Cancer on Two Wheels

Tributes to a Legacy

Chad and Shane wanted to pay a special final tribute to their dad and his fight of "cancer on two wheels."

As Chris fought over the years, his body was less able to handle riding his bike, even though he desperately wanted to continue. Eventually, his bike stood in the garage, unused. Their desire was that their dad, though absent in body, would be able to roll out with them for one last ride. So exactly one week after he passed, down to the minute (Saturday at 7 a.m. and his usual ride time), Chad and Shane rolled for a lap around the neighborhood with his bike, each carrying one of his favorite jerseys.

A Life Sentence

Three years ago today, Chris went home with the Lord. In remembrance, here’s part of his eulogy:

Chris knew that this was his temporary home.  We can’t celebrate his life without talking about what was most important to him, and that was his faith.  When Chris was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in July 2010, no one understood why he would have gotten that particular type of cancer since he had never smoked in his entire life.  He could only come up with one reason:  He accepted the diagnosis as part of God’s plan to use him to reach others as he witnessed for Christ.  Chris also helped pave the way for successful treatments to be used on other lung cancer patients.  He took part in 4 clinical trials, 2 of which were FDA approved while he was in the trials due to the success the treatments were achieving. Chris said he was willing to be a guinea pig if it helped someone else beat lung cancer.  

No Longer Just a Dream

In 2010, Chris told our older son, Chad, “Go for it and chase your dream. I have no doubt you’ll make it.” (see my previous blog): Chasing a Dream

Chad reached one dream last year—his first time to race in the Tour de France. Today he reached another dream: to win an Individual Time Trial (ITT) in a WorldTour—a Grand Tour—the Giro d’Italia (Italy’s version of the Tour de France for those who aren’t familiar with the cycling world).

In Loving Memory and In Honor

We had just found out the previous day at MD Anderson Cancer Center (in August 2010) that Chris was considered to have inoperable stage IV lung cancer, which had metastasized to the brain. As reality settled in the next day, I was an emotional wreck, no longer numb from the initial shock of the previous day’s news. But cancer wouldn’t wait for me to gain control of my emotions. It would continue to threaten my husband’s life at a rapid pace. I couldn’t let fear paralyze me. I needed to take action to learn how to best treat it and enhance my husband’s quality of life. I had a job to do as his caregiver, and I planned to give it my best shot. Being part of the team to save his life began with learning as much as I could about what we were facing.

Video of Chris Sharing His Story-Part 1

Today’s blog is because of a woman I’ve never met who bought Cancer on Two Wheels and posted a sweet review on Amazon. She has inactive cancer, and a well-meaning friend asked her if it was depressing to read a book about someone who lost his battle against cancer.

Here is part of what she wrote:

Appreciation for Life

Six months after Chris was diagnosed and he had experienced setback after setback, we could have easily started feeling sorry for ourselves. But we had a reality check that I documented in my journal:

Wednesday, we were riding the shuttle van back to the hotel from MD Anderson. We stopped at a children’s hospital to pick up a mother and her nine-year-old son. She struggled to lift him into the front seat. He apparently had brain cancer, as he was bald and lacked motor skills and had tremors. The mother was cheerful, as was the boy. He sang with the radio on the way to the hotel (or at least attempted to sing). We were all laughing because he was so happy, and it was so touching.

Roaring on the Radio

I had an opportunity to share about God’s faithfulness during an interview about Cancer on Two Wheels and His Love Carries Me on “The Review with Joy and Company” on live radio. It may not have been a loud roar like a lion, but it’s the loudest my lamb’s voice can do without becoming hoarse.

Although I was panicking and filled with anxiety the weekend before the interview, Joy, Rose, and Rosemary put me at ease, and it was an enjoyable experience. With each speaking engagement, I am becoming more confident as I share our story in speaking engagements. Here is the link to the interview on Facebook Live.

A Roaring Lamb

I tell in the introduction of my book how God led me to write His Love Carries Me. (Refer to the “Peek Inside” feature on the Home page.) But there is more to the story that explains why I have two publishers’ logos on my books.

Homes of Hope

My younger son, Shane, was Chad’s shadow. Whatever Chad did, Shane did. Their lives always seemed to be intertwined as best buddies. After Shane graduated from college and was unhappy with his chosen career path, he decided to try his brother’s dream career. Shane, too, became a professional bicyclist, before he quickly realized that was Chad’s dream—not his. Here are excerpts from what Shane wrote in 2014 (shared with his permission):

More Than Sport

My older son, Chad, just finished racing his first Tour de France, and his professional cycling team, Team Sunweb, helped Tom Dumoulin place second overall. As proud and excited as I am for him and for them, Chad will be the first to tell you that there is more to life than just sports. Below are excerpts from a blog that he wrote about a life-changing experience he had in 2013 (shared with his permission):

Paying Homage

Chris enjoyed leatherworking as a hobby, and when Chad and Shane were young, he taught them a bit of the craft. In Cancer on Two Wheels, Chris talks about how he taught Shane some more of leathercrafting when Shane was in middle school. The last time they shared this hobby was Thanksgiving week 2013. After his father’s death, Shane decided to teach himself more of the skill as he worked through his grief. His ability has far surpassed anything his father knew how to do. I thought you’d enjoy hearing how Shane decided to pay tribute to his dad by making this his living:

The Art of Taking a Pitch

Both Chad and Shane have inherited their father’s talent for writing. Here’s a blog that Shane wrote in September 2016 about a lesson he learned from his dad in baseball that reflected how Chris dealt with life during cancer:

His Hero

In my book His Love Carries Me, I refer to my husband, Chris, as “Shane’s hero.” The following is an excerpt from a blog written by our younger son in October 2016 (shared with his permission) and explains why his dad was his hero:

Years ago, my mom reached out to friends and family for us to write letters of appreciation to my dad for the impact he had in our lives. I had this memory, clear as day, that I decided to write about.

He Was Going to Play Baseball

People frequently ask me, “Did your sons get into cycling because of their dad?” The answer is, “No. Chris got into cycling because of our boys.” Whatever sport they became interested in, Chris wanted to become a part of to spend more time with them. (Okay, to be honest, he also wanted to make sure they were safe when riding on streets with motorists during their earlier years.) But then he, too, got bit by the cycling bug and loved to be on the bike even if Chad and Shane weren’t around.

Since our older son Chad is currently racing in the Tour de France, I decided to share (with his permission) a blog that he wrote in March 2011 on how he became a cyclist.

Living the Dream

Well, yesterday was quite the exciting day. Chad officially became a bike racer in the eyes of the American public as he entered his first stage of the Tour de France. Although he has seven Grand Tours already under his belt, because the general public in America has never heard of those races, those tours don't count.

Chasing a Dream

Our older son, Chad, was scheduled to graduate in December 2010 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Although he had already received a job offer from the company where he had interned, we weren’t surprised when he called Chris in October to say that a couple of semi-professional cycling teams had shown an interest in him. He didn’t ask his dad’s opinion of what he should do, but Chris sensed he wanted to. Our son apparently couldn’t get up the courage to make this career change after we had put him through four years of college.