Thursday, October 2, 2014

Cancer Ain't Gonna Cramp My Style.

Last post:                                     My Story:                                         Next One: I did it!

Anyone who's had a cramp before knows how painful they are. 

Well... I've been getting one every day for the past 6 months.

It doesn't just get me when I exercise though, it happens when I'm resting, when I'm driving... even while I'm sleeping. 
Needless to say, I haven't had great sleep for a while...

It can happen anywhere too. In my hands, making it painful to write. To my back, making sitting down comfortably an impossibility. To my chest, making me wonder for five minutes if I'm having a heart attack, my forearms, my abs; even my neck, making it hard to even breathe!

But the worst one is when it happens to my calves and shins at the same time, making the only thing that relieves them, stretching, impossible. 

And when that happens, I'm stuck there, screaming for it to stop (sometimes in my head, often out loud), literally wishing for my limbs to be torn off or amputated; anything to get out of it!

My doctors don't know why it's happening. Maybe it's due to low electrolytes... but the blood tests say they're normal, and supplementation hasn't worked. Maybe it's due to the steroids. Can't be that either; I'd been on or near 0 milligrams for most of those months.  Maybe it's 'cause I'm exercising too much. But it happens on days I don't exercise too!

Chalk it up to graft versus host disease, the remnants of my donor's bone marrows immune attack on my body, then... the usual thing they say when they don't have answers for it. 
If it is that... it may affect me my whole life...

I've tried everything to stop them. I've been taking magnesium, potassium, vitamin supplements. I stretch every day, and drink at least 4 litres of water. I juice, I'm on high salt diets - I've tried everything. And they STILL go on. 

... So naturally, I decided to do a 200km bike ride.

Well, to be fair... I didn't know they'd be going on this long when I signed up for it. But that doesn't really solve my situation does it?

I make sure I'm hydrated and fuelled and I drink the highest electrolyte-containing sports drink possible but still they happen. Again, everywhere. And nothing is more scary than getting a cramp when you're at 60km/h on a downhill slope (that's about to turn sharply) and your feet are clipped in; unable to leave the pedals.

And yet I'm still gonna do it.

Why? 'Cause I'm sick of cancer taking so much away from me and so many others. I don't wanna feel held back by it all, I don't wanna see another stream of Facebook tributes for a person I'd met and helped through this blog and I don't wanna see another child lose their childhood to the disease.

It ain't easy... But every time I hit a hill and my legs feel like they have nothing left to give, I think about the 4 lives I've changed through what I've raised already... I think about the people who've put hours, sometimes years of their lives towards saving me, and the hundreds of you who read this blog regularly and I know I've got heaps of people behind me in my quest to help others. And I think of the poor souls I've known personally who've lost their lives to this... and of how this will stop others from feeling their pain and loss. 

And every time I do that,I know I'm not alone on my ride. I grit my teeth and feel a rush of energy surge through me and I can nearly feel the cramps disappear for a few minutes... 

And that hill becomes that much easier. 

My 200km Ride to Conquer Cancer is in 9 days now. Help make it become that much easier for me! Donate to my ride, and the Chris O' Brian Lifehouse Foundation (helping cancer patients, and funding cancer research) here: 

(It's my dad's page but we're riding as a team and I've already reached my goal. His message is pretty damn awesome so make sure you read it too!)

Me today, after 45 minutes of biking at a sprint... It's gonna be a LONG ride next week haha.

Update: I've conquered it! I've done the 200km ride! Despite all adversity! 
Here's the post for it!
My speech for it - and my YouTube Channel:

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