May 2, 2016 – This week marks one full year in remission. Well, let’s just say it’s been a year since the end of the last period of surgery, chemo, and radiation that destroyed most of the colloid cells living in little pools of mucus in my pancreas.
Remission, by definition, is one of those bittersweet words. It simply means the immediate cause for distress is gone; but don’t get comfortable, it will return. It is very difficult to remain positive about all of this when the problem has been addressed twice by some seriously aggressive procedures and the most encouraging thing the doctors can say is that there is a fifty-fifty chance I will still be here after five years.
The socially acceptable stance for patients in this situation is to “remain positive.” At least that’s what everyone expects of us. Yet, the only thing I can be completely positive about is that my life clock is ticking forward at an alarmingly quick rate. Knowing this is an ambiguous game of hopes, wishes, and prayers isn’t a pleasant experience. It is a special form of agony that can only be displaced by filling the time with something that keeps me focused on something else, something that is more than just waiting for the next CT scan and blood draw.
I have reached a statistically important milestone in my Ride Around America project. All of the counties within two or three days of my location have been visited and documented. Now my progress isn’t measured by simple numbers, the ruler of success begins to involve the more subtle increments of discipline, desire, and endurance. Now is the time when I have to look inward to embrace my devotion to the project while I look out and seek others that can help me toward the end.
I am about one third of the way toward the final monument. I have proven to myself and others that this is more than just a good excuse to get out and ride for a few days. The hobby became an obsession long ago; and now it has reached the point where it can be described as an epic quest, a stubborn desire to accomplish an enormous task. This is my ascent of Mount Everest and I can’t do it without the help of others willing to shoulder some of the burden.
The areas of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas that I have been trying to reach for the last three months are still experiencing severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and flooding. I had hoped to take advantage of the average temperatures of early spring to visit those areas comfortably and then follow the usual line of warm weather into the plains states and upper Midwest. Mother Nature isn’t a fan of obsessive planning, so I will head out this Thursday for a couple of weeks in the hopes that I can at least finish, Tennessee, Georgia, and most of Alabama before I run out of money for food and fuel.
Budget is becoming the largest obstacle to me now. It is even more of a concern than my health problems. Thankfully I recently got a big boost from Dunlop Motorcycle Tires. I am constantly reaching out to potential sponsors, but the success rate is painfully short of filling the need. The current low price of gasoline is helping a lot. I can remain on the road for a week for about $60 at this rate. The big obstacle is foul weather lodging. Spending one or two hundred dollars a week to keep me dry and safe just can’t be done on a limited budget. If you know of somebody along the way that is motorcycle friendly and is willing to offer a shower and place to sleep for a night – put them in touch, I need their help.
Shipmate Dick Keyes gave me an Ipad last month so that I could keep in touch with everybody by email and make short posts to this journal. That should help a lot. I am expecting delivery of a used laptop from Verwayne Greenhoe by Thursday. The laptop will allow me to write and post full articles while on the road, and I might even be able to put together some video. Both devices are appreciated, and thanks to you fellas.
Remember, if you are a rider and want to come along on a leg or two, or even a few days - just send me a note or give me a call. I am working on getting embroidered patches, as soon as they are in hand I will start sending them out.
See you on the road !