Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I have news and its not a crash or competitive accomplishment....

Friends and Teammates,

I realized today I have not done a good job keeping a group of people I care about informed.

Here goes...

Earlier this year I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Melanoma (Cancer).  This had been progressing since late last summer.  Stage 3 means it has spread to a lymph node(s).  This is not Stage 4 which means it is throughout the body.  My stage is not as dire as that, but I do have cancer and it's serious..

I have had three surgeries since September.  The last was on March 4th and was quite invasive.  Essentially they took out my lymph-system and nodes in my left check and neck.  It took 7.5 hours.  I am still recovering from that and all of the secondary issues and indignities that go with it.

Its a funny thing because I feel ok and I am fairly active, even going for rides.  I just don't have my full energy.  It also a funny thing because my life is better.  I am off-work and keeping quite busy with family and some projects.

I don't have to tell this group how important being able to ride is.  I am blessed with loving family, awesome doctors and nurses, a supportive company, and incredible people in general.  But to have a ride to look forward to is....(I don't know how to describe it).  I am grateful for every turn of the wheel..every crunch of gravel...every bump in the trail...all of it.

Next step for me is what is called immunotherapy (not chemo).  These drugs are given through infusions and basically boost your immune system to fight certain types of cells (cancer).  They are still quite strong and can have serious side-effects, but not like chemo.  My doctors tells me I am young and strong.  Who knew!  This all starts next week and goes on through June every three-weeks.

Really just wanted you all to know.  I am not particularly courageous, people go through much worse than this.  And the prognosis is quite good as I see it.

I will say this.  Wear sunscreen!  This cancer is a direct result of trauma to my skin from the sun.  And get your skin checked regularly! Once you get to a later stage in life any new or growing moles are suspect.  Mine just looked like big freckles.

Take care and hope to see you out on the bike.

Chris Baker

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