LIFE CAN CHANGE IN AN INSTANT...
March 20, 2014, was a date that forever changed my life when I heard the words, "you have cancer!" I was 44 years old at the time and the news hit me with complete disbelief and shock. I was simply too young and too healthy for this to happen. It's very difficult to explain the emotions, but once the initial shock of those three words goes away, it's followed by a sense of instant focus of the things that matter in life, then a "what do I do now? like affect. All of these feelings occurring in a matter minutes. Needless to say, it's a scary experience with a whirlwind of emotions.
I remember the drive home from the doctors' office that day with my wife. I was thinking, how could this happen to me? I've been healthy all my life! Matter of fact, I've never even broken a bone in my body, let alone even had a tooth cavity. In my mind, these things were supposed to happen first and if cancer were going to happen, it certainly does not present itself to a healthy 44-year-old. But cancer does not discriminate. It never has, and it never will.
FAITH, FAMILY, FRIENDS - FIND THE GOOD AND BE POSITIVE
Once the initial shock wears off, it does not take long for a cancer patient to realize they are on a journey. The journey is full of ups and downs, along with trials and tribulations. Even though we are not in control of the disease itself we do control how we choose to live with the disease, and I wanted to make the best of it. I put faith in god first and discovered a whole new appreciation for the amazing family and friends I was already so fortunate to have. In addition to this, I made a personal promise to myself that no matter what news I received about the status of my cancer, I would make an effort to find something positive or take something good from it.
THE START OF A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP
In June 2014 I met Doctor Jonathan Yamzon and the wonderful people at City of Hope, a leading cancer treatment center based in Duarte, California. There are no words I could use to explain my amazing experience with Dr. Yamzon and City of Hope, except to say I knew I had the best team of people in my corner for my treatment. Dr. Yamzon and his staff at City of Hope were obvious experts in their field and professional, but also friendly, confident, positive, and reassuring. I knew something special was in the works when I learned during one of my visits with Dr. Yamzon that he was an avid recreational cyclist.
A PROMISE IS MADE BETWEEN DR. AND PATIENT
On November 6, 2014, just prior to having a surgical procedure performed on me by Dr. Yamzon, we made a promise. After my surgery and recovery, we were going to ride "the mountain" together.
THE MOUNTAIN AND THE RIDE
"The Mountain" or "GMR" as it is widely known to locals is an approximate 50 mile route, part of which travels uphill to Mount Baldy Village, to an elevation of 4,193 feet. The ride is often part of the Amgen Tour of California.
On February 21, 2015, Dr. Yamzon and I followed through with our promise and rode to the top of "the mountain." Although we had both rode the route before (never together), there was something special about this ride because it had a greater meaning. Symbolically the mountain represented the uphill battle and difficult journey one goes through when diagnosed with cancer.
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
I'm blessed and fortunate that to date I remain cancer free. God is with me and I have an amazing Dr. who works for an amazing cancer research and treatment facility. I still see Dr. Yamzon at least twice a year at his office to monitor my health, but we meet more often now for rides that often start at the base of "the mountain" and travel to the top. Dr. Yamzon is more than just my Doctor, he's my friend and is also a valuable member of The Centurions Cycling Club. His involvement in the club all but ensures the journey up "the mountain" will continue as we "domestique" for others.
The climb up Glendora Mountain Road. On November 6, 2014, Dr. and Patient made a promise to one another. The ride would have symbolic meaning.
February 21, 2015, almost 4 months after surgery, Kyle Bailey and Dr. Jonathan Yamzon rode to the top of Glendora Mountain Road.
On June 18, 2016, Dr. Yamzon and Kyle Bailey rode to the top of the mountain as founding members of Team 3C