It has been 6 weeks since the Pericarditis diagnosis and the only thing that I’m really good at right now is sleeping. I have completely mastered the art of napping. I am also getting a bit better at meditation, but often I end up falling asleep, so basically, I’m really only good at sleeping right now.
The ultrasound on my heart a few weeks ago was normal, so after close to 1 month of total inactivity except for short walks, I got the green light to slowly begin exercising even if I still am in no way back to normal and regularly experience symptoms such as a certain tightness in my chest. So I am now reacquainting myself with the pure simplicity of the solo bike ride with no agenda, no speed, and no timeframe. As soon as my feet click into the pedals, the bike disappears and the only goal is enjoying nature from the absolute best seat in the house. I stop and sit on a bench along the gravel trail when I feel like stopping and don’t ride on days when I don’t feel like riding. It feels very new even if it is more of the same.
As westerners, we have a very unhealthy relationship with death and loss. It is quite normal for North Americans to fear death even though we know it is imminent, a sure thing. It is also quite normal for North Americans to act as if we’re never going to die. Talking about death is taboo since it makes us very uncomfortable and we are completely devastated when it eventually happens. Dying is as natural as being born, but our perception of it makes us resist and fear it more than anything else.
Living as the seemingly immortal “Mike the cyclist and bike racer” for so long, like a typical westerner, I too am struggling with his untimely death. I am having a hard time mourning the loss and letting go of this part of my ego. I miss being fit. I miss my strong legs and body. I miss the thrill of riding fast. I miss the long rides. I miss the feeling of riding effortlessly. I miss riding with my old riding buddies. But now, “Mike the cyclist and bike racer version 1.0” needs to be thanked, remembered and released in order to make room for “Mike the cyclist version 2.0”. I’m not really sure what features this new version will end up with or when it’ll be ready and that right now seems to be the hardest part. Version 2.0 will need to have absolutely nothing to prove in order to be sustainable. I’m also hoping that there will be a racing feature with version 2.0, but who knows? Some days I am fine with not knowing, other days I find myself desperately still holding onto version 1.0. The internal work of letting go in order to allow healing and growth has been by far the most difficult part of my recovery.
The one thing that I absolutely know for sure is that this Pericarditis diagnosis had to happen. It wasn’t just a fluke. It had to happen in order for me to begin fully accepting and letting go of Adele’s Type 1 Diabetes. For me, there was really no other way. The obsessive, micro-management, attention to detail approach that I have been using to accomplish all things in my life naturally poured over into Adele’s Diabetes management. It’s what I had learned and knew when I vowed to do every single thing in my control to keep her healthy and protect her as a baby and child, but now it has to end if I am to survive. I’ve known this for a long while, but I was simply too tired to do it on my own, so my body intervened. It was the only way that I knew how to play the Type 1 game, to fight it with everything that I had, even if the final outcome would certainly affect my health. And to be honest, I’d do it again if I had to. I have absolutely no regrets.
On Saturday, September 12th of this year, I will once again be riding in support of JDRF research for Type 1 Diabetes cures and treatments. At this point, I’m really not sure how far or how fast I will be riding, but I will be riding. Please support me if you can…