Pinching myself again...

I started a blog a couple of years ago with the statement "once in a while, I have to give myself a pinch"...

I went on to thank the folks who had gotten me through my bouts with cancer and my aortic valve surgery. I was at the time celebrating five years cancer free and my heart valve was ten years old.

Today with the pinch, it dawned on me that I am now celebrating my 8th year cancer free, and now I also have a new porcine (pig's) heart valve that replaced the bull's valve I had for eleven years. Now with two open heart surgeries and my cancer surgeries, I have logged a lot of extra sleep to give me the energy to keep going forward. So, here I celebrate and remind myself that there are many, friends, acquaintances, and millions of others travelling these paths with me.

Here we are crossing the Continental Divide after a climb out of 
Yellow Stone's South Entrance. From the Left, Rodney Sallman,
Jason Stoke, Danelle Leslie Titus, me and my cancer surgeon
Chad Robertson.
I am reminded that my friends that rode from Vancouver to Austin, Texas with me just over three years ago were the most healthy people I could imagine... powering up ascents like this one to the left... and screaming down the other side of the divides. And yet Danelle, here in the blue riding jacket, has been battling a cancer challenge, almost since this picture was taken. She is facing it head on, and her family and friends are supporting her in the same way as mine did me during my cancer and heart challenges. It appears no one, no matter what we do, is immune to this and other diseases.

I am hoping that Danny and my friend Jeff Clarke in Ottawa both are able to overcome their individual challenges, mighty as they are, in the coming months and then celebrate over the years. I am reminded that we all have friends that need our encouragements and support. We can reach-out and touch each of them with a phone call, an email and a hug!

Not for me to wonder why, but to celebrate our ongoing lives, and take each challenge as if it were the Continental Divide... and try, try again to be ready.

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