Every Four Weeks

04.15.2008 | 11:58 am

Susan has an appointment with the oncologist today. She has one every four weeks, to get a dose of Zometa and to get a blood sample taken.

Then, in a few days, we should hear back from the doctor’s office on whether Susan’s tumor markers have stayed good, or if they’ve started going up again.

They’ll go up again eventually. We know that. And when they do, Susan will have to start chemo again. We’re both trying to be prepared for that. But I don’t think we ever really are. When Susan has to start chemo again, it’s going to suck. Bad.

Most of the time, to tell the truth, we don’t even talk about when that eventuality comes up, because we’d rather live in the present — where, for now, Susan’s pretty much stopped using crutches altogether and gets around really well with a cane. And — this is very cool — she can take several steps with no assistance whatsoever.

Still, though, sometimes I get can’t help but think about how at some point Susan’s going to have to start chemo again, and the suffering will start for her again, and it sucks all the wind out of me.

I think that’s why I’ve currently got two different posts for this blog — ones that are supposed to be funny — half-finished on the computer. It’s weird, really: I stalled out on the first one and thought, “Well, maybe this isn’t a good idea after all,” and I started writing something else.

That second one stalled out, too.

I’ve been writing this blog for three years and it’s usually so easy for me (that’s the big secret to my blog: it’s actually not hard work). So when I’m staring at the screen and I’ve got nothing to say, I keep asking myself, “What’s wrong with me?” And — strangely — it often doesn’t occur to me that maybe I’m not funny today because I’m worried and anxious about my wife.

Our 20th wedding anniversary is this August. Two days after we get back from Leadville. We’re getting close to the tipping point where we will have spent more of our lives married to each other than not. During this time, I’ve become somewhat attached to her.

So you’ll have to excuse me today — and probably again in another four weeks — while I worry a little bit.


  1. Comment by Orbea Girl | 04.15.2008 | 12:11 pm

    Your posts generally make me laugh but this one brought tears to my eyes. I don’t know what I’d do if I was in your position but I’m pretty sure I’d worry a lot. So, here’s hoping (and praying)that further chemo for Susan is a long way off.

  2. Comment by bikemike | 04.15.2008 | 12:11 pm

    again, again, again and again,
    God bless the Nelson family.

  3. Comment by Boz | 04.15.2008 | 12:14 pm

    I know first hand how much it sucks to have your every minute of every day controlled by healtjh issues. I had more bad news myself yesterday, but not to the depth you 2 have to deal with. Let’s hope for light at the end of the tunnel, a positive light. That would not suck for a change.

  4. Comment by Lori | 04.15.2008 | 12:35 pm

    Fatty – After reading your blog for a couple of years, I am amazed at the depths to which my heart aches for your family. Maybe it has been your humor, maybe it has been your obvious love for your family, maybe it’s because I was the child of a mother with cancer, I don’t know but you have draw me into your life. And I am glad that you have let me have that little peek into your world. So if you need to vent, to rage, to be sad, to be worried, to be whatever, do it. And do it over and over and over. Just know that we are here to read and then to laugh, cry, pray, whatever, with you.

  5. Comment by Tez | 04.15.2008 | 12:42 pm

    I am new to reading your blog and boy it sure does hit home. For me it was my mom that had cancer and also my SOs sister. I feel for you as I know what it is like to watch someone you love live on every breath of every second and the hope that this will go away. My mom had Multiple Myeloma and was on the Zometa treatments every four weeks for about 20 min a time. Make sure you have Susan watch for any tooth or jaw pain. Zometa does a great job and almost can do too good of job in the jaw area. Make sure you tell her doctor ASAP if this happens!

    God speed.

  6. Comment by Mocougfan | 04.15.2008 | 12:45 pm

    Lot’s of sympathy for you friend. I can’t imagine how that would suck. I do appreciate you letting us be part of it tho. Definately one of the reasons I love your blog.

  7. Comment by gus | 04.15.2008 | 12:50 pm

    I lost my favorite Aunt , 3 years ago, to Lymphoma. She was the one who used to tell me to be careful as I started the 30 mile ride back home. I know what you feel, helplessness, despair, rage, and a feeling of being useless. Just hug her and be there. Nothing else can be done. I will think of both of you, good luck. Peace.

  8. Comment by UphillBattle | 04.15.2008 | 12:50 pm

    Storming heaven with prayers for good results today. It must be unbearable living with that cloud hanging over your heads. One day at a time! Excuse, while I get a bit spiritual…”So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
    Continued prayers for strength and healing.
    Love to all

  9. Comment by joe | 04.15.2008 | 12:51 pm

    Fatty, I don’t fully understand what you are going though, as my wife is only having issues with a hip replacement surgery, but I do understand that underlying elephant in the room. Kim had her hip replaced last year, she is in her early 30’s, and had to have it replaced due to it breaking when she was just a kid. The surgery went great for the most part, her recovery was shooting right along, she even had a rocking 18 mile bike ride where she started getting all competative with me about her speed. Then three days after that ride she got an infection, she had to have two more surgeries to clear that up, and she had iv antibiotics at home for 6 weeks. She’s been on oral antibiotics since then, and goes off in May, so the big elephant comes into our house pretty soon too. Mind you, I know it’s not Chemo, and I know it’s not nearly as serious, but I do understand the anticipation of that “uh oh” moment when things are going to change, her next step is the antibiotic stump that has to be in for 6 weeks, then another new hip, and all that recovery for what will then be the third time in less than a year.

    How is your wife’s hip doing, by the way? Hopefully this run of chemo, when it starts, will be the one that knocks it out totally, and she can move forward.

    Oh, by the way, I started wearing a Livestrong bracelet due to this site, Cancer is one of those things we truly can all agree on.

    Good luck, and happy pedaling!


  10. Comment by Epic Adam | 04.15.2008 | 12:53 pm

    Good luck with the appointment. Keep fighting this out.

  11. Comment by notsofasteddie | 04.15.2008 | 1:01 pm

    It’s amazing how you can feel compelled to write to someone who you don’t know and who you’ll never meet,and yet when you know that person is feeling down,that can bring you down too..Best wishes to you and Susan.Thinking about you both.
    Take care guys

  12. Comment by johnnyk | 04.15.2008 | 1:05 pm

    Your family will be in many prayers. And don’t worry about the occasional, not-funny post. No one can be funny every day.

    Good luck.

  13. Comment by Tim D | 04.15.2008 | 1:13 pm

    Thing, stuff, you know. Hang in there. Know there are loads of us out here wishing you all well.

    I’ve written and deleted a load of stuff. I cant put into words what we feel. Keep strong.

    The Diamond Family

  14. Comment by tim | 04.15.2008 | 1:39 pm

    As always, good vibes a plenty to you, susan and kids.

  15. Comment by Philly Jen | 04.15.2008 | 1:45 pm

    Big hug, hoping the news is good. Thinking pink!

  16. Comment by Josmeh | 04.15.2008 | 1:48 pm

    Susan and you are always in my prayers.

    It would be more odd if you did not have to step back every once in a while.

  17. Comment by Mike from Melbourne | 04.15.2008 | 1:49 pm

    Elden, we went through the same thing with my mum and the only advice I can give is that you remain positive. The negative thoughts don’t help at all.

    Keep your chin up and start planning something really special for your anniversary.

  18. Comment by Bob | 04.15.2008 | 1:50 pm

    Thoughts and prayers. God Bless.

  19. Comment by Chris from Philly | 04.15.2008 | 1:53 pm

    Many thoughts and prayers to you and yours. May you win Leadville and enjoy your happiest anniversary yet.

  20. Comment by Danny | 04.15.2008 | 2:06 pm

    All the best to you and Susan. You know how to beat that elephant? One bite at a time.

  21. Comment by TexasGal | 04.15.2008 | 2:18 pm

    Adding my prayers and thoughts to the mix. I hope that everything goes well for you and your family

  22. Comment by bikesgonewild | 04.15.2008 | 2:29 pm

    …fatty…i send you & the family as much good energy & love as my big ol’ surgically repaired heart can produce right now…lost my mom to that insidious fricking disease & my new friend spencer sorelegs & his family, over at puddin’ cyclist are dealing w/ the same situation as you folks…
    …don’t know what else to say, but like the rest of the cycling community that weighs in, i give you guys my best…

  23. Comment by KT | 04.15.2008 | 2:35 pm

    Elden (here’s my serious voice): you don’t have to be funny all the time. Life certainly isn’t. You’ve got a place here on the intertubes where you can let it out without letting anyone down.

    I’m with Tim D– I wrote a bunch of other stuff here and deleted it because, frankly, it didn’t seem like “enough”. So I’m sending all my good karma and prayers to the benevolent deities, from Oregon to Utah.

  24. Comment by Amy | 04.15.2008 | 2:59 pm

    I don’t think you can be funny all the time. Cancer is one thing that has affected almost everyone – my prayers are with you and your family. Congrats on the upcoming 20 year anniversary – hope you have something special planned.

  25. Comment by M2 | 04.15.2008 | 3:06 pm

    Peace, Love, Hope and Strength to you and yours.

  26. Comment by sans auto | 04.15.2008 | 3:16 pm

    Our prayers are with you… They have been for awhile and they will continue to be.

  27. Comment by Born4Lycra | 04.15.2008 | 3:24 pm

    Team FC we love you.

  28. Comment by Caren | 04.15.2008 | 3:45 pm

    I’ve now been on both sides on this fence. The caregiver and the survivor – they both suck! BUT I think it is suckier being the caregiver because you just want to make it all better but you can’t – you can just be there and offer to do what you can to make it better. BUT don’t underestimate how much being there means – IT means more than you can possibly know.

    The best advice I received and have passed on is to take things one day at a time. Lavish in the good times and know that the bad times will get better.

    Be Positive and BELIEVE!!!

    ps. I’ll continue to send positive karma from New Mexico (and some green chile wrapped in a wonderful tortilla thoughts too) to be used on days just like these!

  29. Comment by Hamish A | 04.15.2008 | 3:49 pm

    We’re not just here for the laughs FC. You’ve got a lot of friends all around the World pulling for you and yours and while I may not be a religious man I’m praying for good things for Susan, you & the kids.

    ‘Manly’ hugs to you all.

  30. Comment by Clydesteve | 04.15.2008 | 3:53 pm

    Elden – No advice, you are forgiven for the sin of seriousness & you and Susan are in my prayers.


  31. Comment by Barb | 04.15.2008 | 3:53 pm

    You know you two have the world’s biggest support group going for you here on this post. You are getting prayers, karma, vibes and all the other methods of contributing good thoughts and well wishes from all over the world. Use them to bouy you up when you need it. Life isn’t always funny and we all know it. Hang in there.

  32. Comment by kentucky joe | 04.15.2008 | 4:32 pm


    You entertain us so often that we almost forget what your family lives with each day. You need to remind us of the dignity and positive outlook you (and so many of your readers) and Susan have. There are so many cliches that come to mind but there is a common thread here, on this blog community you have created, that bares the best of humanity and keeps me humble.
    This is one of your best posts.

  33. Comment by Yukirin Boy | 04.15.2008 | 4:45 pm

    We are honoured to be let into you and your family’s life and be part of this (not so?) little group of supporters. I agree with Kentucky Joe above – a fine post.

  34. Comment by J&H | 04.15.2008 | 5:30 pm

    Dear FC,

    I have jsut run across your blog this last week. The more I read, the more entwined I became in your situation. Living in a family that is entangled in this disease, I know what the pressure is like, the waiting, the wondering…
    My entire heart goes out to you, Susan and Elden. Keep on trucking, FC, and we are going to keep you in our prayers.
    Never before have I laughed and cried so many times in the same sitting as when reading your stuff.

  35. Comment by cyclingphun.blogspot.com | 04.15.2008 | 5:34 pm

    I think I feel connected in a weird way on account my father died of cancer. One of my biggest fears in life is that my wife will get cancer, or (arguably a more likely scenario) that she’d have to live through me having it. A big part of me wonders which is worse, it is just very different pain. The cancer eats away the body of the person carrying the evil burden, but it eats away the soul of the people who care for the person who has it. The effects are so complex and so devastating on so many levels. I pray that Susan, you, and your family pull through, and pull through stronger than ever at that. God Bless.
    On a slightly happy note, when is your anniversary? My wife and I celebrate 10 years 8/8.

  36. Comment by Lifesgreat | 04.15.2008 | 5:49 pm

    Fatty and family:

    Wishing you peace.

    Keeping you in my prayers.

  37. Comment by Rant | 04.15.2008 | 5:58 pm


    You and Susan are in our thoughts. My dad went through the hell of chemo for a couple of years, and it was never a pretty sight. It’s so hard to see someone you love suffering from such an awful disease. I hope it’s a very, very long time, or, better yet, never before Susan hears that the cancer cells have reappeared.

    Best wishes.

    - Rant

  38. Comment by Michele | 04.15.2008 | 6:14 pm

    Sending good thoughts your way. I have a good friend who may be starting chemo soon and just sent her this article: http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-starve5apr05,1,3944958.story

  39. Comment by joliver3 | 04.15.2008 | 6:18 pm

    I second or third or whatever everyone above who told you that you don’t need to apologize for not feeling funny. I think you and your family are handling things way better than I would. I’m amazed you’re able to write funny stuff as often as you do.

    Hang in there, and give our best wishes to Susan.

    Oh, and here’s a totally off-topic ego boost for you from the Michigan Mountain Biking Association bulletin board: http://mmba.org/viewtopic.php?t=74292

  40. Comment by Jodi | 04.15.2008 | 6:38 pm

    Love to you from Brooklyn – All the time.

  41. Comment by aussie kev | 04.15.2008 | 6:51 pm

    hope the tests come back good for you both – keep well k :)

  42. Comment by Rocky | 04.15.2008 | 7:10 pm

    We are with you. Everyday. All of us.

  43. Comment by kellene | 04.15.2008 | 9:17 pm

    You know the drill…text me with the news…
    Everyday we pray for the Nelsons and the many others that are suffering that we know. Too many.
    You know where we are when you need us!
    I anticipate good things….believe that until differet.
    Hugs to all from the unaffectionate side of the family!

  44. Comment by stewOZ & miss | 04.15.2008 | 9:43 pm

    We are thinking of you and your family and sending nothing but positive vibes and good karma.

  45. Comment by Emily | 04.15.2008 | 9:57 pm

    You are doing a great job at the stuff that is most important. Don’t worry about the blog posts! You worry as much as you need to.
    I hope I run into you at Leadville.

  46. Comment by Anthony | 04.15.2008 | 10:00 pm

    Prayers from Mountain View, CA.

  47. Comment by PeterUK | 04.15.2008 | 10:01 pm

    Fatty, having been through the same thing I KNOW how you probably feel right now, I can’t convey my thoughts and feelings in writing because I can never find the words, even now. It’s obvious that you have a lot of Friends and Supporters here, we’re all routing for you and Susan.
    Take your time Mate, we’ll all be waiting for you.
    May you find the inner strength to conquer this.
    All the very best to you and your Family.

  48. Comment by Anna | 04.15.2008 | 10:25 pm

    My thoughts are with you, your wife and family.

    Warmest regards from Sweden

  49. Comment by Mike | 04.16.2008 | 1:05 am

    Hey Fatty, everyone gets their funny 5 minuets, I for one am happy to put up with yours. You need to vent? Go right ahead. Everyone who comments opn this blog is here for you i’m sure.

  50. Comment by Mike | 04.16.2008 | 1:06 am

    Hey Fatty, everyone gets their funny 5 minuets, I for one am happy to put up with yours. You need to vent? Go right ahead. Everyone who comments on this blog is here for you i’m sure.

  51. Comment by buckythedonkey | 04.16.2008 | 2:03 am

    Just come back from a cycling trip with a huge climb (longer than anything I’d ever done before) on the penultimate day. On the morning of the big hill I called my wife who asked, “are you in pink today?”

    I certainly was. How could I fail with that jersey on my back? Isn’t it curious how a family of complete strangers can end up shaping our common thinking? It’s a example of the brilliance of the human condition, I think, and for that I owe you a debt of gratitude. The Nelson family are an inspiration to us all, as is plain to see.

    So thanks, and a big hug and a lot of love to the lot of you.

  52. Comment by Little1 | 04.16.2008 | 3:03 am

    cancer CAN be beaten!

    I keep you in my daily prayers, and even my folks who have never read your site ask after Susan on a regular basis! So just know that the “web” of support is bigger and stronger than you could ever imagine!

  53. Comment by Wes | 04.16.2008 | 3:58 am

    We are with you in spirit, my bruther. Hang tough…

  54. Comment by FliesOnly | 04.16.2008 | 4:16 am

    You write what you want, when you want. We’ll all read whatever you write…sometimes we’ll laugh…sometimes we will get a little teary-eyed.
    We understand.

  55. Comment by bikeuphill9 | 04.16.2008 | 4:25 am


    I’ll race this weekend with you in my thoughts and prayers. Keep going and we’ll keep laughing and crying with you.


  56. Comment by Mauricio | 04.16.2008 | 4:28 am

    fatty i have only been reading your blog for a few months, but i already feel the connection of a friend of fatty. i seriously hope that Susan`s chemo is far far away, and be sure that all of us are supporting you.
    you are really an inspiring man, and im not married, but when that happens, i can only hope to be half the husband you are to your wife

  57. Comment by randomhigh | 04.16.2008 | 5:23 am

    Sending you and your family good wishes and prayers…

  58. Comment by mtnbker | 04.16.2008 | 5:39 am

    We love you.

  59. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 04.16.2008 | 7:00 am

    Yeah, that’s a lot of pressure to have to revisit every 28 days…

    You should figure out something a little crazy and fun for you and Susan to do every month before she goes in to get the tests.

    Oh, I know–a mountantain bike camping trip to moab, white rim, gooseberry, etc.!

  60. Comment by LoboinVA | 04.16.2008 | 7:23 am

    someone sent this to me this morning, perhaps only to pass it on.
    Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best
    friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, work
    shirt and a hat; and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, and
    dish-towel in the other. It was the time for fixing things: a curtain rod,
    the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things
    we keep.

    It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All
    that re-fixing, re-heating leftovers, renewing; I wanted just once to be
    wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew
    there’d always be more.

    But when my mother died, and I was standing in that clear
    morning light in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the
    pain of learning that sometimes there isn’t any more.

    Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes
    away…never to return. So… While we have it, it’s best we love it… And
    care for it… And fix it when it’s broken… And heal it when it’s sick.

    This is true: For marriage… And old cars… And children
    with bad report cards… Dogs and cats with bad hips… And aging
    parents… And grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it,
    because we are worth it. Some things we keep, like a best friend that moved
    away or a classmate we grew up with.

    There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special… And so, we keep them

  61. Comment by Shannon | 04.16.2008 | 8:01 am

    My best to you, Fatty, and especially to Susan. I used to read your blog regularly on msn, and was interrupted by a host of my own family issues. Things calmed down, I looked at my gut, said “Oh man, I’m a fat cyclist! hey–I wonder how Elden’s blog is doing?” So I recently looked you back up, caught up, and stayed. Reading it now is still such a pleasure: a more complex, sometimes less chuckle-filled, but somehow fuller pleasure.

  62. Comment by Daddystyle | 04.16.2008 | 9:04 am

    The Stanhope’s thoughts are with you always.

    It’s ok to cry, each tear is a little like pulling a thorn as it release’s pain.

    may have read that here but it still applies.

    Livestrong and our best to Susan and the clan

  63. Comment by Denise | 04.16.2008 | 9:17 am

    Prayers, good karma and love coming your way from Missouri.

  64. Comment by XCTiger | 04.16.2008 | 9:31 am

    I got hooked on your blog a few years ago because you wrote about a lot of the things that I ponder while riding. And if I didn’t spend my riding hours considering them before, then I found myself thinking about things after reading them here. That, and the fact what you write is typically pretty dang funny. Now I find myself checking in as much to see how you and Susan are doing as to get a daily laugh. Thanks for letting us all get a glimpse into your lives, the good as well as the not so good. I hope that our thoughts and prayers from a distance provide some level of support and help for your family.

  65. Comment by BurkeInTheOzarks | 04.16.2008 | 11:36 am

    Everyone has already expressed any thoughts I could possibly convey but I still felt the need to let you know of one more person out there who is thinking, praying, caring.

    My wife says that if her cancer comes back she will refuse to go through chemo again because it was so brutal on her body. I’m not convinced she’ll stick with that choice, since those decisions can’t possibly be made until you are face-to-face with it. Of course, I’ll support her either way because that’s why I feel I’m here. She has apologized more than once for dragging me down this path with her and I just tell her I don’t regret it for a second. I have two wonderful children and many more memories of good times with her than bad – and I expect many more good ones to come…

  66. Comment by Mike Roadie | 04.16.2008 | 11:39 am

    Tears in my eyes, too!

    On a good, no, great note, we passed $5,000 in our campaign to raise 50K for the Lance Armstrong Foundation in support of Susan and other in the FC community…….with a lot more to go!!!

    Please go to: http://bayarea08.livestrong.org/mike
    to help out the cause!!!!

    THANKS….and God Bless the Nelson’s

  67. Comment by Richard | 04.16.2008 | 11:41 am

    Hang in there, we are praying and thinking of you and Susan…..I’m getting my pink Fat Cyclist jersey out for my long ride this weekend….

  68. Comment by sk8ermom3 | 04.16.2008 | 3:59 pm

    OK, I couldn’t make it through all posts at work ( where all my best blog reading is done…) without crying, and now at home I have tears streaming down my face once again. I am sorely missing my best friend and training partner who is recovering from Cancer. She is very fragile still, and the elephant is always in the room. I wish Susan and you all the best.

  69. Comment by Sanjay | 04.16.2008 | 11:26 pm

    Sending she and her family good wishes and prayers.

  70. Comment by English Chris | 04.17.2008 | 4:27 am

    Hi Elden,

    My first post here as I’ve only been reading your blog for a bit. As someone else has already said, its funny how something written by someone you’ve never met and will probably never meet can affect you.

    I wish all the best to your wife, and all the best to you too. One of my good friends is suffering from Thyroid cancer at the tender age of 24 and is doing her best to beat it.

    I dont know if this is innapropriate to post here, but me and some friends are cycling the length of the UK soon to raise money to help cancer sufferers. We have a website http://www.LetsFightCancer.co.uk so please check it out…

    I hope those markers stay low…


  71. Comment by judi | 04.17.2008 | 7:13 am

    Fatty, you have a ton of people sending and thinking good thoughts for you and your family. Me included. Hang tough. Judi

  72. Comment by Sarah G | 04.17.2008 | 7:50 am

    Like most others here, I don’t know you and will probably never meet you, but your story really moves me. I’m going to be wearing your pink jersey in the NY Road Runners Run for the Parks this Sunday in Central Park. I’ll be thinking of Susan all the way. — Sarah

  73. Comment by Robb | 04.17.2008 | 7:54 am

    stay strong Elden, we’re all here pulling for you guys! My mom is a cancer survivor (15+yrs in remission) so I know the feelings you guys have, but I can attest that a positive attitude is the one thing that has the potential to make the biggest difference!

    Let it out on this blog, let us listen and reassure, but stay focussed on the light, and things will head there!

  74. Comment by LisaN | 04.17.2008 | 10:54 am

    This is the first time I’ve visited your blog, and your post sent shivers down my spine. I wish all the blessings, hope, and long future to both of you………:)

  75. Comment by Gadrock | 04.17.2008 | 11:00 am

    Fatty and Susan-

    sending you prayers and good mojo from Alabama.

  76. Comment by rexinsea | 04.17.2008 | 11:10 am

    All the best to Susan, your family and you. Take care my friend (not that I know you but sometimes I feel like I do.)
    Cheers, rex

  77. Comment by blinddrew | 04.17.2008 | 12:32 pm

    You’re excused FC, any time you need to be.
    Thoughts are with you from across the pond


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.