Monday, December 10, 2007
Motorcycles, Medical Problems and Christmas
I've always worn a full face helmet when riding my motorcycle. Of course, living in New Jersey kinda forces you to have this mindset since it's the law here. The only time it gets to me is when I have medical conditions that don't allow me to put the helmet on in the first place.
The first time that happened was when I had a basal cell carcinoma on my right ear that required mohs surgery to remove it. That was a major deal for me that took months to heal. I had to forego riding all that time.
Now, I found out that I have two more basal cell carcinomas, one on my forehead and one behind my left ear. All this occurring during the prime Polar Bear Grand Tour riding season. I happen to run their Web site and I go to all the runs to take pictures for the site. Needless to say, I will probably go another two months without being able to put the helmet on again. Worse than that is that the healing of the one on my forehead is slow with a big black scab that is quite unsightly in public. And, of course, I have so many functions to go to and I have no way to hide the healing. I'm either embarrassed when people see me or find myself constantly trying to explain the medical problems. I seem to be cursed to have all these maladies so prominent on my head and also unable to hide them with a helmet or even to ride my trike. I guess all those years toiling in the sun while I worked in the corn fields nearly 50 years ago have finally come back to haunt me.
Now I find out that after the surgery on the left ear that the pathologist's final report indicates that they may not have got all of it and I have to undergo radiation -- perhaps as many as 20 visits. Turns out that one of the members of my Gold Wing chapter heads a team at my hospital that does the treatments. At least I have someone in my corner.
All this is going on right now but still the Polar Bear pictures have to be taken and I need to be at the runs. I do have a couple of backups who can take pictures and they have come in handy in the past. But, I like to go to the runs as much as I can. This week the run was to Snydersville, PA to Schoch's Harley-Davidson and I was determined to go.
Turns out that many family events were also going on this weekend. On Saturday, we drove to our son's home for a combined birthday party and tree trimming party. I heard that there would be about 10 little kids there to celebrate the second birthday of my granddaughter. I think it was actually closer to 20 kids. After that we drove farther north to my other son's home where we ended up babysitting for the other five of our grandchildren (all under 10) and then staying overnight. The next day, we had breakfast, said our good-byes to all the kids and grand kids and headed down route 80 to Snydersville, PA for the Polar Bear run.
It was a day that was overcast, cold, and threatening rain or snow. We were in the car so we didn't much care. When we arrived, there was a smattering of bikes in the parking lot. As I walked around the parking lot with my camera, I didn't notice as many bikes coming in. Apparently, the threat of bad weather had reduced the attendance. Maybe we got 100 bikes. Normal would have been 400-500. Anyway, I did get some pictures and three videos. Check out the Polar Bear Grand Tour - Schoch's Harley-Davidson/Buell Run for pictures and captions.
After the run, we drove home and had a couple of hours of free time before we had to attend our Gold Wing Chapter's Holiday party. It was fun as usual but I did have the usual set of medical questions. At least I was with friends. I spoke with the member who heads the radiation team at the hospital and he offered me his personal help. That was very comforting and appreciated.
I also had to part company with my 1994 Chrysler today. It's been sitting in my driveway most of the time for the last two years since I bought my new Honda Accord. It was time to use it as a donation to one of my favorite charities, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I had arranged with JDRF.org for the auto donation and the big flatbed arrived this afternoon to cart it away. The end of an era. Getting to be too many of those recently. At least I won't have to worry about hitting it every time I back my car out and I also won't have to move it so I can get my motorcycle trikes out of the garage.
I guess I'm a rambling man today but that's what's been happening. The calendar is almost completely filled with events for the next month. My wife is having physical therapy while I'm going to be busy with radiation treatments. Christmas is coming and I haven't been out doing much shopping or even leaf raking. I was told that retirement meant I would be busier than when I was working. I'm getting that in spades.