew up riding BMX bikes in my neighborhood until 8th grade, then moved closer to a beach and started surfing/diving etc so I really had no reason to ride a bike. I then started playing paintball, and actually ended up joining a professional team, traveling the world and consuming the next 12 years of my life. At the tail end of my paintball career, I started a real job and within a few months of working, was diagnosed with Hodgkins Disease at 27 years old. As you all can relate, it was the scariest moment of my life. I watched my father battle leukemia 5 years earlier and unfortunately lose, so I knew this diagnosis was my chance to fight cancer back and win!
I proceeded with 6-months of chemotherapy bi-weekly for 3-4 hours per session staying extremely positive every step of the way. Post chemotherapy treatments, it felt like that I had the worst hangover and then sideswiped in a car accident. Luckily that would only last a day or so but it was rough…
Once I was told that I was in remission, one of the happiest moments of my life, I was dealing with a ton of side of effects with the chemo trying to exit my body. A good friend/co-worker was a Mountain Biker and was always asking me to try it out. I finally took him up on the offer and vividly remember it being one of the most fun times of my life. We started on the “easy” trail which was maybe a 2 miles long with very little technical riding. I was in such bad shape from little physical activity the months prior and the chemo weakening my body, but I was determined to make all 2 miles without walking. I think I rode for a total of 1-hour that day, but it literally changed my life. I just remember smiling ear to ear on the way home and within a week buying a Gary Fisher mtb. The next 6-months I pretty much rode 2-4 times a week and eventually became one of the strongest riders at the local trail placing in the top 3 consistently at all of the time trial events that summer.
Within the last 10 years, I have traveled to so many great places, seeing so many beautiful things due to cycling. There is a great organization out there called First Descents which allowed me to raise money for their cancer foundation and compete in Leadville 4 years ago. The foundation is amazing and really doing some unique things for younger individuals diagnosed with cancer.
I now have 3 beautiful children and greatly appreciate all the amazing lessons that cancer taught me. All survivors can relate to those specific lessons… Bottom line, you can do anything, if you put your mind to it!
Kudos to my fellow survivors! and kudos to Trainer Road for their amazing podcast and forum.