Monday’s Doc visit, Tuesday’s ride

While everyone else was outside looking (indirectly) at the eclipse, I was waiting for an appointment with my hematologist/onocologist that was scheduled three months ago, when an eclipse not only would have been the last thing on my mind, but, that far out, August 21st 9:50am wouldn’t have rung any alarm bells. Three months ago, I was, frankly, scared to death, as a series of blood tests were bringing me what seemed, at the time, to be seriously-bad news. Let’s face it, if you have a choice, you’d rather go through life without having to see an oncologist. Yeah, well, that was then, this is now. Unlike that first visit, I almost looked forward to this one, because after the initial bad news, things stabilized, and as I learned more about my particular situation, it seems safe to say that, among bone-marrow cancers, mine (Essential Thrombocythemia with a CALR Type 1 genetic mutation) is the best choice.

My primary concern was adding a platelet-reducing med that’s known to cause heart issues (bad for cycling!) as well as possibly accelerate a progression of the disease to something much worse. I’m not sure my concerns about heart issues held much weight with her, but the possibility of making things worse down the road is tough to argue, plus the specifics of my genetic defect make my bone marrow’s excessive platelet production less dangerous. In the end I settled for an increased dosage of my daily poison (chemo drug) and, best of all, move from a weekly blood test to monthly. So sure, I missed the eclipse, but gained confidence that I’ve got my bone marrow issue under control. Sure, I’m still producing too many platelets, but it’s fewer than before and it’s rock-solid stable, nothing scary happening. Even my hematocrit is returning to normal levels.

Not to say I felt super strong on the Tuesday-morning ride though! There might have been some effect from the increased dose of my chemo drug, but more likely it was just a high-gravity day. Thankfully, both Marcus and JR were kind to me on Kings and set a pretty easy pace, easy enough that I could even carry on a conversation most of the way up. No fog on top so I was a bit over dressed, but I’d rather be a bit warm than cold. Older Kevin is off on a bike ride in Spain while younger Kevin still has another two weeks off the bike while his arm heels. They missed a really nice day on the regular ride.

The Sunflower picture? No excuse needed, ever, for pictures of Sunflowers!

Solo ride; all systems go ahead of Dr visit tomorrow

Despite nearly 3 months of taking nasty stuff for my mild bone marrow cancer, my cycling really hasn’t suffered. Today’s solo ride (Kevin turned out to have a slight fracture after Tuesday-morning’s crash so he’s off the bike for a couple more weeks) didn’t go badly at all. My heart rate still responds appropriately with effort, my legs can still push the pedals on a climb, and the nasty, really nasty itching the medication causes? It’s simply non-existent when I’m riding. There’s no question that I lose a bit of alertness at the end of the day (bed-time is shortly after 11pm now, while it used to be midnight), but right now, I don’t have too much to complain about.

Old LaHonda was just under 23 minutes, with the most-important metric being that I stayed over the 1000 VAM target (meaning a climb rate of 1000 meters/hour). Pretty much the same VAM on Haskins, followed by pretty much the same VAM yet again on Stage Road. I can live with that!

Of course, by the time I got to Tunitas, I was beginning to feel it and was happy to finish in 49 minutes. No, that’s really not true; I was hoping for 47-something, but there’s only so much in the tank and doing it solo, no wheel to draft on the lower flanks, means you’re putting in a bit more work earlier.

Tomorrow’s going to be an interesting day; first follow-up visit with the Hematologist/Oncologist following my late-May diagnosis. I’m hoping she’ll be OK with the current results (blood test lab data, not cycling!) and not add a new med that is known to cause heart issues. My condition is something that wouldn’t be taken seriously at all if I were under 60, but since I’m on the wrong side of that arbitrary number, they treat me as if I’m going to have a heart attack or stroke if my platelets are high. We’ll see how it goes. –MikeJ