15 January 2016 4:29:58 PM AEDT
Jo Celso of Team Cinelli Chrome beat Hodgkin's lymphoma only to be sidelined two years later by a debilitating crash. Here's what the San Diego native has learned about resilience—and how she returned to riding better than ever.
[Original Source: Bicycling.com
After a race, I was rubbing my shoulders and noticed a tiny bump on my neck. I thought it was a muscle strain. My doctor did a biopsy and took out a lymph node. A couple of weeks later I found out I had cancer.
I posted on Facebook: I have cancer. WTF. People thought it was weird, but it's stressful to tell one person that you have cancer. I didn't want to go through it with everyone. It would have been too emotionally draining.
Chemotherapy was a roller coaster. Some days I was incredibly depressed. If I hadn't had cycling, I would have felt aimless. A lot of my teammates encouraged me and asked me to hang out. The community was great.
I rode multiple days a week, up to four hours at a time. I'd feel fine, but once I got out there, the same effort cost a lot more energy.
Yeah, I thought about giving up. My body was trashed after chemo. It took about three months before I was at baseline again. You have to realize it's going to be a long climb to where you were.
On the bike, part of getting really good is losing a lot. You have to face challenges and come back, and learn to not become defeated.
It blows me away how resilient my body is—to be weak and bedridden, only to build back to an even stronger version who travels around the world to race bikes.
I'm speckled with scars from road rash and chemo, but I'm thankful for the vessel I'm in and how it enables a beautiful life for me.