From Canyons to Deserts

Today started wet and cold from the rain we got overnight in the campground, but it turned into a beautiful sunny day.  After packing up our tents and eating a quick breakfast, we headed to the campground entrance for sun and the ride dedication.  We were able to dedicate today’s ride to Matt Soltys’s grandmother who recently pasted and was a cancer survivor.

The ride out of the canyon continued to be beautiful and as we descended, the weather quickly got hotter!  We started on a gravel road which, while challenging, was beautiful and a test of our bike handling skills. While on the road, we were able to see the landscape change throughout the day, going from mountainous canyons, to red rock, and finally a more desert-like climate.

Last night, while setting up camp, we met a fellow camper, Michael Adams. Mike was diagnosed with multiple myeloma two years ago after undergoing a bone marrow biopsy. He went through chemo and an autologous stem cell transplant and went into remission. Unfortunately, the cancer returned again last fall. “Once I was told that I was in complete remission and that there was no detectable cancer, it seemed like it was reasonable for me to assume I’d have five to seven years; that’s pretty common after a transplant. But ultimately, it did return.” Mike went through three types of chemo, including the IV treatment reserved as a last-ditch effort. “I really thought that was it. They had tried everything and it wasn’t working. I was told at one point that my chances of being alive in a year were one in three. I was told that I’d probably be dead in three months. I was told a number of things.” Thankfully, a new drug was introduced to the market, and it has worked miraculously. Mike is scheduled for another autologous stem cell transplant and a donor transplant later this year, which has the potential to cure him.

As a closing remark, Mike talked to us about how he dealt with the diagnosis. “There is no way that cancer can’t affect you. There are places that I won’t let myself go. I won’t go down certain roads and go through certain doors because it would be too depressing. I just made a decision that I will live my life as fully as I can live it. I owe that to myself and I owe that to my family, to live my life as well as I can for whatever time I have. I mean, I could be around for another twenty years—that’s perfectly possible. Or, I could be dead by the end of the year. Everybody faces that; everybody, theoretically, could go out and get hit by a car, but cancer puts it right up in your face that it’s there in a way that nothing else does. You could be dead at any time. So I am grateful every day that I can get up and feel good.”

A special thanks you to the Greybull Recreation District for hosting us tonight.

 

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