I'm coming up on three months since the amputation this week. Things generally get a little easier and i'm a little more mobile each day. I shrunk out of my first socket (the part of the prosthesis that my residual leg sits in) in about three weeks, so Joe fit me for a new one last week. You can see in the pic below how much extra sock padding i had to wear to keep the socket fitting snug.
So now i'm on my second socket, and i got a new foot which is a little more heavy duty. It's a bit better for walking, but actually not as good for cycling. The design of this foot is a little different, which causes the cleat on the cycling shoe to be positioned further forward in relation to the juncture of the foot and the socket, and this creates a bad angle for maintaining a good, circular pedal stroke. It's most evident when i get out of the saddle to pedal and really have to get over the top of the pedals, even forward a little, to avoid having an awkward transition over TDC. I'm hopefully meeting with some guys from emotis this week, however, to work on some custom road and mountain bike feet. That will hopefully also help with the clipping in/clipping out situation, as i still can't unclip at all with my road shoe, and have just now managed to clip out on the go with my mtb shoe, but only if i really concentrate and crank down on the foot.
Yesterday i rode Emigration Canyon to the top of Little Mountain from my house. This was my longest ride so far since the amputation (3 hrs.) and i was beat by the time i got home. This was probably also due to the 30 mph headwinds i had from the mouth of the canyon back to my house. It was also the first climbing of any sort of done since the amputation (although Emigration is a pretty moderate climb). I decided to try to TT from the bottom to the top just to give myself a benchmark, though it wasn't really a TT since my HR wasn't pegged at my LT, but it was the best effort i could muster given my current state of conditioning. The ride took me 39:50. Not that great, but i guess not too bad for losing my leg three months ago.
Next week i got back to see Doc Jones for my first post-surgery CT scans. Actually he took some CT scans of my leg before i got the prosthesis to make sure the bone graft was healing up correctly, but this will be the first CT scans specifically to check for any more signs of tumors in my lungs and lymphatic system. Although i'm hopeful that we got everything when we cut my foot off, i'm still a bit apprehensive, as i'm sure you can imagine, but here's hoping for the best.
I've also set a specific date for my goal to do a cyclocross race before the end of the season: Nov. 27. This is Thanksgiving weekend, but, to add to the significance, will also coincide with the "Cross out Cancer" Cyclocross weekend. Cross out Cancer is being organized by David O'Leary and Matt Ohran. Matt is the Utah Cyclocross series promoter and David O'Leary is the father of Connor O'Leary, a young and talented cyclist now fighting testicular cancer. This story is a little dated, but you can read about Connor here. After David approached Matt about putting together a fundraiser, Matt asked me if i was interested as well, and of course i said yes. Regardless of whether Lance doped or not (and i'm not saying he did, just saying "even if"), he beat cancer and the LAF has grown to be one of the biggest fundraisers and advocacy groups in the fight against cancer.
My family has faced cancer twice. Just over ten years ago my sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She's had two major surgeries to remove the tumor, and underwent chemotherapy as well. She is doing well now, but the danger that it could grow back is always present. And now i've also faced the DB and SDB trying to take over my body, but hopefully we routed their efforts before they could get much of a hold. I'm amazed, as others have shared their stories with me, how many lives cancer touches. Like David O'Leary said to me the other day, if cancer hasn't touched the life of someone very close to you, it will. Often we only hear the tragic stories of those who are diagnosed with an aggressive cancer that quickly takes a life. But i've been consistently impressed with the stories of so many cancer survivors who i've met in the last few months, my sister included, who have prevailed. Cancer is a piece of shit disease, it kills and maims, but i am grateful for the community of cancer survivors and those continuing their battle with whom i am becoming acquainted. These are truly amazing and courageous people making the best of their lives despite cancer's best plans to sabotage them. And i'm truly grateful for the amazing medical personnel at the Huntsman Center who continue to serve me and so many others with professionalism, humanity, and a depth of knowledge and experience.
But i digress, as i was saying, Nov. 27 at Wheeler Farm will be the Cross out Cancer fundraiser to benefit the LAF Livestrong Foundation. The event will include a silent auction in the barn at Wheeler, and then at 12:20, an abbreviated CX bike race with a suggested donation of $15. So bring the family, wear yellow, and come ride your bike to help fight cancer. If you haven't ever tried Cyclocross, this will be a great, non-race, easy ride opportunity to give it a try, as well. If you don't have a bike, well, come out and cheer. Mama Glenn even has a megaphone she'll probably let you borrow, as long as she's not yelling at "Rocky Sweet Pea" to pick up the pace.
And after the fundraiser ride, i hope to race the men's 35+C division for my first race back from cancer. Hope to see you there!!