Tag Archives: Broken Neck

Good news. Bad news. No brace. No bike.

Dr. Johnson walked into the room and immediately said, “Well, the x-rays look great!” My heart leaped. That was what I wanted to hear. Now there was only one more thing I wanted him to say… “You can get back on the bike.”

Actually, the best I was hoping for is that he wouldn’t say anything about the bike. I knew from earlier conversations that I wouldn’t be getting an enthusiastic endorsement of the idea of riding again. However, if he didn’t mention the bike, then I wouldn’t feel guilty about riding it.

It was not to be. “I guess you haven’t been riding the bike,” he said. “It wouldn’t be very comfortable with that brace.” He continued as I wanted to plug my ears, “I wouldn’t want you to get back on the bike for another month.” My heart sank. “We’ll get you back in here in August and take some final x-rays and we’ll be able to let you go then.”

August 22. That is the day that I should be able to take the bike back on the road. That gives me less than one month to get some long rides in for the 2010 Ride for Mike.

I have mixed emotions. I’m very grateful to be out of the brace. I’m disappointed that I have to wait that long to be cleared to ride.

The deal with the neck is that I am healing very nicely. The bones are fusing and for the most part I don’t have to worry about damaging them. The issue is that the neurosurgeon does not want me to put the process in any risk until the fractures begin to form a calcified layer. He anticipates that to be underway by our next appointment. Even then the bones will not be “completely” healed. That won’t happen until probably November.

Does this mean that things have to stop? No. I remember that I did the majority of my winter training on the stationary trainer. I came out of that in pretty good shape. I’m just going to have to get back on it and do it. The doc had no problems with me doing that.

Thing is, I should have stayed on the trainer back when I started the Tour De Basement. Had I done that, I would be well along. The problem is that I just lost the desire. One of the reasons was because I had it in my mind that I would soon be back on the road and that once there I would be able to catch back up. “Ah, I don’t have to do the trainer,” I said to myself. “I’ll be able to get back in shape in two months.”

Well, I have two months to get in shape. One of those is going to have to be on the trainer. That is the bad news. The good news? I won’t have to be wearing a neck brace. The best news? I will ride again and will be back 100%. I realize that not everyone who has broken their necks can say the same.

Suddenly, that trainer doesn’t look so bad.

Lance Armstrong convinced me to shave

When they put that collar around my neck back in May, I stopped shaving. First it was because it hurt to even press a razor against my face. Then it became a matter of just not being interested in grooming. Finally I started trimming it and decided I would leave it until I got the neck brace off. That, I thought, would happen this past Tuesday. It didn’t, but I shaved anyway.

I have always been interested in following Lance Armstrong. I can’t say that I am a complete fan. There are certainly parts of his life and personality that I personally do not wish to emulate. However, one thing I certainly admire about him is his tenacity.

Tuesday I took a moment to switch on Versus and they were running Lance Armstrong All the Time. I’ve seen it before, so I was only partially following what was happening on the screen. However, an image caught my eye and arrested my attention. It also changed my outlook.

You’ve seen the video. It is a picture of Lance Armstrong with a bald pate due to brain surgery and cancer treatment. Yet, there he was on the trainer spinning away. In a challenge far exceeding my own, he was getting back up and getting on with life — not only seeking to exist, but to excel.

I shaved.

I was feeling pretty down that I was going to have to go another month with this neck brace. It was disheartening to learn that my recovery was going to take longer than I hoped. It was frustrating to see all my plans turned upside down.

“Well, I guess I’ll keep my beard a little longer,” I thought to myself. It had become a symbol of my submission to the challenge I was facing. I was allowing this collar that was constricting my neck to constrain my heart.

I shaved.

Sure, shaving didn’t change anything. However, changing my outlook did. Getting rid of the hair on my face was a symbol of that internal change. Now, every morning when I shave my face I will look in the mirror and remind myself that I don’t have to be limited in my spirit by the circumstances I’m in.

I’ll shave and in the back of my mind will the be image on a gaunt young man with a “C” scar on top of his head. He’ll be spinning on his trainer with a look of determination in his eyes. He’ll also go on to win 7 Tours de France.

The season is over for Low Cadence

I don’t know what I was thinking. It should have been obvious to me that someone doesn’t heal from a broken neck in five weeks. Still, I swear the neurosurgeon told me I would be out of the neck brace and able to start limited activity on June 29, 2010. Well, I was wrong.

The neck brace remains until at least July 27. He also would not clear me for higher risks activities until later. Basically, he laid out that I will not be cleared to race until November. What that means is that my racing season is over.

The beautiful redhead and I have talked about it and we do not see why I shouldn’t be able to continue with my plans to start and finish the 2010 Ride for Mike. However, there will be no more racing for me this year… That stinks.

I’m going to have to step back here for a bit and let this sink in. I don’t know what all of this is going to mean to the blog. I have no desire to be writing stuff about me complaining all the time or asking you to give to the 2010 Ride for Mike. I’m certain you will see less (just as you have probably noticed over the last couple of weeks).

So, the next thing on my calendar is the 2010 Ride for Mike. I trust that once I start training again in earnest and planning the logistics in earnest, you’ll find more here at LowCadence.com. Follow Low Cadence on Twitter and on Facebook and you’ll know when that begins to happen.

Thank you for your support.