This, That, and The Other Thing

It’s been a while. To be honest, I’ve written a lot of blog posts in my head while out riding or just puttering around the house – but none of these made it to the big screen. Sometimes, the words sound so much better and make so much more sense in my head and when I get ready to write, well, I lose my nerve or decide to keep things to myself.

This is normal I suppose for any creative person. Yes, I consider myself to be a creative person. I don’t create anything that you can hold, wear, or put on your mantel (well, there is the odd pottery project – new class starting next week). However, I do take the 26 letters of the alphabet and spend my days putting them together in unique formats.

This

It’s interesting to think about what I do all day and how this is or isn’t attached to my identity. I’m pretty lucky to revolve in circles where what I do all day doesn’t really impact how people judge me. I’m one of the lucky ones. Most of you don’t have it so easy. When people do ask me what I do, I say “I’m a writer“. This is a vague answer that let’s people make whatever judgement they want about my professional life.

It’s taken me a long time to get to this place. I guess this is what happens with age or simply just fatigue. I realized that most people are so self-consumed that they really don’t care what I do or don’t do all day. As for me, sure, your career is interesting but I know that for most of you – you’d rather be doing something else – so why bother spending much time weighing the value or not of your profession. (And for the record, every profession, job, career is valuable.)

Instead, I care about you as a person. What you do before and after work. What you’re thinking about when you’re at work. How you kick back and live life.

That

August is over. This doesn’t mean the end of summer. Just because Starbucks has rolled out it’s dreadful Pumpkin Spice Latte much too early, the Halloween stuff is in the stores, and the shops are peddling sweaters and mittens – doesn’t mean that summer is over.

The last time I checked, we’re living in a progressively warmer climate. I try not to worry about climate change too much – but frankly it’s impossible to recognize that we humans are making some big errors right now – today – that are having huge ramifications.

I urge you to read this incredible article from the NY Times about climate change. You can also listen to a podcast about climate change – if you don’t have time to read (gosh, I do hope you have time to read…). Hopefully it will make you stop and think about your world and how you live in it.

Sorry, I went off-course here with the climate change thing. So yeah, summer isn’t over. Keep doing the fun summer stuff as long as possible. In the summer, people are happier – we smile more, we’re outside more, we’re just generally a little bit closer to being our best selves. So why not keep these good people vibes going for as long as possible?

The Other Thing

So, it’s been around four months since my surgery. Somewhere along the way, I stopped counting the weeks since April 30. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but one day I realized I had no idea where I was in my post-op calendar.

This past month has probably been the first time since I’ve felt pretty normal and healed. There are still lots of lingering internal issues from the surgery. But I’m working with an osteopath and with Sarah Zahab at Continuum Fitness to fix all the tightness, muscle loss, and internal scarring.

I’ve been doing a lot of riding. I’m still not back to formal structured training. Instead I’m just riding at whatever pace on whichever bike for however long I want. This has been a real change for me. For so long I’ve been in a structured training program. There are times when I miss the structure but I also relish the freedom of being able to do what I want on the bike.

The big trade-off with this approach is fitness. I’m not about to go out and do intervals on my own. I’ve noticed that I lack the ability to recover from hard efforts or to go really deep. This is okay. 2018 is about getting back to feeling whole again. Then in 2019 I can decide what I want to do.

I’ve been spending much more time on my mountain bike than in previous years. I’m so loving it. I think I’m addicted to riding at Larose Forest. It’s the place I go when I need to clear my head, get back to nature, and just feel like a bike rider again. I’m riding my ‘cross bike on the road and I think riding the ‘cross gearing (42/38) has been useful in making it easier for me to do long rides.

The ‘cross season starts next week. I am going to race. I don’t know how it’s going to go. Well, I do know how it will go. I’ve got experience with racing a season after surgery. It’s going to be hard (but isn’t it always?) and it’s going to be fun. I have zero expectations or self-imposed pressure. I won’t do many double race weekends – just Rochester and the Camp Fortune races. At this point, I’m not sure if I’ll race at the Canadian Cyclocross Nationals in Peterborough or at the Pan Am Masters Championships in Milton. These will be week of and even day of decisions. It all depends on how I’m feeling.

I’ve noticed that I get fatigued really quickly lately. Gone are the days of back-to-back long steady rides. If I want to do a long ride on Saturday and a moderate length ride on Sunday, I have to take it really easy on the Friday and Thursday before. It also takes me a solid day to recover from a good hard MTB ride. This is new for me. I used to be able to ride 6/7 of days and really not want to do a recovery ride on the seventh day.

It will come. I just have to give myself time. After all, like you, I’m only human. There is only so much I or you can do.

I stumbled on this quote today thanks to Austin Kleon’s newsletter and I think it’s a good way to end this post and get ready for the days ahead:

Finish every day and be done with it… You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it well and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.  Rapha Waldo Emerson

#crossiscoming

First off, I kinda sorta apologize for using a hash tag in my title. But, you have to admit, it’s a catchy title. It got you reading….

So #crossreallyiscoming – what are you going to do? With local ‘cross calendars getting updated and everyone planning weekend cyclocross get-aways, it seems like the Internet is abuzz with how to get ready for cyclocross season.

This getting ready for cyclocross season is an interesting concept. IMO, getting ready for cyclocross season means something different for every person.

Serious cyclocross racers have been thinking about and training for cyclocross well before August 1st. Serious road racers and mountain bikers are likely looking at cyclocross as great way to keep their motivation and fitness going for a while.

And then there’s the rest of us. The people who like to ride their bikes and enter in races and other bike events that sound fun. This doesn’t mean you’re not taking cyclocross seriously, but you’re not putting life on hold for cyclocross training and fretting over the exact tire/rim combination for one crazy muddy race or super sandy race (which unless you’re in Belgium likely isn’t on your radar).

This is where I’m at now. I think it’s a great place to be. It means that I have a race or two to look forward to every weekend from September to the end of November. It means that I get to hang out with my friends and do a bit of traveling now and then. It is a great way to bridge the summer riding season through to the winter fat biking (or skiing if that’s your thing) season.

So as I sit here today and think about the cyclocross season and I ask myself – “what should I be doing to get ready for cyclocross season?“, my answer is very simple – I need to ride my bike.

Yes, specific intervals might help. But likely since I haven’t done any formal training or focused cyclocross training all summer, intervals aren’t going to help me much now. I just need to get out and ride my bike.

I need to keep going for long rides, short rides, and in-between rides. I need to go a little bit harder sometimes or sprint up a short hill sometimes. I need to get out on my ‘cross bike in the woods and practice turning, descending, riding in a straight line, and other fun stuff. I need to practice barrier technique and bunny hopping. I need to practice shouldering and running with the bike. I need to do so much.

See what has happened here? By just thinking about the fun weekends ahead when I get to line up, race, tell stories after the race, and hang out with my friends, I’ve created a long list of all the things I need to do to have fun. Hmm, there is something wrong with this picture.

So, while you’re sitting here thinking about the local cyclocross season or about traveling to a race that you heard is pretty fun and has a cool vibe, don’t stress about your training, your cyclocross skills, or your tire/rim setup.

Instead put on your kit, get on your bike, and go for a ride. Suddenly, you’ll feel so much better about your cyclocross season because you’re doing what you need to do – you’re riding your bike.

When you get back from your ride and see on Strava that someone has been out doing 20/30’s or 30/30’s or whatever/whatever’s – don’t stress. Remind yourself that you’ve just been out for a really great bike ride and you’re excited about ‘cross season.

Later when you check out Instagram and you see someone posting about their latest tubeless tires or the hot new tubulars, don’t stress because you’re on clinchers or because you don’t really know anything about tire pressure. Remember why you race cyclocross and think about that awesome ride you have planned for tomorrow.

When you’re wasting time on Facebook at work and see that someone is out running in the sand with a bike on their shoulder, don’t stress because you know you’re not racing at Mol, Belgium or Koksijde, Belgium or any other race that features considerable amounts of sand running. Instead think about the ride you have planned with your friends this weekend and the stories you’ll be able to tell afterwards.

Cause really, #crossiscoming is really just about getting outside in the fall and riding your bike around a course. All the bits in between are just picky little details. Enjoy the bike riding part and don’t stress about the details, it’s the details that tend to take the fun out of the bike riding part (trust me, I’m an expert on this part).

So yeah, #crossiscoming and it really is #somuchfun but don’t #besilly and #takethefunoutofcross with getting all #crazyserious. Ask yourself why you race cyclocross and then do what makes sense for you and your answer.

 

The Latest News

Long time no chat! Life has gotten busy and I suppose I thought I really didn’t have much of interest to tell you about. I’m still not sure if I’ve got any late breaking news or headline grabbing content, but you never know what will come out of my fingertips.

When I listen to podcasts with authors who say things like “the character just appeared to me” or the “the characters really spoke to me”, I often think, “what a load of bunk”. But, here I sit with no idea of what I’m going to write about and then the words just start flowing out of my fingers – so maybe these authors do know what they’re babbling about.

So, what is going on? Well, I’m back to regular good old life and I couldn’t be happier about it. I’ve been riding my bike pretty regularly now for a couple of weeks.

I have to admit the first week back was hard. Really hard. My legs didn’t want to pedal. My cadence was gone. My muscles couldn’t remember what to do. My triceps ached something fierce. I was panting on false flats. Yeah, I was kind of a hot mess on the bike.

I knew this would happen but deep down I secretly hoped that through some miracle, I could get back on the bike and just roll along where I left off on April 29th. Nope. The human body, at least a 46 year old human body that’s been stretched, pulled, cut open, and wrung out more times than I care to think about in the last nine years, doesn’t just bounce back.

This is okay. The good news is I’ve been here before so I know it’s all part of the process. I’ve had some awesome rides these last couple of weeks. It’s been great to ride with so many different people. I’ve barely looked at my power meter and just focused on the person next to me and trying to remember not to talk too much.

We’re in full summer mode here. Which, I suppose for us doesn’t really mean much is different except, I have to wear pants and hoodies indoors because of the air conditioning. Question: does anyone else get super cold after eating cold food or drinking a cold drink? I do and it can be super annoying – I have to bundle up before eating ice cream or having an ice cold pop.

Hmm, what else is going on? Well, I finally got to see Bryan Adams. I’ve wanted to see him since I was a wee young teenager. It was as great as I knew it would be. We also went to see The Dave Matthews Band. Wow, what a night. There is nothing better than seeing a band full of real musicians. Dave is a real character and he let his personality fly on  stage. It wasn’t an easy next day for Marc however, with some post-concussion symptoms rearing up. Fortunately, Marc is feeling much better and back to his regular self.

Let’s see what else is happening? Nothing really. Lots of reading, Tour de France and Giro Rosa watching, podcast listening, and general loafing around. It’s a pretty good life really.

My brain is slowly but surely drifting towards the sudden onset of cyclocross season. This time last year I’d already put in a few solid months of specific cyclocross drills and training sessions. Not so much this year. But, hopefully in the next couple of weeks I can get back out on the trails and do some dirt riding.

New and exciting for this week are: mountain biking on the weekend, planned first long ride of 2018, and a return to yoga classes that aren’t Yin yoga.

I’m nervous about all three.

But, the way I look at it is – I have to cross these hurdles sooner or later – so I might as well do it now. The problem with later is I never know when that will be and it might never come.

 

Light In The Tunnel

I’ve been living in an eight-week tunnel. Counting down the weeks and days until eight weeks would be up. My panproctocolectomy completion surgery a.k.a butt/rectum removal was on April 30.

Eight weeks from April 30 is June 25. Not long now.

I was told from the beginning that I would need an eight-week recovery period from this surgery and then to expect it to take me another six months to really feel like myself again. Neither of these numbers were a shock to me.

In 2016 when I had my colon removed, I was also deep inside the eight-week recovery tunnel. The six months to fully recover makes sense since I’ve had two major surgeries within 20 months.

This go-round has been a long eight weeks. The recovery feels harder and longer than it did in 2016. However, like all really tough stuff in life, we tend to forget the really bad bits, so maybe 2016 was as equally challenging.

I do know that recovering from having my butt removed was extra spicy thanks to the inconvenience of not being able to sit much. The butt is a tender and protected area for most of us. So imagine what it’s like to have the butt that you’ve known for a long time (46 years) be sliced, diced, stretched, and then sewn together with crazy industrial stitches. Yeah, things get extra sensitive.

I’ve now graduated from needing a special cushion to sitting on hard chairs and on the floor. It does make me a bit nervous to do so, but I think this will last for a while.

The next step is to get my butt on a bike seat. This will happen on June 25th – the eight week date. I’m going to start with my city bike – it has a big cushy saddle and the nature of the bike limits me from overexerting myself. The deep buried hope inside me is that on June 30th I can get out for a ride on my trusty red bike and then within a month I’m back to riding for up to four hours.

Now, don’t gasp and shudder and get ready to post a comment telling me to take it easy or to go slow. This is exactly what I’ve been doing for the last eight weeks. On May 23rd, my surgeons gave me the okay to return to yoga (I waited two weeks), to give up the cushion (I still bring it with me in the car), and to start pushing my limits (I haven’t really, apart from standing a bit too long a few days). So yeah, I’ve been waiting.

I’ve been doing special core exercises to get my abdominal muscles working again and I spend a lot of time clenching my butt muscles to try to get them active again. Really, you have no idea how critical your butt muscles are when you sit down to pee until your butt has been sliced and diced. Sitting to pee was a big deal around here at 26 Tamarack Place, admittedly I still use the hover technique but I’m getting there.

So yeah, I’m looking forward to June 25th. It’s hard to be a cyclist when you can’t cycle. My body doesn’t feel or look the same. I don’t feel the same. I harbour deep fears that I might never get back to being the same as I was.

It’s likely this deep fear that has encouraged my interest in reading books and watching documentaries about people who have conquered some kind of insurmountable challenge and have come out whole. Knowing that there are other people who have recovered from big surgeries, crazy injuries, or even just done the unthinkable, tells me that I just might be able to get back to feeling like myself.

I’ve got big plans for 2019. Did you notice that? I don’t have big plans for 2018. This is the year of finding myself again. Of hopefully living a life with less sick days and more healthy days. As a chronically ill person, I know I can’t expect the sick days to end but I do hope they are reduced or at least somewhat less harsh. I need to figure out this new body of mine and learn what it needs to keep feeling well.

My brother sent me a pendant for my birthday and it really couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. I think of the phrase multiple times a day:

She believed she could so she did

World IBD Day is May 19

World IBD Day is happening on May 19.

World IBD Day takes place on 19 May each year and unites people worldwide in their fight against Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, known as inflammatory bowel diseases.

Unfortunately, while IBD impacts an estimated 5 million people living all over the world, IBD remains largely misunderstood and lacks global awareness.

I have IBD. I have ulcerative colitis. I was diagnosed in 2009, but had lived with many strange symptoms and illnesses prior to this that are likely a result of this auto-immune disease.

Rather than answer the standard questions about IBD, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis, I thought I’d address some of the questions and comments I’ve heard from friends, strangers, and medical practitioners over the past nine years.

Use these links to learn the facts on IBD, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis:

You don’t look sick.

I hear this one all the time. I’ve heard from well-meaning people. I’ve heard it from doctors and nurse when I’ve been in hospital not even able to eat jello. Here’s the thing – I can’t help the way I look. I look younger than my years. I look good. I have good skin colour. I look fit. This is not my fault. This is simply down to genetics. It’s important to remember an old adage: Never judge a book by its cover. Same goes for me and others like me.

Well, at least you don’t have cancer.

Hmm, this is one of my favourites. I really never know what to say to this. Yes, cancer is horrible. But so is IBD and ulcerative colitis. Just like people can die from cancer – I can die from ulcerative colitis.

You can’t die from ulcerative colitis.

Yes, I can die from ulcerative colitis. I have a compromised immune system. When I catch a cold or flu, it can turn into pneumonia very easily. My ability to fight infection is compromised. I’ve taken so many noxious drugs over the years that have damaged my body’s ability to fight off viruses and bacteria.

My colon and rectum weren’t removed for fun. They were removed because I had no choice. There are no more drugs for me to take. By not having the surgery, I would have died from a perforated bowel, sepsis, or colon cancer.

People do die from ulcerative colitis. Even though I no longer have a colon and rectum, I still have ulcerative colitis. I will never be free from this disease.

Should you be eating or drinking that?

Hmm, how would you feel if I asked you the same question? Yes, I’m going to drink the Diet Coke or eat the chocolate cake. I’m human and like you, I find comfort in food. You don’t know what it’s like to have ulcerative colitis – so please do not judge me when you see me drinking a Starbucks drink or eating a hamburger. Just as you wouldn’t eat anything that you know will make you sick, the same goes for me.

There are days when I feel so terrible that the only comfort and feeling of normalcy I can find is that bowl of cereal or grilled cheese sandwich.

What you need to do is switch to a vegan or keto or paleo or low-carb or high-carb or high-protein or raw or gluten-free or dairy-free or liquid or low-protein or organic or all junk food diet.

If there was a diet that could cure me, I would follow it. Believe me, I’ve tried every diet there is. It doesn’t matter what I eat or drink. The ulcerative colitis is always there. Gluten-free. Dairy-free. Raw smoothies. Juice fast. SCD. Vegan. You name it, I’ve tried it. Most of the time I felt worse on these diets.

But, you know someone who had stomach problems and cut out gluten and meat – and now they feel so much better. Hmm, yeah, well everyone is unique. What works for one person, isn’t going to work for someone else. This is what makes auto-immune diseases like ulcerative colitis so hard to diagnose, treat, and cure. Each and every body is different.

If you’re so sick, how can you ride your bike every day?

Yes, for most of the past nine years I’ve been able to ride and race my bike. Heck, I even raced at the World Cyclocross Championships in Tabor, Czech Republic in 2010. It can seem confusing – how can a sick person still do all this exercise?

What you don’t see are the times before and after my training rides and races. The times when I couldn’t even make it to the road without shitting blood and mucus. You don’t see the roadside stops and frantic pulling off of my jersey and bib shorts in an effort not to crap myself. You don’t see me doing nothing after my ride – me lying on the couch with cramps and fear. You don’t see the missed training rides, the DNFs, and the poor results. You don’t notice the sub-par performances. You don’t remember the week-long hospital stay in Belgium in 2010 or the 12-day hospital stay here in Ottawa in 2012. You don’t see me taking steroids and other noxious drugs in an effort to find some energy and relief. You don’t see my small intestines sticking out of my abdomen. You don’t see the staples and stitches. You don’t see the scars. You don’t see me struggling to sit for more than 30 minutes. You don’t see me being afraid to eat food. You don’t see me wishing it would all end. You don’t see me giving up.

You don’t see any of this because I can’t allow this. I can’t allow ulcerative colitis to break me. So I ride my bike. So I race my bike. So I work. So I go out and live a normal healthy life. I have to do this. I have to show others living with ulcerative colitis, that it will not break them. I rely on others like me to show me that the days can and will get better. And  I have to do the same.

Now that you’ve had your colon and rectum removed, you must be cured.

There is no cure for ulcerative colitis. Yes, the organs impacted by ulcerative colitis are now gone. However, there is a strong chance I’ll develop Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis has gifted me with another disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis. This disease impacts my liver and liver bile ducts. I also have the genetic marker for an auto-immune disease that can cause my vertebrae to be fused, leading to paralyzation.

The thing about auto-immune disease that most people don’t understand is that you’re never free. My immune system is in overdrive and eventually some other part of me will be attacked.  And no, there is nothing I can do to prevent this from happening.

Can’t you just take some drugs?

I did that. I’ve taken every drug available to me (except one, which my gastro doctor is holding back, in case I develop Crohn’s disease). I’ve taken every kind of suppository and enema. I’ve taken more steroids than I care to remember. I’ve taken noxious IV drugs called biologics. I’ve taken drugs that suppress my immune system. I’ve sat in my bathroom and injected drugs into my legs. I’ve taken it all.

Some of these drugs worked for a short time. And then my super smart and crafty immune system outsmarted these drugs. Or the drugs made me so ill that my white blood cell count was nearly wiped out. Or the drugs made me so anemic that I had to have weekly IV iron infusions.

Yes, there are some people who respond really well to a drug and manage to stay in remission. But, I’m not one of these people.

Well, I have an upset stomach sometimes and I really can’t digest corn. So I know what you’re dealing with.

Hmm, talk to me when you are going to the bathroom over 40 times a day. Talk to me when you shit blood and mucus every single time. Talk to me when you’ve crapped your pants in the grocery store. Talk to me when you’ve had to wear adult diapers. Talk to me when you’re dry heaving on the toilet and can’t even drink water. Talk to me when you lose 20 lbs in one week. Talk to me when you can’t leave your house because you’re afraid you might crap blood and mucus. Talk to me when you can’t digest jello.

Maybe it’s all in your head.

Yeah, you’re right. I made this up because I wanted the extra attention. I’m imagining everything. I wanted to have two major surgeries. I want to have a pouch attached to my abdomen.

If you’re so sick, shouldn’t you be really skinny and pale?

If you  go to the gym every day shouldn’t you be ripped and super fit? If you go to yoga, shouldn’t you be super flexible? If you eat such a healthy diet, shouldn’t you have the perfect body?

I guess you must have done something to cause the ulcerative colitis.

Nope. I didn’t do anything to cause this. I likely showed the first signs of this auto-immune disease when I was a teeny tiny baby. I can promise you there was nothing I did to cause this. In fact, I follow all the healthy lifestyle rules – exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, don’t smoke, etc. And I still got sick.

Now, I have two requests for you:

To raise awareness of IBD – please share this post with your social network, friends, colleagues, and strangers.

To help the smart doctors and researchers find better treatments for IBD – please support the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada. My friend Marie-Josée Lafleur is raising money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada via the organization’s annual fundraiser – The Gutsy Walk. Please donate and support all of us living with IBD.

Two Days To Go

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the past 16 days have been intense. On April 12 I learned I would finally be having surgery on April 30. Learning that finally I could hopefully put some of the nastiness of ulcerative colitis behind me, felt like a chance at a new beginning.

My immediate emotional response was one of elation and relief. Yes, finally it’s happening. Finally, I can get back to life. A real-life time machine, I hopefully could get back to my regular healthy life.

At times over the past 16 days, these immediate feelings have become a bit more cloudy. Doubt and fear about the surgery. The reactions on people’s faces when I tell them what I’m having done, reminds me how big of a deal this surgery is. Fear of not knowing if I’ll actually ever be able to get back to my regular healthy life. Doubt about what this will really mean for the ulcerative colitis that has been ruling my life for longer than we really know.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy to be having this surgery. But, it’s not an everyday surgery like an appendix or tonsil removal. It’s not everyday you meet someone who casually says, “Oh yeah, on April 30 I’m having my rectum removed and my bum stapled shut. It’s going to be great. Oh no, it’s not that major. It’ll be okay.”

But this is what I say. Deep down I know it will be okay. Thanks to the power of Facebook I’ve got a huge community of people as inspiring role models and examples of how great life will be without my pesky rectum. But still, you just never know.

Will my ulcerative colitis outsmart me and the doctors again and manifest itself in some other way. Will it morph into Crohn’s Disease? Will it come back and attack my joints, forcing me back on horrible medications? Will it cause the lingering liver chaos to break-out? What will it do?

Once you have an auto-immune disease, you never fully escape it. After all the surgeries, medications, and other treatments – remission may come – but it is always there, like the devil on your shoulder.

I think well, if I do everything right, I should be able to get back to life as I used-to-know-it and forget about ulcerative colitis. But, I’m no fool. I’ve got years of experience in this game. It will always be there. No matter how many smoothies I drink and how often I swear off Diet Coke – it will always be in my life.

But, all I can be is optimistic. I’ve tried to stay as positive as I can through-out this entire ulcerative colitis romance, I’ve had my heart and soul crushed more times than I can think, but just like every other lover, I’m telling myself this time will be different. I can change this. It will be better. This is my one chance to get it right.

If only I could be the one in charge. But as the 2018 winner of the Boston Marathon, Desiree Linden says “I can only control the controllables.” So this is what I’ll do. Over the next eight weeks of recovery, I’ll do everything I can to listen to my body and focus on what is in my power to control. The other stuff – the unknowns, the what if’s, the questions, the fear, the doubt – I can’t control these. So I’ll just have to move on and let these goes.

After all, I’ve got a big giant epic life waiting for me. Yeah, I think it’s going to turn out okay.

It’s Finally Happening

For 12 days, I’ve been telling Marc that “today is the day. Today is the day they’ll call me.” Well, wouldn’t you know it on the 12th day I got lucky and got the call I’ve been waiting for.

I have a confirmed surgery date of April 30.

Wow, talk about the best early birthday present ever. Not many people want to have their rectum removed and their bum stapled shut for their birthday – but I’m not like most people.

So, now I’ve got 16 days to get ready physically and mentally. I’ve been so super tired lately so this cold weather is a blessing in disguise. It’s taken me two weeks of riding in the cold to realize that with my body as worn down as it is, it’s okay to say “I’m too tired to ride.” This is not an easy thing to do. I’m programmed to ride, ride, and ride some more.

I’ve got a good chunk of work to do before the 30th. But this is all really self-imposed. My super bosses at Know Agency have been overwhelmingly understanding and I really can’t imagine any other place being so accommodating. So yeah, if you need SEO or digital marketing work/advice/expertise – give Know Agency some payback for me and contact them.

It was my birthday on Friday the 13th. It was a good one. A huge thank you to everyone who made it so special.

And now, comes some tricky stuff. There are lots of people who I want to get together with before my surgery. However, I cannot under any circumstances risk catching a cold or flu. So if you have the sniffles, sore throat, an earache, a stomach ache, an upset stomach, pink eye, shingles, are getting over a cold/flu, or don’t feel well and believe you’re not contagious – please stay away from me and Marc. I cannot get sick. Please cancel our plans. If we meet up and I sense a sickness – I will leave. Yes, this is harsh but I have no other choice. This surgery is this important.

One more thing… having this kind of surgery is not fun. My rectum is being removed and my butt is being stapled shut. Not cool. At all. After the surgery, I won’t feel great or look great. I’m only in the hospital for a short period of time (four days). So please, do not come and visit me. Seriously. You can come visit me at home – you can even put me in your car and take me to Starbucks or somewhere with fresh air. But please, do not come visit me. Put it this way, not even my parents are coming – I’ve told them to stay home and to come in May or June when I can move around without a catheter, a hospital gown, an IV, an abdominal drain, adult diaper thingys, and narcotics.

I know, I’m being harsh and very self-centred here – but I don’t want to get sick and have my surgery cancelled and I really don’t want you to be disappointed with a hospital visit that involves me not being my best self.

So, yeah. That’s the news. I think being 46 is going to be really damn good. Well, apart from not have a butt anymore. But hey, at least you can’t call me an asshole…. (Sorry this is a barbie butt joke…)