I know I have been a little quiet on the keyboard lately- been waiting way too much for my taste. So, below are the short and long versions of my future and the Great Pacific Race 2018.
Short Version: I'm out of the race for the time being and I won't know if I'll get the chance to row til April 2, 2018 the earliest, May 15, the latest.
Long Version: Back in October I fell while riding my bike- rainy day, left turn, wet leaf...bike slid right out from under me. Thinking only about being healthy for the race, I went to the ER to make sure I did not have a concussion. Nope. No concussion said the tech, but "The neurosurgeon will be right out to speak with you." Twelve minutes of planning for the worst followed.
No need for that. We soon learned the techs spotted an arachnoid cyst on my brain- "An arachnoid cyst is a small, benign sac that develops between the brain or spinal cord and the arachnoid membrane...An arachnoid cyst is not a brain tumor. It is a benign cyst, usually filled with clear cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and is most often present at birth...It often causes no symptoms at all, but if an arachnoid cyst is going to create symptoms it usually does so early in life." http://weillcornellbrainandspine.org/condition/arachnoid-cysts-intracranial-cysts
To follow up, I went to a neurologist who confirmed what I already knew- I am in great health and do not demonstrate any evidence of neurological issues. So, my scans went to a neurosurgeon- they deal more with the "hardware", i.e. the actual brain, as opposed to the neurologist who deals more with the software, i.e how the brain functions. The neurosurgeon recommended another scan in 6 months...
As with all medical issues, I decided to get a second opinion...well, not to make this long story too long, I sent my MRI and CT scans to two other neurologists and neurosurgeons. In the end, this cyst, of which I I had no idea even existed in my head before it was incidentally found, which most likely has been with me from birth, and from which I am totally asymptomatic...well, it is requiring me to put my race on hold. In April, six months after my first MRI, I will get another one and the excellent neurosurgeon at Tufts Medical Center will tell me if it has grown or otherwise changed. IF it has not grown or changed and IF there happens to be a seat open on someone else's boat for the Great Pacific Race 2018...I will row. So, I am still training. I am still trying to get my head around rowing across the Pacific Ocean. I am still here.
It is hard. It seems this race has been challenging me from the get-go. For one, my shoulder was injured last summer. But, I learned a little patience and I nursed it back to health. It feels great and I am training well. And, now I have this...the Pacific knows patience is not my best virtue. And, I know the Pacific can't be controlled- I will have to let go and take what it gives me- waves in my face when I want calm and clear, thunderstorms and howling wind when I want quiet. I want to row in the race. I want to know I can row. But I can't know that yet. So, as I told Chris Martin, the Race Director, who put me on the list as "first reserve," I will continue to do what I do well- lift heavy things and daydream about the ocean.
I will also think mightily about the people who inspired me to contemplate this whole ocean row in the first place- Doctors Without Borders and all the people they help all over the world. Everywhere. Everyday. To all who have supported me with financial contributions, I thank you dearly. Please know the 2400 Mile Foundation is more than just this row and that your donations, whether or not I row, will support international refugees and those suffering from natural and human made disasters.