January 7, 2016

Why Women Motorcycle Riders Neglect Injuries

Moving ahead while taking a glimpse behind

The length of time I would be unable to ride my motorcycle was only my second greatest concern about the surgery. My greatest concern was dying. Then of course was my fear about the pain.

1. Dying

My Dad died at the age of 50. I am now 50. On February 21, 2016 I will have surpassed his lifespan by one day. Since the day he died I've lived with this gripping fear that I would die at the the same age as he did. Somehow this magical thinking has a time limit. I believe, for some insane reason, that if I can just stay alive until February 21, I will live into my 90's.

ertainly part of the reason I waited was to stay vagabonding about the highways and byways as long as possible, but my fear of dying that stood in my way as well. I would not let myself address my mortality, nor my need for medical treatment, until I couldn't take the pain any longer. I'm now at a point where I cannot wait any longer.

2. Motorcycling

The doctor told me before the surgery that it could be between 2 - 8 weeks until I would ride again, it just would depend on how quickly I healed and how I felt. Of course, I had my goal set for two weeks, but that didn't quite work out.

I sat on my motorcycle for the first time yesterday, 20 days after surgery. My Yamaha V Star 650 is sitting in the cold parking garage just waiting for me to spark the ignition, warm the engine, and twist the throttle. I've deeply missed three weeks of riding, even more than I feared I would. At the time when I need to ride most, I cannot.

3. Pain

I've come to grips with a certain level of pain. Living with Fibromyalgia has taught me that pain comes and goes, but it never completely goes away. After 20 years, I've made peace with this fact. Unfortunately, I didn't realize I had so many injuries because I had written so much of my pain off as Fibromyalgia. In doing this I didn't get injuries evaluated when they occurred, thus causing these injuries to grow into larger problems.

What I Didn't Expect

I hadn't anticipated I would be in so much pain, screaming in agony each time the pain meds wore off. I was shocked to find myself calling my mother, sobbing with nostalgic grief. My mother and I haven't spoken since 2011. I vowed to never speak to her again. She did not take my call.

I also hadn't expected being exhausted to the point of 15 hour sleepathons, bleeding from my incision for 19 days, becoming anemic and going back to the hospital only to find out my doctor was on vacation until January.

Why Women Motorcycle Riders Neglect Injuries

"Why did I do this to myself?" I asked time and again.

I can't speak for all women, but I certainly knew why I did it.

I neglected myself out of fear. There was also some determination and ego attributing to my stubbornness. As a woman rider I didn't want to appear, nor believe, that I was somehow not tough enough to keep up with my husband. I believed that settling down for enough time to treat my medical issues was somehow quitting, and I was not about to be labeled a quitter. I told myself I was tough enough to push through the pain because I had something to prove to myself.

But mostly I neglected myself because I was having a goddamn great time riding.

Fortunately it turns out that my hubs Steve is an amazing nurse. He has been patient, generous, gentle and loving throughout my recovery. Even with the lack of sleep and my terribly moodiness, he has remained steady and compassionate without a single complaint.

For every action there is a consequence. Whether that consequence is good or bad is really in the eye of the beholder. My consequence for neglecting my body is that for the next year, I will be putting myself back together again. I'll be enduring at least two more surgeries, countless doctor visits, physical therapy, cortisone injections, meeting new specialists and learning about new treatments.

"Was it worth it? Was it worth it to put myself through all of this just to keep riding?" I asked myself while howling in pain.

You can bet your sweet ass it was worth it!

Add a little fuel to my bank account. My ebook, "Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy" is available for purchase here. If not for you, buy a copy for a friend. The woman in your life will love you for it. Thanks!



  1. Sash, your recent experience is an inspirational lesson to be learned.

    I think that many of us refuse to come to terms with our mortality. The alternative too many of us embrace is simple denial. We don't look after ourselves intelligently until the symptoms of long neglect literally scream at us.

    I think we are generally better than our parents in many ways. You are taking each day as it comes, and doing what you need to do. That's a really great start.

    It looks like 2016 will continue to cast challenges your way, but I think that you will overcome.

    I'll be keeping an eye out to see how you're doing.

  2. Surgery is never any fun. I've had a multitude of them, but luckily they ended in my 20's. Damn Crohn's Disease anyway.

    I hope your recovery is easier than it has been and the pain lessens.

    My theory is that I'd rather be in pain on my way to getting better than just in pain.


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