I’ve met some of my closest friends through cycling. Cycling has a range of risks, like any activity. Thankfully, I’ve experienced mostly minor mishaps. Getting stung by an insect is common—while riding, insects can get caught in your helmet or trapped inside your jersey.
Earlier this year, I collided with an insect and it stung me on my right collarbone. The bite was itchy and red, and I thought it made the side of my neck swollen. Several weeks later, when the bite healed and the redness went away, the swelling did not. This coincided with the start of the SC stay-at-home orders. So I waited another month, and one day I just had a feeling that something was wrong.
I was correct. In May, I visited my internist, and then a surgeon, who diagnosed me with papillary thyroid cancer. In mid-June, I had a full thyroidectomy and a neck dissection, removing 13 lymph nodes.
Four weeks post surgery, I was back on my bike with Team Joyce, my Ride to Remember team, and we rode 65 miles to Newberry. This was the day that should have started our 252 mile ride to Charleston to fundraise for the Alzheimer’s Association. We didn’t ride all the way to Charleston (we rode back to Greenville the next day), but we raised awareness and funds to help find a cure. That weekend was challenging, but it gave me a lot of hope. I’ve been tired, recovering from surgery.
This Fall, I need another surgery to remove additional cancerous lymph nodes and undergo radioactive iodine treatment. With a little (more) help from my friends (and family) I’ll recover and continue to keep riding.
I have two kids, Ren (20) and Finnegan (15).