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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tour de Cure

This has been a tough winter for cycling. Rain, snow, slush, and yesterday more snow. That's the way it's been here in northern Idaho the past couple of winters. Just a day on the bike now and then - with enough layers and winter gear to still feel my fingers and toes by the end of the ride. My motivation is, to put it mildly, low.

But a couple of weeks ago, while visiting my diabetes counselor, I saw a poster for the Tour de Cure, scheduled for May 20. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 50,000 riders will be on their bikes to raise money and awareness for research toward a cure for diabetes. Now I had my motivation.

I became a Type 1 diabetic in summer 2010 after two years of trying to figure out what was going wrong with my pancreas. A pancreatic pseudocyst in 2008 that burst while being drained (followed by sepsis); a diagnosis of organized pancreatic necrosis from Virginia Mason Clinic in Seattle, accompanied by three drains and stents; and finally a full Whipple procedure in July 2010 after a series of blackouts from severe anemia and blood loss. Every now and then I run into someone who knows what a Whipple is, and congratulates me on being alive. During 8 hours on the operating table, my surgeon, Ed Detar, removed my spleen, pancreas and 2/3 of my stomach, and rerouted various vital organs. Instant diabetic. Fortunately, my years of cycling had given my heart and lungs the strength to survive the surgery, though Dr. Detar said he nearly lost me four times during the procedure.

I got back to cycling as soon as I could, riding the Centennial Trail east to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho and west toward Spokane, Washington, and hitting the winding, undulating back roads behind Liberty Lake, Washington. Though with a break to have a couple of bile duct stents removed to treat jaundice and early sepsis from bacterial backup into my blood system.

So, I now have a goal - the Tour de Cure. Part of the deal is helping to raise funds in support of the ADA. I've never liked asking people for money, but now I'm invested in diabetes. I posted information about the TdC on my Facebook page and e-mailed some folk in my contact list. To my surprise and delight, more than $850 has been contributed by my friends from New Jersey, Wyoming, Idaho, and Washington. Thanks, guys. As soon as this current snowfall clears, I'll be on the road training for the 2012 Spokane Tour de Cure.

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