December 01, 2019

Shawn - Live your life, don’t just maintain it!

My name is Shawn Watson and I go by “World’s Okayest Cyclist”.

I am a Stage 4 Lymphoma survivor.

Before cancer, I owned a historic roofing company that worked in seven states, played 40 rounds of amateur golf a year, and weighed 209 lbs.

Me before Cancer

I was not able to complete my chemotherapy. Every joint hurt from the Prednisone and I was so weak that it was a chore to walk 300 steps a day. I had to have oxygen attached to me for about a month and a half.

This was February of 2014 after my 5th chemo

My family has a history of cancer, my dad passed away from esophageal cancer (my little brother made the world aware of that when he won his first Master’s), one grandfather had lung cancer, another had colon cancer, and a grandmother cervical cancer…no survivors.

My faith kept me positive and so I began to plan for a way to help others with this “problem”.  It took me almost 3 years to build up my strength enough to walk 10,000 steps a day, but I did it.  My joints, feet, and muscles hurt constantly, but I did it.  

As I walked with my wonderful wife, we would notice all these folks riding bikes (cyclist) and how happy they looked but they wore these “tights” that I called “Peter Pan” outfits.  I wanted what they “had” but it just didn’t seem attainable because they were, to be honest, stand-offish and rude when approached with questions…on my Walmart bike.

It didn’t stop me.  My wife and I bought good bikes and began riding daily.  So, I started riding 6/5/17 Started living 6/5/17!

Today, I am the “Okayest” and I am glad.  I weigh in at 158 lbs. I am healthier than before cancer.

Stage 4 Lymphoma (7/9/14 remission)

I started riding to free my mind of cancer fear, recovery from chemo, and to help others. I have been riding for 2 ½ years and every mile I ride goes to charity and I will be riding 10,800 miles in 2020 to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and training to ride for their Race Across America team in 2021.

But I still struggle every day with “When will it return?” I don’t think folks understand that it is the survivor’s mental struggle that they face until they die from something else.  

Don’t let my story fool you…I am actually a very positive person. I believe that the glass is full, half with air and half with water. I am a realist and know that there is always a possibility of cancer returning but I have decided to “Take the risk or lose the chance.”

My mission today is to motivate others struggling with issues (mental & health) by getting them to focus on health and fitness.  If I can do it, so can you and that’s my goal!

Live your life, don’t just maintain it!

Insta: https://www.instagram.com/worlds_okayest_cyclist/
Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/22858051
Web: www.worldsokayestcyclist.com

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