Wanting to ride and camp in the wilderness – Rookie

Hardrock company photo

Rookie Derrick Perrin here. I’m starting my first season of riding long distances on a mountain bike packed with wilderness camping gear. I’m going to short list my reasons for having a passion for bike-packing and then write you out a few run-on sentences with a lot of spelling/grammar errors.

Reasons to ride ultra marathon wilderness mountain bike races:

  • Watch Ride the Divide June 2014 and was excited to ride ultra races. Bought a bike 15 days later. Was diagnosed with cancer 2 months later.
  • Riding for James, Label bike TOKC
  • Figuring out what to do next – how is life post cancer  work out?
  • What money goes for – Awareness & education
  • I have never set goals and now I am.
  • What if I fail? Pick up the pieces and keep moving in a positive direction

The bike broke me, the bike fix me. That is the book theme here.

Overnight I had so much attention I felt like I was a rock-star. Only I was a rock star without a band and a tour bus and groupies, no only thing I had was cancer.

D Perrin at MD Anderson

Derrick Perrin at the observation deck at M.D. Anderson – Houston, Texas

September 2014 I’m sitting in a hospital bed at MD Anderson and my charge nurse pops in the room with “Oh is this your first time for Chemotherapy?”

Yes, I’m a rookie. Quickly ideas of never wanting to be a veteran here at 1515 Holcomb lane arrive. This is the first of  5 days of my first round of Lymphoma treatments.

I was treated great, but I felt like a rookie. Growing up playing youth sports the feeling of rookie had come and gone several times. Those times if you screwed up or didn’t get it right people laughed or teased you, but as I sit in a hospital with cancer there were was no time to mess things up. I was out to get it right.

I was diagnosed with cancer towards the end of August 2014. The 12 months before my right hip had been giving me troubles. Time and time again I shrugged it off and took more over the counter painkillers. They did the job and kept the pain under control. After long days on the job I would have extra pain, but thought it was muscular or a structural issues. I never thought for once it was cancer. Well, I take that back. After looking up my symptoms on doctor diagnosis website I read it might be cancer. This was supported by a friend of mine who had recently passed. She was younger than me and ran into some hip pain. She was crazy active and the owner of a Zumba fitness studio. That is the equivalent of salsa – yoga dancing for the uninformed. So after a few years fight she passed and then my hip pain set in. It was easy to blow off the cancer concept due to the fact I’m 10 foot tall and bulletproof…  I had been up to this point.


My entire life I had been active and this hip thing was hurting my activities. I went to my general doctor only to get a pill that worked worse than I what I was already on. I iced, foam rolled, had professional massage appointments, multiple trips to the chiropractor over weeks and weeks. I never seemed to get any better. Things did get worse. After long shooting days I would crawl to bed or use the dirty clothes bin as an ole-lady walker. It was painful, but I didn’t have cancer. I figured it was just a muscle issue because that is what the orthopedic specialist said it would probably be. He made a list from most likely to not very likely and cancer was not on that list. The items listed where:

  • Torn Left Hip labrum
  • Muscular tear or strain
  • bursitis
  • arthritis

Like I mentioned before, no where did my orthopedic doctor mention cancer. He did want me to get a MRI with a cortisone shot. I put it off thinking a torn labium was the problem and I could not schedule a surgery for months and there is no use looking at my inner bits without the opportunity for surgery. I continued my life of massage therapy to remove my knotted up muscles. I also quit running and started looking for a bicycle. I found one on my wife’s birthday in June 2014. I got on it and rode for double digit miles the first day. I was so excited I had an activity that didn’t piss off my hip. The freedom of getting on and losing the pain that came with walking was great.
Two months passed and my hip was no better and no worse. I had really enjoyed my time on the bike. It had been years since some asshole took mine and rode off into the sunset. That had to look fun being most folks around my parts don’t fit on a XL bicycle frame. Yes, I’m still working on that forgiveness thing. I don’t have it down quite yet. So I was out riding at night and I found a cool little ditch to practice shifting gears quick and pulling myself out of a hole. I was super cool up to the tipping point. I came up the side at a diagonal and missed a gear shift sending me toppling right. If it would have been my left side I would have just stuck out my leg and rolled back a bit, but it was my right side. My right hip was the injured hip and made it hard to throw one leg over my bike frame to get on. I was babying it and didn’t know it till I landed on my hip and crash, boom, bang there was a crap load of pain. I was lying at the bottom of a ditch with my beloved bike frame on top of me. There is some sort of metaphor there but I just don’t know what to read of it.
I made it 3 days before I dug up my MRI orders. It was 93 days passed the prescription date and I had to call the orthopedic office to reschedule. I was ready for answers but wasn’t sure about the cortisone shot. After weighing the options I went with it. It was August 21, 2015 when I walked into my local radiologist shop. The shot and scan were easy going. This MRI would be my first ride in the big doughnut, but not my last. I tried to scan the screen right after my MRI and see if I could see a labium tear or anything else. I saw nothing out of the ordinary and figured I would be feeling better once the shot kicked in. I was right, the next few days brought me relief that had been on vacation for a while.
The weekend came and went and on my hip started to feel better but not perfect. I really wanted my radiology report so I called and dropped by for a copy. I ran out to the car to see what my problem was. I read it twice before falling into tears. Right acetabular fracture and also a mass” we some of the first things I gathered from the notes. I then came across this little gem of life changing information, “ Given the patient’s age and appearance, differential considerations would be led with multiple myeloma/plasmacytoma, lymphoma or sarcoma.” Well crap Lymphoma is what Zumba Christina had and I had just attended funeral services for my friend James Ragan who lost his fight with osteosarcoma. I knew the hill I was facing was huge when I looked up myeloma/plasmacytoma and it pretty much told me to go write up my will.
The next 72 hours were a train wreck at best. Sleepless nights, blog post, my self imposed Facebook prohibition was lifted and the prayers began. We drove to Wimberley Texas to visit one of my new doctors and while we were there James Ragan’s mom called and let me know my ass needed to be at MD Anderson by 6:30 the next morning. So we stopped off at picked up some clothing and a toothbrush between San Marcos and Houston. We arrived around 4 and I found a nice place to sleep before labs opened. From that day on I learned that cancer had more to do with hurdles tossed in your way than with simply taking some medication that might kill you if the cancer didn’t get you first.

If it would not have been for the Ragan family and their involvement with MD Anderson I would not have been in their care so fast. There is a reason God put them in my life.


As I went thru chemo treatment I kept riding my bike. My oncologist and mom would talk about my safety and ability to ride a bike. He said it was okay for me to go and push as hard as I can. So that is what I want to do. I did a lot of research on what it took mentally and physically. I also read a lot of trail reports on what gear is must have and what can be left behind. I don’t mind being a rookie on a bike. I’m looking forward to it. I figure I have been in and out of a lot fighting cancer. My mentally is stronger at a cost of leaving my physical weaker.

I was receiving chemotherapy at the same time I was trying to heal my fractured hip bone. My doctor had one concern and that was for me to not die from lymphoma. He didn’t really care if I could walk right or how well my hip healed. All subsequent MRI scans show a star style bone reconstruction. I have stuck with my bike and with yoga as my 2 main rehab activities. The yoga keeps me limber, the bike keeps me sane.

Sure I would love to go out in the wilderness and disappear for a few days in the back country, but there are a lot of things that have to be done for that to happen.

In between, and during many of my chemotherapy rounds I would get on my bike and ride. You don’t get to think about much but the bike when you are on a ride. The brain is functioning on balance and direction when the lungs and muscles are trying to reach a happy medium of converting oxygen to carbon dioxide. Its really a great feeling to ride a bike.

This is the trailer for the film that first perked my love of bike packing. One day I would love to have the chance to ride the Tour Divide. Between now and then I would love to start off my rookie season by riding the AZT 300, CTR 500, and then come back the next year for the AZT750. That would be a hell of a rookie season.

-Derrick

Blending Green – Smoothie Time

Yes, I continue to smoothie daily.

A few folks ask me what I put in my smoothies and that is why I put together this post.

Organic Backyard Garden

This fall when I was running my chemotherapy treatments I started to plant steads in out raised beds the night before we left. Well it was more like at 3am right after packing was done.  I would toss it out there so it would give me something to look forward to coming home to. It was a great surprise to get back home and see new baby sprouts growing.

One of my doctors wanted me to stop smoothies until completed my final round of chemotherapy. This was hard to do. I was a smoothie junkie and had made the decision that no smoothie taste too bad. Remember medicine that is good for you taste bad. That line from Marry Poppins pops into mind now. You can thank me later if “Spoon Full Of Sugar” gets stuck in your head.

I really try to vary what goes into my smoothies from week to week if not day to day. I take in 64 oz of smoothie goodness everyday.

Take care and smoothie on.

-Derrick

Ringing out my last chemotherapy round

I completed my 6th, and last, round of chemotherapy on January 10, 2015

As much as I hated starting chemo, it was almost just as bad stopping the process. Sure, I was happy to have my permanent I.V. removed. With the picc line out I would be able to shower without wrapping part of my body in saran wrap. Without a picc line and without chemotherapy scheduled my body is on its own.  By my mid chemo scan we could tell the drugs were working… “What happens when the drugs are stopped?” is a question often floating around in my brain.

We just wait and scan, and after waiting some more we will scan again

I have a pet scan scheduled on February 17th. We will be running the scan and having a doctors visit the same day at MD Anderson in Houston. I have a full plate of editing work between now and then so I don’t have to think about the scan all that much. If I have much time to do so it starts to scare the crap out of me. Yea, go a head and send me a note or a message to “not worry about it” or “wait till you get the results to think what the next steps might be” but that is easy to say. Yea, I’m staying positive and praying every day. I realize in the last 12 months I have had a cancer tumor and it has gone away. I pray that all tumors will forever stay away. I have a lot to do in life and to be honest I really don’t feel like dying anytime soon.

I didn’t have a video post since my last trip for round 6 so I’m posting it here.

I rang the bell

When I started my rounds of chemo I was unaware of the bell. Here is a photo of the bell that hangs in the Ambulatory Treatment Center.
Chemo bell
When you complete your chemotherapy they let you ring the bell. They have the same setup for those who take radiation. I had mixed feelings about ringing the bell. It is there to celebrate an end, but for me it was a beginning. It is a start of no drugs and letting my body take care of itself.
It worked out like this. I completed my chemo and handed in my bag. I received my white blood booster and then was shipped up to the 8th floor to have my picc IV line removed. The process was fast and we were sent on our way. I was never asked if I wanted to ring the bell, but Kendra thought I should. In the end I’m glad she had me ask If I could. Standing there I knew I could not look at her or I would start to cry. It was one of those moments you know going in it will be emotional, and it was. I tried to get in and out, ring a ding and move on. The nurse who helped us celebrate was not satisfied with my ringing so she helped me out. She went on to let us know she has 5 family members fighting cancer.

I run into folks like this nurse all the time. It might be that I’m just in-tune when someone reaches out with cancer care or the fact God is salt and peppering these wonderful folks in my path. Either way I enjoy the love and affection found in the stories that are shared with me.

This road is hard

I try and try like hell to eat right and make the right decisions day in, day out. This is hard, really tough. One can only have so many green smoothies while trying to gain weight. I’m sitting around 195 pounds and that’s good for me. I’m just trying to make all the right decisions and not think to much about it. Wish me luck with that.

On a positive note we have been blessed with plenty of work lately. I have been spending a few hours a day at Keiwit Offshore in Ingleside Texas.

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We crossed paths with the Browns last week at Coffee Waves. They play music and I had the opportunity to record their studio album in 2000. Here is a short clip of last week’s show.

Browns – Live Folk Music at Coffe Waves | Port Aransas from Big Box Pro Wedding Video on Vimeo.

This week I’m shooting their 2 hour performance. I always have a great time when I get to mix video and music in one production. Well off to bed for now. I’m tired of rambling on and will try to get another post out soon.  Thanks for being a part of all this.

-Derrick

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Pediavance works for me

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This Pediavance stuff was a good find. Each round of chemotherapy I end up loosing fluids. If I only knew about this stuff in my college drinking days.

We will be packing and heading back to Corpus Christi today.

Watch “Chemotherapy round 6” on YouTube

Chemotherapy round 6: http://youtu.be/eL1nE3b2kRw

This video is an update by Derrick Perrin on Derrick Perrin’s 6th and final round of Chemotherapy at MD Anderson.

 

Chemo Souvenirs

On this chemotherapy journey I have picked up some souvenirs along the way. My first came on round one. I was staying inpatient at MD Anderson and they had a reward program for folks who walked. Kendra and I walked a lot so I got lots of colorful dots on my door. At the end I traded in dots for bandanas. Today in my home office I have a red and green bandana hanging from the wall. I’m guessing you could use these to cover your hairless head. Mine were autographed by my amazing nursing staff so they hang on the wall for now.

The next souvenir that has been accumulating in safety pins. I know, not as exciting as nurse autographed red and green bandanas, but trophies none the less. The process of wearing a backpack full of chemotherapy is unique. You have a backpack with IV bags inside and two bungee type umbilical cords that stretch out to my pic line.Without tethering the bungee to your clothing you setup a tug-a-thon with your chemo bag and your skin that the pic line is sutured to.  wpid-2015-01-09-13.07.44.jpg.jpegSo we introduce the safety pin. It attaches to your shirt and prevents arm failure.wpid-wp-1412106258114.jpeg

The safety pins get collected and we start up the next round with a new pin. I believe two pins have done double duty since we only have 3 right now.

Derrick Perrin's safety pin colleciton

My collection of chemo safety pins

Should I keep them or try out what Kyle did? Check out what one man can do with a red paper clip:

http://oneredpaperclip.blogspot.com/

There is always the option to eBay them. I’m just happy to have received my last chemo safety pin and be looking at the end of my treatments. If you have ideas on what can be done with used safety pins please comment below. I’m up for suggestions.
Thanks for the love along the way,
Derrick

Fresh Coffee is Good

Coffee, Is it good for you or is it evil? Well that just depends on who you talk to. Like everything too much of a good think will be bad for you. Don’t drink it on an empty stomach and don’t drink crappy coffee.

So after watching a few online videos Kendra and I got really interested in fresh coffee. Were not talking freshly ground, we are talking freshly roasted coffee. We watched some clips that were very informative. I could write out a lot of facts and bullet points here but its best if you watch

So that got us going on finding a local supplier who could roast green coffee and deliver 24 hour fresh roasted beans. We found a guy who roasted in his apartment and we were hooked. Sure it cost more than the “dead” coffee we bought at the local grocery store. We looked at the pros and cons and freshly roasted coffee beat the low cost vacuum sealed bags from the grocery.

We found our local coffee connection was on a break and we needed a new source for fresh roasted goods. So while sitting for chemotherapy treatments at MD Anderson I made it my personal mission to find a roaster in Houston, Texas. I did and their name is Java Pura. You can find their website at : http://www.javapura.com/
We bought some today and will be roasting it tomorrow.

JAVA PURA featured on FOX 26 Morning News from SKYLINE MOVEMENT on Vimeo.

If you are digging coffee videos here is a good one about Bicycle Coffee

Drink happy,

Derrick Perrin

Medical stats are looking good.

My blood pressure that use to be high is still holding steady. At the start of chemo I weighed in at 190. This is good. Well off to bed with this noisy chemo pump.

 

-Dp

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.

Setting up for Christmas

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#vscocam

We are on chemo break and about to be on Christmas break, and we are not taking anything too serious.  Well Kendra has plans for home made chocolate covered cherries and that is serous business.

For our business, Big Box Pro Video Productions, we have completed a few commercial shoots and wrapping up a wedding for the perfect stocking stuffer.

We have been praying for everyone’s safe travels and for people to keep the birth of Jesus the center of attention. I know how hard it can be to be distracted by a fat man in a red suit.

Hope you have a great week. Don’t take it too serious, we are not.
Derrick

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