Re-learning to ride a bike during cancer is almost like riding a bike.

Full disclosure is that I haven’t spent much time on a bike since 1992 when I was about 15 and a pack of semi-feral dogs were chasing me at breakneck speed down Lennoxville Road out by our old house in Beaufort and one particularly speedy, snarly one nipped me on the butt outside the fish factory and the whole time overcooked fish parts from the factory smoke stack were raining down on me and I thought I’m kind of over this.

Full FULL disclosure is that I did get back on a bike in 2009 at a lovely resort near Charleston, SC, when I was quite pregnant with Benny and recovering from a stomach bug and that was not pretty.

Anyway, desperate times. I’ve decided I’m done with feeling half-dead. And sometimes walking is boring, and all the fitness-obsessed beautiful people at the gym make me feel like an out-of-shape deformed freako.

And one more thing I’ve spirited from my mom’s possessions is her almost entirely unused bike. My dad tuned it all up for me, and it is bright blue and made out of something really light weight and fits me really nicely (unlike her Tevas).

So, I’m re-learning to ride a bike.

Full full FULL disclosure: I’m back on the ‘roids. That can’t have anything to do with this, right?

I took the bike out for the third time today, and it turns out it’s SUPER fun—especially cruising down Mendenhall Street all crazy and non-breaking!—but biking is somewhat different from what I remember. A little swervier, a little more terrifying, more bugs flying into my mouth, and the hills are a little hillier and the cars are—well—faster and more mechanical seeming.

Really, truly, I’m only 38 years old! But something has made me feel a lot older lately. I guess that’s what I’m trying to get past.

On my way up the last hill today I passed an acquaintance/neighbor walking his dog who stared blankly at me and my bright red face after I said, “Hey! How are you?” until I gulped, “Nina! Mendenhall Street! Breast cancer!” Why did I say that last part?!

Anyway, that made it click. “Oh hi,” he said, “Are you okay?”

First of all—HA. YES. TOTALLY.

Second of all, I DON’T KNOW! I really wish there was someone else we could ask for the answer to that!

Yesterday I had my third chemo treatment of this round. It went completely fine, but it’s never really the going in that’s the problem. This time I don’t have to do the yucky bone-achy flu-y Neulasta shot because it turns out last time it worked too well and made my white blood cells go into psycho-turbo mode and crowd out the rest of my blood cells and that’s what ended me up in the ER all short of breath.

So, the Queen has decreed that we are going to skip that this time. We are just going to avoid all germs and germ-likely scenarios and watch like Cerberus for neutropenic fevers.

Speaking of Cerberus, no vicious, blood-hungry hounds on this bike ride. Just a passel of ridiculously cute puppies that we may or may not have stopped to pet on the way home from chemo yesterday. Therapy.

More therapy: a truly wonderful, love-filled family wedding (yay Tristan and Sarah!!) up in Massachusetts this past weekend (WITHOUT KIDS: Melissa and Adam, I am your servant for life!) during which I felt miraculously well and danced for hours in heels and got to walk with cousins and family in Concord’s Estabrook Woods, the loveliest woods of my childhood, and even stand in the garden of the little brick house where we lived on the edge of those woods and be flooded with 450,000 memories—the worst of which was sticking my head in the grape arbor and being stung by a whole nest of yellow jackets and the funniest of which was watching my mom jump around and scream like a crazy person after getting her ankle entangled with a garter snake in the vegetable garden and the most-“me” of which was remembering lying in my bed on the night before I started kindergarten worrying that the house would burn to the ground and I would never get to be a kindergartener and the most surprising of which was sleeping on blankets on the floor by the backdoor because my room in the attic was being remodeled and waking up to a drift of snow on top of me from a blizzard that had blown the door open in the night and scurrying into bed between my mom and dad to get warm and the most fun of which was learning to ride a bike with my cousins on the dirt road in the field between their house and ours.

This month—two funerals and a wedding, three chemo doses, some puppies, a bike. Full full full FULL disclosure: Maybe I’m not half-dead after all.

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