bikes and wine 024

‘I can’t believe anyone who looks as healthy as a trout, as you do, is going to die anytime soon’ my new love exclaimed on hearing my news. Opening the bottle of Chateauneuf Du Pap he added ‘you’re like a sort of alkazeltser’

I think it might be a good idea to tell you something about the sequence of events that followed the purchasing of the yellow bike.

It might give you some inkling as to why it became such an important part of my life.

Cycling the yellow bike had a different sort of ‘sit’ to it. You sat upright but with a slight reclining posture, so comfortable that if you didn’t constantly remind yourself to sit upright, you’d slouch. It was a bit like cycling in your favourite chair.

So, when I noticed a lump in my right groin, I presumed I was developing some sort of hernia from this unfamiliar cycling position.

I ignored this bump initially, so happy was I to whizz along by the coast, stopping off for a swim at Sandycove and bumping into colourful characters who, I am happy to say, admired my bike as much as I did.

alfresco coffee 012

‘ what a beauty’ exclaimed the old couple on the wall ‘and look we match’

Yes, how happy I was, or would be, once this lump was gone…maybe tomorrow would be a ‘non lumpy’ day? and I and the yellow bike could get on with our life together.

But no, ‘tomorrow’ the lump had got bigger.

I bit the bullet and went to the Doctor.

‘If your lucky it could be a lymphoma…some chemo and you’ll be as right as rain’…he smiled. ‘We’ll do a biopsy, come back in a week for the results. Don’t go cycling straight after that biopsy’ he warned.

I ignored him and hopped on my bike, bandage and all.

A week later I’m late for my appointment…shooting across the road in front of a car, I hit the kerb and over I go. The driver pulls over and gets out to help me…’I’m fine , I’m sorry’ I say to her pale face…’it was my fault, I’m late for an appointment’ …

With that,I start to cry…’I think I have cancer’ I snivel.

She looks at me ‘well!  If you have cancer I don’t think that being late for your appointment is a priority …She was right.

In the ‘rooms’ I’m staring at my consultant ,my mouth hanging open.

A metastatic malignant melanoma!

He looks back at me nervously.

‘But what about my new yellow bike’ I cry ‘and my new man’? I add as an afterthought…’He’s bound to run’

‘He won’t if he has any sense.’ was the answer. I think he was very relieved that I hadn’t thrown myself on the floor crying and screaming in despair.

‘You’ll have to have a PET scan to see how far it has spread…then if not too bad We’ll do surgery (a groin dissection) and then consider ‘interferon treatment’ for a year.

Now dear reader I don’t wish to bore you with what followed over the next while, suffice to say that, as I cycled sadly home , my heart broken, My life as I knew it, over!I noticed, through my tears, blue butterflies on the bushes at Booterstown.

And further along I noticed a crowd of people down at Seapoint, staring out to sea .

A large pod of dolphins were swimming into the bay.

I cycled to the shore to watch. Splashing and leaping right out of the water, they began swim in wide circles .

An R T E camera man arrived and set up his camera near me. ‘This is incredible’ he remarked. ‘April is far too early for them to be in the bay’

An elderly man joined us. ‘I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never seen them this early’ He turned to me and smiled ‘They are a sign of Healing you know’

At that moment I knew I would survive. I got back on my bike and with one foot on the pedal and the other foot giving token shoves(it had now become quite painful) I cycled home on the yellow bike.

steph and bike dunlaoire 002

Who would have thought that a few days after this photo was taken my life would change for ever and my bright cheerful yellow bike would be a major part in helping me on my road to recovery(along with a few other important people)