Knowing my limits

I have now reached the age where I say things like “you feel immortal when you are in your teens and twenties”. The age where slight aches and pains make me wonder if I have some dreadful illness. The age where I sometimes look at my children and wonder how much of their lives I will see.

Slightly depressing and morbid, I know.

Don’t get me wrong, these are not things I think about all day every day. It’s just the odd moment.

Still, some of this is based in reality.

My mum has a neighbor who is in the thick of chemotherapy for breast cancer. She is a year younger than me and her children are just a few years older than mine. A friend’s wife has also just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Again, same age, similar age children. A friend of a friend not long ago died of a brain tumor, similar age, similar age children.

Maybe it’s a post-40 thing.

I have always had a fairly healthy lifestyle. I have always ridden bikes. I have always enjoyed cooking. I learnt to cook from watching my own mum cook and I hope my own children learn the same from me.

But, I have these sore knees. It’s something I have been ignoring for a while. The other day I realised that ‘a while’ is actually pretty much three years. I went to the doctor, the doctor sent me for an x-ray, the x-ray came back as osteoarthrosis.

Osteoarthrosis is nothing like breast cancer or brain tumors. It will not limit threaten my life or involve agressive and unpleasant treatment.  I am very aware that I am fortunate to be in generally pretty good health.

But it has taken me aback a little.

Apparently osteoarthrosis is similar at osteoarthritis, but without the swelling. It is degenerative and involves pain and a limited range of motion in the affected joints. At the moment, my knees are just uncomfortable with occasional pain. It is not really anything I cannot live with.

But the degenerative thing has got me worried.

I rely on my cycling as a way to connect with myself and to know who I am. Being a cyclist and being physically fit is a fundamental part of my identity. Speeding down a descent on a bike is when I feel at my most alive.

I cannot possibly lose that.

According to my GP there is absolutely nothing they can do to treat osteoarthrosis it is simply a matter of limiting how quickly it progresses. Apparently I need to avoid undue pressure on my knees.

So, with great sadness, my beautiful cargo bike will be being sold. It has been used almost every day for the three years we have had it. It has been the savior of my sanity. It has allowed me to cycle and look after my children at the same time. It has taken the stress out of the school run.

But, with great joy, a shiny new e-assist cargo bike has been ordered! I would like to say it is winging its way to us. But in my experience cargo bikes don’t really wing their way anywhere. Maybe more like trudging its way steadily to us.

Fingers crossed, this is going to keep two children and I on two wheels for many more years to come.

Watch this space….!

7 Replies to “Knowing my limits”

  1. Hi Diana
    I’m so sorry to hear this – it’s a constant fear of mine that I’ll be rendered unable to ride a bike at some point in my life (although e-assist does make things look better in the long term). I’m looking forward to hearing about the new cargo bike, when it finally arrives, and many years more of you enjoying your cycling. Karen x

  2. I’m a firm believer that using an e-bike is still far better than using a car.
    Even if you use the e-bike on full throttle mode and don’t pedal, it’s still a bike. (Unless it’s a motorbike/scooter, that doesn’t count as a bike. I’m entirely sure where the line is between the two, but I think it’s got to do with the top speed and how much they actually look like a bike.)
    An ebike is not cheating, it’s not “giving in”, it’s doing what makes staying on a bike easier or in some cases possible at all.

    Hopefully you and your doctors will find a treatment that works for you 🙂

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