Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fuck Leukemia

Four years & three months, he has been fighting. He'll beat it & then just after his life gets somewhat normal again, it comes back. Even after a stem cell transplant, it keeps coming back. Several times now, he was teetering on the edge, one thin line from death & somehow he come back. The leukemia has been beaten 4 times & now looks like it's making it's 5th appearance.

32, looking 80, so goddam thin, my super, healthy athlete, so frail & fragile. He sits in the chair in his hospital room, shivering, legs twitching, coughing from pheumonia. No immune system to fight, dependent on all the antibiotics they are pumping into him. They need to give him more chemo, but his body cannot handle it. Now all they can do is blood & platelet transfusions.  Neupogen shots in the stomach, antibiotics in an IV drip.  Protein drinks, because he has zero appetite.

I want to ask, is he dying, but I don't. I don't want to know. He has always been strong & fit, he has lived his life as healthy as possible, athletics, eating nothing but healthy food, Working out, running, playing basketball for hours at a time. Now he can't walk to the bathroom two feet away.

Since the first day of learning he had Leukemia, he has amazed the doctors. Times he should have been dead, he was a walking miracle. The cancer & chemo would have killed most people several times over, but he kicked ass every fucking time. The Boy Wonder, as his doctors called him. A hot topic in medical journals & conferences. So many wanted to study his case, use him as a new protocol. Now he has nothing left. His body cannot handle anymore & we don't know how long his stubbornness & strong mind will be able to last.

Four years & three months, he has been in the hospital more then he has been home.  Bouncing between ICU, Cardiology & Oncology, watching other patients come & go. They move him to a different room now & then, just to give him a different view.  We know every Oncology nurse by name, we know the floor plan better then some that work there. We joke, they should name a wing after him.  Christmas & birthdays, celebrated in his hospital room. Will we make it to his next birthday? Will we get to wish him a happy 33rd? It's a month & a half away, will he make it till then?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Life is fragile

Stopped by the memorial for the Fallen Four today. As I'm reading the plaque, I start bawling like a baby, all of a sudden three fellow bikers were hugging me. I didn't even hear them ride up. So many memories hit me, this happened the same day they confirmed Wayne had Leukemia, something that devestated us all that day & have changed our lives forever. As we were waiting for results, I received several text messages from people checking to see if we were in the crash, not knowing where we were. My fears for my son & if I knew anyone on those bikes.

The reports of 10 bikers hit/ran over from behind by a dumb truck. Seeing the images on the tv, the burned area of pavement, a lone boot in the middle of the road. The Walgreens employees who offered comfort & aid the best they could. The crumbled piles of chrome & steel. The meth head responsible was aquited on the first trial, but was found guilty the second trial & is now serving I think 20 years.

I've seen Ernie so many times after this, he is walking & riding a trike, but struggling to speak correctly, seeing his body twisted from being so broken. But alive & riding again.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Screaming in the wind

Couple weeks ago, went on a ride to benefit a local food bank. Close to 500 miles, a great route with less traffic.

But for over 100 miles, with temps in the low 40's, we were hit with massive wind gusts. It's scary to see a Road King in front of you wobble & wibble. I gripped my bike with my thighs, using my entire body to keep the bike upright & even leaning toward the wind.

The cold coming right through the leather, my fingertips numb & frozen to the grips. With each wind gust that could knock over a semi, I screamed probably every curse word I knew.

We stopped for gas, it was hard to get off the bike, I was so stiff from tense muscles & from being so fucking cold, I'm a lizzard rat, I wear a sweater when it's 70.

20 of us raiding the gas station for all the hot coffee they had. I'm sure we were a sight, most had face warmers, ski masks or scarves wrapped around our lower faces.

Full tanks, empty bladders & slightly warmed by the coffee, we all took a deep breath before heading out into the cold wind again, not sure when the wind would stop, knowing we had 100 miles till the next town.

Sure enough, that fucking wind was relentless, blowing us all over the highway.  Still screaming every curse word I knew & starting to wonder if the others were too.  But I did manage to notice the desert starting to wake from winter, wild flowers starting to bloom, the mesas & hills covered in green.

Pulling into the next stop, still stiff & frozen, fearing I was too stiff to put the kickstand down, but I was able to park it safely. Once again raiding the gas station for coffee & so happy to see an A & W inside. We all ordered lunch & more coffee, I wondered over near the cash register & bought a large pair of fleece gloves to go over my leather ones.

The wind had died down & rejuvinated, we headed out again. Enjoying the ride now, jamming to the music from the earphones plugged into my i-pod. Riding, riding, riding. Heading back down into the valley. & Then starting to warm up & then getting hot dressed in the leathers, two layers of gloves & scarf. Finally a signal to turn into a parking lot, we instantly started shedding layers.

Riding to the last stop, now in just jeans, t-shirt & vest. Going past the memorial for the Fallen Four, I gave them a wave & touched my heart.

The tripometer said 497.5. I do confess, I was so stiff & sore the next day, Papa Bear laughing at me, teasing about when he leaves me stiff & sore.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Riding home

Growing up riding dirt bikes, the desert was an open opportunity to ride what felt like everywhere. As I got a little older, big enough to ride my dad's dirt bike, I started riding on some of the back roads & a couple times to a friends house. Part of my rebelion side, against the law, against my parents rules. Then I discovered boys with legal street bikes & dated a couple before meeting hubby on his bike.

30+ years I rode on the back, all along thinking about riding my own, but always doubted I could handle the weight of a Harley or the crazy big city traffic on a bike.

Then one day was fuck it, I am doing this. I'm riding my own.

Here I am a couple years later, not as many miles as I hoped, but more miles then I had once thought I would never do.

My high school reunion was a month back, I had already made it clear I am riding home, over 300 miles each way by myself. I've riden by myself  hundreds of times, but never that distance, through mountains alone. Hubby was saying "do what you gotta' do" kids were insisting I call them the second I get there.

My parents still lived in the house they bought when I was 4, I have done the drive home countless times in a car or truck, so many times, I could do it with my eyes closed. I know I can haul ass throught the reservation, I know the curves on the road going through the mountain, the tunnel that was featured in a movie & the two bridges.

I start looking for the mountain peak that signifies home, it starts out so far away it's hazy, soon it gets clearer & the clearer it gets, the more I know I am closer. Our house is at the base of this mountain, clear view from the back porch.

Riding into my hometown, riding on Main Street to the highway up to the house, not riding up the long driveway because it is still gravel, but parking by the mail box instead. I'm home, but I'm not really. This is my growing up home, the house I own with hubby is my real home.

A couple people I went to school with was not surprised to see me pull up on my beautiful light blue Harley. Those that knew me back then, knew how I would turn out. Those that never cared to get to know me the 11 years we went to school, were shocked & some didn't recognize me. I did show up wearing my full leathers & my vest with my chapter patch.

I rode a few of those back roads from so long ago. Commenting to my dad how cool it was to finally legally ride those roads.  He asked what did I mean & I said oh, nothing.

I took the ride back a little slower, taking my time.  I didn't want to let this ride to end.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Holy shit, it has been a while

A long while.

Been on so many great rides, with others and by myself.

My first long ride was to San Diego. It was for officer training for the club I belong to. Officers from chapters from all over the US, a few from Canada and one from Germany.

Met up with the other officers in my chapter and another chapter, it was pretty damn chilly that early morning, duffle bag held on with a bungie cord on the back of the bike. Me dressed head to toe in leathers. We all checked with each other to see who had the smallest tank, mapped out gas & piss stops. And we were off. Along the way, we picked up 5 more officers from three other chapters. 18 bikes, 5 chapters of the same club, rolling thunder.

Cruising on a highway with just your brothers & sisters is a very cool thing. Waving to kids looking at you from their windows, seeing them smile & wave back, hoping they will be inspired to live their dreams some day.

Every now & than, one of my brothers will pull up next to me, with a thumbs up and a nod. Nearing the mountains in California, we all pulled over & talked about the strong winds we will be facing.  They weren't kidding, the strong gusts were bad enough, but slowly being pushed to the side of a steep cliff could be a pants shitter. .

We made it into San Diego at the start of rush hour, holy shit 8 freeway lanes of cars darting every which way. One of the road captains sensed my hesitance to change lanes, pulled up next to me and mouthed "I got your back".  And he did, my brother always. He would merge just behind me, so I could get over, everytime we changed a lane.

Riding up to that hotel, seeing so many members everywhere, 700 bikers invaded that hotel for three days.

I felt the opening to the training was a little too corporate, last time I went, they were blasting God Smack & one rode the new 48 through the hotel, up onto the stage. Another guy shooting t-shirts everywhere. That set the tone for the rest of the weekend, crazy, insane & a damn good time.

This time, as I said, too corporate, too many speaches, not enough rocking and rolling. But the networking & brainstorming with other officers from different chapters was great. There wasn't as high energy this time, but I did learn a lot and picked up a bunch of great ideas.

I was more prepared on the way home, was no longer intimidated by the crazy freeway drivers & knew what to expect and what to do when we went back through the mountains.

After getting back across the AZ border, we all started splitting up to head home. Eager to see Papa Bear, tell him about everything & share my "I did it" moment with him.

Now, whenever I am faced with an unknow or somewhat scary situation on my bike, I think, if you can do that ride to San Diego, you can do this.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fear sucks, screw it, let's ride!

So, I've been riding solo for about 2 months now. I bought a magnet that I keep on the bars to remind me that fear sucks. & Of course my bike had to have a butterfly. Saving my pennies for a custom paint job & louder pipes.

Not too long after I got the bike was an annual ride to the kids burn camp up in Prescott. In years past either I rode on the back with Papa Bear or chased in my truck. Dammit, I am riding my own bike this year.

The ride was the back way through Yarnel & up into the mountains into Prescott. Not sure of my skills, Papa Bear & a couple good friends agreed to ride that route with me a few days before.

At first, I was shaky & taking the steep mountain grades & curves too slow, Before I knew it, I was leaning into the turns without backing off the throttle.

Going back home down the mountain was a blast, I was leaning, down shifting like a pro. The best consumer reports on the 883 Superlow was the light & more balanced weight, how well it responds to curving & quick speeds. It was also mentioned that the design makes you feel like you are sitting in the bike, instead of on it. The reports are right. I wonder if there couldn't be a more perfect bike made for me.

The burn camp ride was a blast, I was riding with a very experienced group made up of mostly fire fighters. It was an absolute blast riding up the mountain with them, I gained quite a bit of more skills & really mentally connected with the bike.

Putting on the miles, several times to work now, more when the temp drops just a tad, a couple out of town rides & scootin' all over town.

Let's ride!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The bitch just passed you

When I was about 5, my dad brought home this little dirt bike. It had a two stroke Tecumseh engine & no gears to shift. Not sure if someone took a lawn mower engine & stuck it in a bike frame, or if it was actually manufactured. Didn't matter, I had a blast riding that. Grew up in the desert, so my riding range was limitless.

I graduated to a Honda 80 when I was maybe 8. & then was finally big enough to ride my dad's Honda 125. Then came boys with street bikes.

The first time I met hubby, he was on a bike. & I've been the bitch on the back ever since.

The first of this year, we went on a 300+ mile charity ride. On the way home, going about 80 down the freeway, I got a cramp in my leg. Hubby is yelling "Sit still" I'm yelling back, "I got a cramp" He yells, "We ain't stopping" & I then thought fuck this, I'm paying off my truck loan & getting my own goddam bike.

I did pay off my truck & took a beginner rider's course. Glad I did, the kids were just babies the last time I rode solo. As soon as I got on the bike at the course, I remembered everything. I passed & received a certificate to take to the MVD to get my motorcycle license without having to take the MVD riding test.

Last weekend, we drove over to the dealership & got fitted for a Sportster 883 Superlow. Beautiful powder baby blue paint job & am saving up for custom pin striping. I love that Harley realized that women ride too, & have come out with smaller & lighter bikes (& more expensive clothes).

if you can read this, the bitch just passed you