Posted by: Henry J | August 7, 2011

Carcinoma, surgery and cycling

I can’t believe so much time has passed since I last posted to my blog. Much has happened since, some good, some bad. Looking back on my training log, I see a gap of inactivity from March 15 until April 3. On March 17, I had a basal cell carcinoma surgically removed from my upper face (the side of my head.) This was my first personal experience with either cancer or surgery.

Since I am very fair-skinned and have spent much of my life basking in the warmth of the sun, I always suspected that I would be affected by skin cancer if I lived long enough. I never thought it would appear in the 50th year of my life. Maybe the hole in the ozone layer was more important than it seemed at the time.

Surgery, even though minor, was far worse than I ever imagined. I don’t understand how people with major surgeries survive and recover. Due partially to the insanity of our medical care system, I lucked into having one of the world’s best surgical dermatologists perform the surgery. He and his staff were wonderful and couldn’t have done a better job. The recovery was the hard part!

He had a tough time in surgery due to my very thin blood and very high blood pressure, but he was so good that he took it all in stride. My recovery wasn’t very painful, but I didn’t feel well at all for at least six weeks. I was back on my bike on April 3.

I decided that considering my cycling goals and my severely high blood pressure that I had to get serious about losing some more weight. In the last four months, I have lost twenty pounds and four inches from my abdomen. I am approximately 80 pounds below my peak weight and weigh about the same as I did when I was 25. Thanks to the help of my family physician, my blood pressure is now normal. I still have 20-30 pounds to go to be at a healthy weight, but I’m well on my way!

I’ve enjoyed riding since April 3. Yesterday’s ride was exciting. I traveled 44 miles in 3 hours and 17 minutes with 5,000 feet of climbing including two challenging mountains. I’m so blessed to be able to ride like this at my age. The old cliché is that you take your health for granted until you don’t have it. I’m trying not to do that. I’m living my health every day and with every ride!



  1. Henry, it’s 2012 and you havenot posted this year at all. Are you still around? ND from VFL

    • Hi NeelieDeer. I miss VFL. I intend to begin posting again soon. I have some good ideas to write about and many life events to share. Thanks for checking back. I hope you keep reading.

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