When an Adventure Cycling tour begins, the first item on the list for participants and leaders is the 4:00 PM meeting. This occurs at the location the tour will use as, and call, “the trailhead”. Usually it is a campground or inexpensive motel that the tour leaders have made reservations for all the participants to spend the first of 2 nights. We start with introductions and 30,000 foot view of the journey ahead. On the day after the orientation meeting, a “shakedown” ride is set up to make sure of a few important items:
- All the participants actually know how to ride a bicycle
- The equipment they have brought with them will be of a nature that will sustain their efforts to complete the tour without serious breakdowns
- Any last minute repairs/adjustments can be made, small gear items left at home can be purchased, etc….and finally…
- They have the ability to gather their gear, pack their bike, and “push off”
Yesterday, our tour leaders, Dr. B., Marisa, the Oncology LPN, Sue, the Palliative Care LPN, et.al., held the orientation meeting at the Medical Oncology Department at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Sibley Memorial Hospital, in a room they had reserved for us, the participants. This is in NO Way a cheap motel of campground, but a beautifully designed healthcare provider environment. They introduced themselves, and as they met the participants of this new tour; The Long Ride, the analogy of the beginning of a ACA Tour came to mind. We went round the room with our introductions, “Hi, I’m Wade, Cancer Man on this Tour”, then Peggy, “we’ve been married 38 years”, my daughter Leigh, son-in-law Chris, and this is our niece, Gini. Just like an ACA orientation meeting, smiles and greetings all round. The tears however, were just around the corner.
Today, Peggy & I have our shakedown ride, we will attend a Chemotherapy Teaching Session. Not sure what this entails, but we think it will discuss the pluses and minuses of having poison injected into your body. The pluses are obvious, the poison may kill. and/or at least, severely wound the sarcoma growing at “a highly mitotic” rate in your body. The minuses are…well, it’s poison, so…there. One way they make this a “low mileage day” type of treatment is by inserting an infusion port, similar to a Central Venous Catheter. It will be the gateway by which said ‘poison’ is given. It will allow them to avoid ‘sticking’ me all over, searching for a vein. And it will give the access to a large vein hear the heart for the swift application of said ‘poison’.
Wednesday we will commit to The Long Ride with the first of a series of additional tests and scans. An echocardiogram is Wednesday, then on Thursday, a PET scan. I’m hoping I can bring Leigh & Chris’ sweet Labrador Retrievers, Tipsy & Jackson, but I don’t think real pets are invited.
I need to get going to make the shakedown ride start point, I’ll be sure to have more to say this weekend after Peggy & I have made The Big Push-Off.