I have a high pain tolerance. After giving birth naturally to two children through fast, furious and painful labours, I’ve learned that I can deal with a lot of pain. However, I hate admitting I’m in pain – and I hate changing my behavior to deal with pain. But now, after struggling with daily pain for the last month and a half, I’m sick of this. I’m sick of not being able to cycle the distance or speed that I want to, or with my bike loaded as heavily as it was before. I’m sick of even simply walking a few kilometers one day and nearly limping the next because I ‘over-did’ it again.
Discovering I had a hernia and being forced off the bikes in Wyoming? I was ready to admit that defeat to the pain in my abdomen – Wyoming didn’t seem too inviting at the time anyway. But now after being off the bikes for so long, I yearn to feel the freedom of touring again. Perhaps recently beginning to read Joe Kurmaskie’s “Mud, Sweat, and Gears,” a book about the author’s cycling adventures with his family, is also putting the fire of the open road under me again. I long for the bike touring routine; the insatiable hunger after days on the road and the ability to swoon over any food – it all tastes good! The twists and turns, the hills and valleys, the views and solitude – I miss all this, what now feels like home to me. The sound of rain sprinkling on the tent as I fall asleep, my muscles sore inside my sleeping bag. Climbing a long and steady hill with the anticipation of what is on the other side. Relishing in a long descent. Picking wild flowers on the side of the road and searching for bugs to observe. Dreaming of destinations down the road, spurring my every pedal stroke. The questions, stares and encounters of curious strangers we meet on the road.
But it seems these things I seek get pushed further out of my reach around every turn. They have eluded me the past two months because we have been waiting for my scheduled hernia repair back home in Ontario. Our plan was for me to fly home, have the surgery, and fly back to the west coast to recover – getting back on our bikes within a few weeks. Yet when I finally made my way back to Ontario, I was only there for a few hours before I was told that the surgery I flew out to have done would not be needed, as I did not, in fact, have a hernia. Instead, I was told I was suffering from strained or torn muscles. For me, having surgery would have been preferable, as not only had a I flown all the way home for that exact purpose, but the recovery time for the surgery is a only few weeks instead of the two to four months of rest required to recover from strained muscles.