Two years ago I signed up for the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC)–a 192 mile bike ride from Sturbridge to Provincetown that raises money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and The Jimmy Fund. My training was going really well and I was feeling strong. I even had bought Dave a road bike or his birthday so that I could force him to go on rides with me. We really enjoyed getting up early and heading out on the road before most others were out there.
The only issue with my training was that after my long rides, I always felt really sick. The summer of training was one that it was really hot out, so I thought maybe I was dehydrated. After running the Finish at the 50 and feeling sick for 4 days straight, I finally hired a nutritionist to help me but she said I was doing everything right. I began to think it was a gluten allergy or something else so tried to be careful about what I was eating.
Things seemed to be okay but then the weekend before the race, I felt the worst. I often could go to bed early and lay in fetal position and eventually fall asleep. This time it was different, the pain was really unbearable. Dave brought me to the ER at 3 am which was not enjoyable. Every bump and turn made me scream because the pain was so unbearable. To make a long story short, after many scans and tests, they determined they had to do an emergency surgery. I had a volvulus (twisted intestine). If they didn’t operate then, I might have to lose my entire intestine! [Read more about my surgery here.]
I obviously had to skip the ride since it was the following weekend. I would be lying if I didn’t cry as I saw my team’s updates as they were flying through each of the checkpoints at the PMC and saying how great of an experience they had. I tried to remember that I was lucky that I had the surgery the weekend before the race near home versus being on the course amongst a crazy crowd. And I had done my the most important thing–help raise money to fight cancer.
I was debating signing up for the ride the next year, but I was just really burnt out from all the training and fundraising I had done then having to recover from my surgery the year before. I also had all the stress from studying for my Professional Engineering exam which I thankfully passed!
But this year I am ready. I signed up for the PMC and joined my former employer’s team. It is their 10th year riding in the PMC and I’m really thankful to be able to be a part of their team even though I’m not working for them anymore.
Last year I was taking fun pictures to thank everyone who donated for me. This year, I think it may involve some baked goods as a thank you! 🙂
Please visit my fundraising page to donate! Every little bit counts! Even if it is $10! Or you can get creative like my one friend who donated $26.2!