So, eight days down, and I’ve just gotten up way early to get a brace of work out of the way to go hit the roads again to add to my Great Cycle Challenge tally. It’s not quite as big a number as I’d hoped it’d be at this stage, but I’m not totally unhappy with it.
There have been a few distractions along the way, not least young Max’s NSW State BMX Championships campaign last weekend. For a young bloke who was fighting leukaemia just seven years ago, to look at him last weekend you would never know that he’d been ill even a day in his life.
I had a tiny crash during my second ride – you can check out my routes here – taking a bit of skin off one knee. As I jammed a Band-Aid over the cut, I remember thinking ‘yeah, this will hurt a little when I take it off.’ Then I remembered Max’s central line… as a kid on an intensive regimen of chemotherapy, the docs deemed it necessary to fit Max with a central vascular access device, or central line, to make it easier to administer chemo and other medications. Essentially, surgeons plumbed a pipeline directly into one of the large veins running out of his heart, via his chest.
While the installation of the line meant that docs didn’t have to tap a catheter into Max every time they needed to give him medication, managing the line itself was a full time job. Not only did the lines need to remain clear and infection-free, but Maxy now had a rather large hole in his chest that needed to be dressed weekly.
Changing the dressing quickly became the most distressing part of the week. Max has never liked Band-Aids; now we were asking him to sit still while we changed a Band-Aid the size of a postcard once a week. He didn’t like it… not one little bit. He screamed and kicked and cried, but we had to keep doing it. We would dilute the adhesive, change the material and distract him every way we knew how – but it always sucked.
In the most twisted of ironies, a new product called Tegaderm became available in the last few months of Max’s treatment, making dressing changing a non-event…
The Challenge has been coming for quite a while, and we all knew that, and we could all prepare our bikes, our bodies and our schedules to suit it. When Max was diagnosed with leukaemia, we barely had time to pack a bag and pick a hospital. Cancer targets us all indiscriminately, whether you’re ready or not. It’s just a matter of one step forward, no matter what comes up.
When you sponsor me, you support vital research into finding cures for kid’s cancers. Pediatric oncology is not supported by the Big Drug companies, so research funding is a mix of charity and (diminishing) government grants. The Great Cycle Challenge has already raised over $2 million in two years, and it can do better than that. Click here to sponsor me. And thanks.