Category: Love

Do That One Thing – Derrick Rides For James Ragan

"Do that 1 thing"

D Perrin at MD Anderson
AZT 300 - Derrick Perrin on trail
Perrin on the Arizona Trail 2016

The title of this article is a quote from my friend James Ragan. With his sister Mecklin, James headed up the Triumph Over Kid Cancer Origination and encouraged folks to go out and find that one thing they can do to help end childhood cancer. I love the concept of going out there and doing your 1 Thing. Mecklin and the team of TOKC have been working hard to make sure everyone knows  that one thing they can do to help end childhood cancer is there and ready to be discovered. Seriously, look for it… it is there waiting to be put into motion and help squash out childhood cancer.

Broken Bones - Not Spirits

Shortly after James passed from cancer I was diagnosed with a cancer by the name of Diffused Large B-Cell Lymphoma. Cancer has a way of changing the way you see the world, and it does it in the blink of an eye. The oncologist found a tumor in my right hip that happened to fracture. To remedy this problem I spent 4 months coming and going to MD Anderson in Houston Texas. I tested into a potent new chemo cocktail by the acronym ePOCH-R.

While at MD Anderson I thought about James a lot. I was walking in the halls he walked in. I was meeting doctors like Valerae O. Lewis who cared for James for so many years.

I do a lot of video editing for the Triumph Over Kids Cancer organization. During my 2nd round of chemotherapy, I edited video for the TOKC Big Easy event. Emotionally it was rough editing because I was sitting there looking at a very live young man talking about doing that one thing, knowing he had passed and this was going to be the first New Orleans event without him. I was lame and didn’t have my one thing yet.

Finding my ONE THING

After chemotherapy, the bone in my hip slowly mended and I rode my bicycle to strengthen my joint. It is still at a deficit, but I’m working hard riding and strength training so I can fix it. As I continued to train and get better I remember a speech from James Ragan. In his speech, James mentions his passion for playing tennis. He was really good and put in a lot of time making himself better. When cancer took away his ability to kick butt in tennis he switched to golf. He didn’t sit down and quit, he found something to believe in and went all in.

That “all in” attitude is contagious. It defiantly got to me. 10 years ago I was a runner, today I’m a rider. James had to hang up one sport he was really good and then shift to something his body would allow him to do. His positive outlook on switching sports gave me the confidence to drop running and start riding.

Derrick Perrin Selfi on the Arizona Trail

Last year I started to ride competitively. The type of race I like are ultra endurance self-supported mountain bike events. Training for these events is long and give you a chance to reflect on things happening around you. I keep thinking about James and his fight when I’m out there training.  I soon figured out this is my one thing. I can get out and spread the word for TOKC. I jumped on the awareness train and rode it to Arizona.
April 2016 was my first time to race, and my first time to ride in the memory of Jame Ragan.

It was an honor to be out there on the trail sporting the TOKC orange.

Last Race - San Angelo State Park

My last race was in October. I rode the 6-hour dinosaur race held at the San Angelo State Park.
Races like these give you the opportunity to ride with your competitors. Sure, you want to beat them, but then again you also want to finish in one piece. During the first 3 hours of racing, I was blessed to meet my new riding friend, Mat Day. The once Marine turned into a Buddhist bike rider now knows all about James, TOKC, and how devastating childhood cancer can be. Every 9 miles you make a lap. You talk, sweat and endure together. I love having the captive audience an endurance race provides.

You really had to meet and spent time with James to know how big a heart he had. I hope my discussions with Mat conveyed a fraction of what James had to offer.

Derrick Perrin on a mountain bike

6-hour dinosaur race – San Angelo, TX

Overall I placed 6th in the male solo class. Since this was my first race to finish I was really happy. Next October I will be training and be participating in the 6 hours of the dinosaur race.

Next Race- AZT 300

My first race was April 2016. I made an attempt at the Arizona Trail 300 mile mountain bike race. This is a multi-day event where all riders must support them-self from start to the finish. During ultra-endurance race many riders will pair up and ride together. This is a great opportunity to talk and let folks know about why I ride and who I ride for. That would be James Ragan.

You can read about my last AZT300 ride with a click of the button below.

April 7th 2017 will be the next start of the Arizona Trail 300 mile mountain bike race. I plan to be there on my bike ready to take the abuse. I still have some sponsorship items coming in that will enable my family to make the trip with me.

Sure, I’m still trying to figure out why I like this race so much.

Thank You

If you supported my 2016 AZT efforts, thank you. Please know your efforts didn’t go away. This year I will be running with all my bike and gear from last years ride. Add that with the knowledge I picked up on the trail and things are looking really positive for a finish in 2017.
I’m looking forward to going out there and doing my one thing to spread awareness on ways people can help TOKC end childhood cancer.

Would you like one thing to do? You can jump on over to http://triumphoverkidcancer.org/donate/ and make something happen today. They are accepting donations 24 hours a day. Just slap my name in the box so they know where the donation is coming from.

The AZT-300 starts in 9 days. There is a lot of moving parts that need to be put into motion before I get to Arizona. Yesterday I was able to cross off one big item from the to-do list. That would be my bike bags. One is pictured to the right. It was custom built for my bicycle by a seamstress here in Corpus Christi. My other bags were a sponsorship item that  I can’t wait to load up and test ride. There are a few more sponsorship items coming in before my family hits the road for Arizona.
Here are a few things on the to-do list:

  • Activate SPOT GPS tracking device
  • Pay yearly dues to the Arizona Trail Association
  • Clear race registration
  • Load the Garmin GPS with the new trail map
  • Rebuild bicycle medical kit.
  • Convert to tubeless using my Orange Seal sponsored supplies.
  • Mount new GoPro mount on the new bicycle helmet
  • Send thank you cards to my 2016 sponsors
  • Send thank you to new 2017 sponsors
  • Secure hotel stays along the way
  • Clean hydration packs
  • Pick trail food
  • Learn how to best pack the new bicycle bags
  • Print paper maps
  • Study on trail water locations
  • And many more
TOKC bicycle frame bag
Triumph Over Kid Cancer

Thanks for taking the time to hear about my one thing. I hope you can find a way to do your one thing to help out. If you need help give TOKC a call and they can point you in the right direction.

Thanks again, and I will keep you posted on how things went after the race is over.

-Derrick Perrin

https://youtu.be/X8nPESiCSTk

Don’t Ask, Just Do.

My one year diagnosis is approaching and I’m facing my 3rd quarterly (clean) scan. I say clean scan because that is what we have been praying for. My hip hurts some and I’ve been tired lately but very optimistic about the future. Work has been great and plentiful.

Derrick Perrin at work installing cameras

Derrick Perrin installing time lapse cameras in Corpus Christi.

At the start of the month my good friend Jeff Durrwachter messaged wanting to know when my cancer-versary was. I said August 26th and he said great I’m taking you out to eat. Well, he offered a lot more but we settled on food.

Way Back When

Back in 2000 I was Jeff’s best man for his wedding. We have a great friendship and over the past year it has only gotten better. He was on my short list when I was first diagnosed, and one of the first folks who made it to the house. He and his wife were there to comfort us on one of our darkest days. We thank them dearly for that.

Freshman Tuloso-Midway Warrior Basketball Team Photo

Freshman Tuloso-Midway Warrior Basketball Team Photo | 1992-1993

Jeff and I first bonded during freshman basketball trips while listening to crappy rap music on the bus. In the above photo you can see me in the #22 and Jeff in #31 jerseys. You can read about one of our adventures in the post “1/2 drunk and on a bike to Big Tree” Jeff is one of those guys who know everything but isn’t a smart ass about it. He can be an ass about other things, but when it comes to him being a human version of Google he is cool about it. When everyone was asking me,

  • “What do you need?”
  • “How can we help?”
  • “What can I do for you?”

Jeff refrained from asking. I’m glad he did because I didn’t know what the answer was.

I didn’t know what my needs were. Almost a year into this and I’m still not sure what my needs are.

I did know that he was there for my family and he just did things. I also utilized him as a video shooter for Big Box Pro. He jumped right in and made things possible when I was taking chemotherapy treatments at M.D. Anderson.

Derrick Perrin and Jeff Durrwachter on the set of a video production.

Derrick Perrin and Jeff Durrwachter on the set of a video production | Fall 2014

He would let me know he was going to take care of cutting my lawn. He would be at my home anytime I needed to go for a scan and wanted to have Kendra there with me. He took care of my three little ones and we felt very comfortable.

There is no way I can repay Jeff or his wife Sonya for their time and their consideration towards my family. I just hope his example of a friend of a cancer patient can shed some light on what you can do to support. If you know someone with cancer don’t ask them what you can do because they are trying to figure out their new life and might not know what they need. Just go do something.

Each doctor I met mentioned stress was a major factor in folks who got cancer. Go out and do something to relive someones stress.

Other Cancer Angels

There were days when I would open the mail box and a gift-card would be there. Other times there would be get well cards or the occasional flower arrangement.

I just want to go on record and let you know I’m not dead yet and a guy getting flowers only happens at funerals in my world. Flowers might be something to put on a woman cancer fighter list of things to do.

Some gave small cash and others shipped me organic food supplements. It was small, thoughtful and in the end powerful. The little reminders that folks were thinking of me and my family did wonders. You guys and gals stepped up and made me feel loved. Thank you for that.


So a big thank you to to my best friend Jeff D. I will do my best to repay you one day. Thanks for being a better friend than I deserve, and the butt of many photoshop jokes.

Photoshop joke post by Derrick Perrin

Photoshop joke post by Derrick Perrin

badgers - Jeff D

Badgers?

Where to from here?

March 14, 2015
I’m in the purgatory of the cancer world. They call it remission. So I’m in remission waiting to be declared cured.

Where does life take me from here on out?

Not really sure what today holds. To be honest I’m not sure what this life holds. In the last 12 months I have come down with cancer, fought cancer, and as I sit today my cancer is in remission. Sure it took 6 months of traveling back and forth to Houston and putting a lot on hold, but now looking back on the journey it seems too easy. Is this it? Is getting rid of cancer this easy? If that is how it works then what do I do now? A marathon race, triathlon, Everest? Feeling like superman but with the need to go out there and kick ass.

The folks who have supported me and my family during my cancer fight have propelled my ego into rock star status. When I would blog, or talk people instead. I feel like I need to continue on and provide more content about my life.

Cancer has jacked with my head. I find my self looking for the bigger purpose in life. Ridding my bicycle seems to take the mind off of my purpose. I have list upon list of things I need to do but I want to rip them up and go ride. I want to ride, and ride and ride. Ride from here to there where “there” is more than a few hundred miles away. I want nature and bare bones living more and more. Sure as I’m typing this up I’m 25,000 feet in the air riding to Florida on a trip to Costa Rica. I have headphones in listening to a book about 2 ladies and their journey from the West coast to the East coast. So I have a laptop and a phone running audibles talking about simplifying life. Does it make since to you? Yea me neither. I wish to be connected and disconnected at the same time. My work can’t be done without the tools of a digital camera and computer. How could I do work if I get rid of the digital devices? How could you read what I have to type if I give it up.

I have a dream:
Today my dream is tied up to a 300 mile bike ride from south Arizona to Phoenix. The concept of being able to traverse over a long distance while taking care of self and bike to reach a destination at the end of rough/beautiful territory. Sure some scratch their heads and say “I’ve been to Arizona and there is nothing beautiful about it!” but like west Texas’ Big Bend Country, you love it or hate it. The summer before my freshman year in High-school I spent a week in Tempe, AZ. I remember it as 100 plus  degrees 100% of time. That was when the monsoons were not sweeping small cars into the flood channels. It could be the brutal weather, the rattlesnakes, or the prickly desert floor, but I think a 300 mile bike race in the rough back country would be perfect for me at this point in life.

So once I get things in order at home and at work I hope to be out on the trail beating life. The start will be the Arizona trail, then the Colorado 500, and then the biggie on the list will be the Tour Divide. That is the race from Banff Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. It runs for over 2,700 miles and would be 25+ days in the saddle.

I’m still working on this post cancer life of mine. I will let you know how it is going.

-Derrick

Derrick Perrin Monster Hat

People Hold Hands Here

Today starts my last run of EPOCH-R chemotherapy. When I first learned I had a cancer and I would be taking chemo I could not wait for this week to come. Now that it is here I’m not sure if if I’m ready for it to be over. A friend of mine who has had cancer said to me he finds comfort in chemotherapy. I now know what he is talking about. For me it took a lot to sign up for chemo. I began to have confidence in the poison and realize it is the reason I don’t have a tumor and walk with a limp. I start to think where I would be if I didn’t start and you also worry about what can and cant happen when you stop. While on chemo you take on super powers knowing there will be another round and if we don’t get it on this time we will on the next. Well there have been 5 rounds and this is the last. I won’t have a next time.

I have learned a lot over the last 5 months. There is a theory out there that folks with highly acidic diets get cancer. The flip side to those thoughts is that folks with cancer have tons of acid as a byproduct. So in an attempt at humor at MD Anderson I’m going to conclude that holding hands will give you or your loved ones cancer.

How did I come to this brilliant  conclusion?

Well you cant make it across the cancer center without seeing a few folks holding hands. You walk through the Ambulatory Treatment Center, that is where you get injected with chemo, and see a loved on holding the hand of someone getting their medicine. To the cafeteria and there are hand holders there, to the sky-bridge and there are other pairs holding hands there. So if everyone is holding hands, and everyone here has cancer then we can conclude holding hands give you cancer. Right?

Well I’m going to throw that conclusion out the window with the old dish water.
Seeing everyone hold hands is comforting. I even see my own parents do it here, and they don’t have cancer. I encourage you to do it outside of here. It might lower your stress and help you stay healthy. If holding someones hand is not comforting to you then it might be time to get a new group of folks to be around.
Don’t forget to wash.

So I start round 6 of 6 today and It sends us in to uncharted territory. It almost sets me back to the point of starting chemo. At first we didn’t know what was going to happen. We didn’t know how my body was going to handle chemotherapy. Well now we know my body does extremely well with chemo. We know that it took care of the tumor that was in my body. We run this last round and we will start the process of wait and scan. The doctor will not use the “c” word for another 3 years.

-Derrick, I’m the one making folks smile by wearing a monster hat around MD Anderson.

No Dee, not you.

In between my rounds of chemotherapy my family and I would return home in Corpus Christi. From finish to the next start we would get about 14 days at home. These days were strange. You would try to work on the list of things to do you created in Houston. Cancer has a nasty way of kicking you while you are down. You come home to broken cars, water leaks, or pissed off clients who don’t understand what is happening to your life. You try your best to hold it together for the ones around you and then the phone rings. One phone call that really stands out is from my old friend Eric. If you kept up with my video post he is the one I called out when playing piano on chemo round 1.

That morning I had been working late and Eric had been drinking late. It must have been around 2am when the phone rang. Eric was in tears trying to find a way to trade places with me. I have a feeling it was a Facebook post of my little Sophie that put Eric into motion.

Visitor Center at Brazos Bend

Brazos Bend State Park – November 2014

He was not the first person who looked for some way to trade bodies. Sorry man, God didn’t make life that easy. Eric’s compassion for my situation was deep. The line I kept hearing was, “Not you Dee, you have little Sophie to raise.”
Well my friend I have a little growing up left to do and I’m working hard to make sure I’m here for my little children. I really appreciate the love and the late night check ins. You rock sir.

So keep on keeping in touch and go work on that song!

Celebrating Benjamin’s Birthday

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Saturday we celebrate Benjamin’s birthday. Last week on his actual birthday we were in Houston getting chemotherapy. He wanted to have a Buc-ee’s Beaver birthday so Kendra made that happen. On our way back from Houston we stopped off in Wharton, Texas and picked up as much party Buc-ee gear as we could find.

We will post photos of his custom made Buc-ee’s cake after he digs into it.

Take care
dP

Happy Birthday Benjamin

Last Wednesday night we packed up the kids and headed to Port Lavaca to drop off our pack. On the way there Kendra and I were talking about Benjamin’s Birthday coming up. I was shocked to find out it was going to take place on this 5 day stretch of chemotherapy.  So the sad moment sets in when I figure out cancer has taken away the opportunity to celebrate Ben’s birthday on his actual birthday.
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We did call and get to talk with him on his birthday. He was happy with his balloons, cupcake, police truck, and grilled cheese sandwiches. I have a birthday cumming up and I might ask for the same menu…. Oh wait I don’t do sugar anymore. Well back to the drawing board.
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We love and miss you little Benjamin. I wish we went so far away this week, but I have to do this so I can make all the other ones. Don’t worry little buddy there will be more cake, more balloons, and more family fun.

See you soon Benjamin,
Love dad

Derrick Perrin - 1992

Cold ride home – Basketball trips

Here comes a throwback story from my childhood.

Back in the spring of 1992 I was an 8th grader and my brother James was  completing his junior year of high school.  Snoop Dog had just made his debut in the radio-rap world. My family has this thing for basketball and we were pretty good at it. James was invited to play in a high end league based in Houston, Texas. The basketball kids were the best of the best from the south east Texas region. Any given Friday night you would walk into a gym and there would be division 1 college scouts sitting there waiting to pick the next crop of freshmen college b-ball players. The logistics of getting out of school in the afternoon and making it to Houston on time were rough. We were prepared to hit the road running when the last bell rang. It took about 3 hours with no bathroom breaks to get there in time for James to walk in for the last 5 minutes of warmups.

To get ready for the trips I would have my pillow and blanket packed in the car so I could sleep on the way up. Once in Houston the games were always entertaining and worth watching. We would hit up Ninfa’s Restaurant and head back on the same night. That is right 6 hours of driving for a one hour basketball game. Did I mention we had a thing for basketball in our family? The end payoff for all the travel was a basketball scholarship that covered Jame’s full ride through his undergraduate degree and priceless family memories. The Houston basketball league trips evolved into a family road trip to Arizona. That trip will be its own blog post or quite possibly its own blog.

Plymouth Sundance Duster

Well back to the quick trips to Houston. One night riding back I woke up between El Campo and Victoria and being a smart ass kid I popped off to my brother who was driving. I asked, “Hey James do you think it can get any colder in here?” He didn’t say anything. He just reached over and turned the A/C on to max. My mom loves the cold so there we went down the road in a meat locker. I had my blanket and pillow and it was still not enough. Being the little brother you take crap to prove you are man enough to hang out with big brother and all the perks that come with that. So I just sat back and figured, If he can take it, I can take it.

The next 2 hours home were bitterly cold. I shivered, I shook, but I did not break.  I’m not sure if there was a true winner of the cold weather stand off, but we have a story to tell because of it. I was so happy to get out of that car and get into my warm bed.

Well that is the way I remember it.

-Derrick

 

 

Alan Berg is one cool dude

image

Since coming up with this cancer gig I have been working from the road and shooting from the hip. I don’t get by the studio often but when I do I have nifty gifts. The photo above is a book shipped to me by the author, Alan Berg. Mr Berg has been a big help to my business over the last few years. We do a lot of video production at Big Box Pro and a fair amount is wedding video and selling to brides.
I’m not sure if you noticed but I’m not a bride and since I gave up drinking for cancer I don’t think you have will ever see me in a wedding dress. So I go out side the Big Box when it comes to marketing ideas and support. Alan Berg has been a great source for bridal marketing goods and information.
I was shocked by his sweet kind heart and act of sending me a positive attitude book. His book is called “Your Attitude for Success” Amazon it if you would like a copy of your own, or send it off to someone who might need it. Its things like that make a positive difference in the world.
Have I read the book, no not beyond the opening and first chapter. I packed it with my suplaments that travelled to MD Anderson. I had good intentions of reading during down time. That did not happen. What did happen was a good positive thought passed through my brain each time I opened my box and was reminded of Alan’s gift. It made the trip and back to our home in Corpus Christi.
Kendra is reading it today and I’m on it once she completes the read.
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Thanks again to Mr Alan Berg for doing something he didn’t have to. It has been like Christmas around here with all the Amazon and FedEx drops at the house. Books, supplements, food and get well cards have all added to the success of life right now.

Much love,
Derrick Perrin

The journey home

The family is back at home after 6 days apart. I would like to pass on having to do that again. So far all seems well in chemotherapy land. My body has done extremely well and is ready to tackle this week and adjusting to life post chemo. In the next 48 hours I will get a white cell booster shot. The doctor said that will make me feel like I’m getting the flu and my bones will hurt from within.

I wanted to take a second and thank my wife, Kendra, for here extra special care to not only me but out little ones. I know she must be really stressed and stretched thin right now. It was simply amazing having her at my side at M.D. Anderson.

More to come after a good round of sleep.

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