Thursday, April 12, 2012

Finding Passion

Hey all- Blu bike here.  I'm guessing most of you bikes and riders out there sometimes struggle to find the passion.  You read the magazines, or pine for scenic roads, or order all kinds of go-fasters... But where's the passion?  The sunrise 'til sunset rides?  The rides when it's colder or hotter than hell?  Or riding the mountain roads on the volcanic island?  The daily commute?  The stuff your spouse complains about?

I'm going to try to put you in Buttercup's story.  Maybe it will help you understand why he thinks the passionate stuff is fun?

Imagine: The hearing in your left ear is getting bad, and there's this weird pressure that you can't fix in your ear.  Kind of like if you were on an airplane and just couldn't get your ear to pop?  All the time.  You go to your doctor.  She's convinced it's allergies and puts you on all sorts of allergy meds.  Doesn't fix it.  You chase it around for a year before you finally get to the right doctor.
He sends you for an MRI.  And guess what?  You have a brain tumor.  Well, shit.  No wonder the allergy meds didn't work.  He shows you your MRI scan results with kind of a "well THERE'S your problem" feel to them.  That big white blob pushing on your cerebellum?  Yeah, that would be bad.  

It turns out to be a non-cancerous type of tumor called an Acoustic Neuroma.
People tell you how lucky you are that it isn't cancer.  Fuck them.
So the surgeon explains what they will do... "we'll start by cutting off your ear" THUNK!  You pass out.
But they get you scheduled for surgery.  You treat it all with a very light attitude, until they are about to wheel you into surgery a couple of weeks later- then they have to sedate you.  
You have 14 hrs worth of brain surgery.
You wake up the next day: blind, you can't breath right, you panic.  You can't talk because of the breathing tube they have still shoved down your throat and you realize you can't see because of the bandages.  Now you're pissed (it's mostly a reaction to the anesthesia).  They bind your arms to the bed.  Oh yeah, that makes things SO much better.  You end up having to fingerspell and blindly scribble your feelings.  Learning to curse in sign language fingerspell is a great skill to have, by the way.  You discover later it was your wife that was trying to keep you calm...  You barf all over the ICU nurses for a couple of days.  More fun.
You spend a week in the hospital.  Then you go home.  The recovery you thought would take a week or so?  How about a couple of months... and still not quite right.  Dizzy, nauseous (barfing all over), and you end up back in the Emergency room with a spinal fluid infection (meningitis).  Your birthday gift this year?  A spinal tap.  And?  A tube they shove in a vein in your arm that goes all the way to your heart.  Blech.
"Temporary" facial paralysis?  You discover that "temporary" means 6 months of the left side of your face looking like a stroke victim.  When it finally starts to move, your physical therapy consists of electrical shocks and painful exercises.  About 70% of the movement comes back.  You're thankful you can blink.
Everywhere you go, people stare.  Nice.  Thanks.  That makes you feel so much better.
Oh- By the way?  You're completely deaf in your left ear (though they did sew it back on).  Fun.
Your friends and family are very supportive, your wife is awesome.  She buys you a new bike (that's me!).

Here's where you find passion.  Don't feel sorry for yourself.  Don't immerse yourself in chocolate and Oprah.  Your bike doesn't care what your face looks like.  All that anger and frustration you feel?  Put it in the pavement.  Every hill that sucks the breath out of you?  Remember that hospital bed.  Ass & legs hurt?  Remember the nice smile you'll never get back.  Keep pedaling.  Keep pushing.  Sign up for a century ride- you're friends come out in droves to do it with you.  Cool.  Sign up for a Double century.  People tell you you're nuts.  Whatever.  You're bike still doesn't care what your face looks like.  And now, almost 3 years later?  Your face is still fucked up.  You keep pushing.  There are more miles out there... more hills to climb.

What can you find in your life to help you find that passion?  To keep pushing?

  • Lose weight so you look & feel better?  Are more healthy?
  • Religion?  Faith?  Spirituality?  
  • Friend or family member suffering?  Cancer?  Alzheimer's?  Some brain tumor nobody's ever heard of?
  • Babies in need?  Animals in need?  The environment?
Find it.  Embrace it.  Bring it.  

What gives you that passion?

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