YOU’VE GOT THE WRONG GUY!!
by Sean Miramontes “Shovelhead Seany”
Life was good in ‘05 when I bought my rollin’ chassis from a friend. I was so excited. I had only ridden a Harley once before, though I had owned other...
YOU’VE GOT THE WRONG GUY!!
by Sean Miramontes “Shovelhead Seany”
Life was good in ‘05 when I bought my rollin’ chassis from a friend. I was so excited. I had only ridden a Harley once before, though I had owned other bikes. I worked in construction and believed that if you put in your 40 hours, you can do anything you want the rest of the time. And I did. I was drinking, surfing every day in the Monterey Bay a couple of blocks from my house, and getting into trouble.
But you never know what life is gonna throw at you.
That December my girlfriend Macmillan told me she was pregnant. In an instant I went from a 35-year old boy to a man. I had never had a dad, so all I wanted was to be there for my own child. This was my new goal in life and it changed everything. I stopped screwing around in my spare time and also decided to stop breaking my back for someone else and instead work toward getting my General Contractor’s License.
For some time my arm and shoulder would hurt, but I chalked it up to pounding the hammer. I would also get chills even when it was 90 degrees outside. In June of ‘06 though, I started having back pains like I’ve never experienced before. I had to sleep on the couch sitting up because I didn’t want to disturb Macmillan. The pains were unbelievable. A pain went through me like a bolt of lightning one time when I twisted my back. Three days after that I couldn’t walk. I was paralyzed from the waist down. Macmillan rushed me to the ER, where I got an MRI.
I’ll never forget that day, May 15, 2006. I lay on my back for the first time in months, Mill sitting at the foot of my bed seven months pregnant. The doctor came in and gave me the old good news-bad news routine. “You have a strong back,” he said, “ but the bad news is that it’s covered in cancer from neck to toe -- probably lymphoma.” I looked over at Mill as her head dropped. Then I said to the doctor, “You and the cancer have got the wrong guy! I’m a fighter!” Nothing like a good scrap now and then, and this fight was for real and it was on.
I was admitted to the hospital and started meds, radiation and chemo right away. Mill would come in at the start of visiting hours every day. When I saw her smile no matter how hard it was for her, I knew what I had to do, she was the best reminder. She and my good friend Benji helped me in ways they’ll never know, no matter how much I thank them. I guess staying alive would be the ultimate thank you.
After a week, on my last day I finally met my real doctor, Dr. Pomeroy. He walked in with a bowl of cut-up fruit (don’t ask). Stuffing fruit into his mouth with his hand, he said, “We finally meet. I’ve been avoiding you all week. I hear you’re a great guy that has a lot on his plate, and frankly I’ve been trying to figure out how to save your life.” I said, “Don’t worry about my end, I’ve got it handled!”
He said, “ Good, because you have Stage 4 Lymphoma, with a softball sized tumor surrounding your spine, and it’s eating away at your sciatic nerve.” I’m really mad at this point. My whole world was crashing down. The reality hadn’t kicked in yet, but I knew the battle was just beginning. I asked him how long before I would walk again. “That’s up to you,” he said, still stuffing fruit in his mouth. He was a cool dude, though, and also said to me, “You and I are going to know each other for the rest of your life.”
The next day I got my crutches and hobbled down my street despite having no feeling in my legs -- walking on instinct and will -- and I went to see the ocean. All the way, I was thinking, “There’s no way in hell I’m going be a victim of this disease!”
Everyday Benji would come over to check on me and bring whatever I needed. Twice a week for six months, he drove me for chemo treatments, hung out with me, then took me home after I was fully marinated. I tried driving there myself once, and the doctor got really upset with me since I had no feeling in my legs. He said, “Who cares about you! What if you hit some kid?” I didn’t try that again!
On August 26, 2006, my beautiful son Mason was born. We looked the same -- hairless. After chemo was finished in November, I was told I was in the clear. Other than not being able to walk, which had its own challenges, I was glad it was over. I won the fight!
Or so I thought.
The next April the old pains that I knew all too well were back. Dr. Pomeroy ordered another MRI, then broke the news that the cancer had returned and it was in my neck. He wanted me to start chemo right away, but then told me that the only thing that was going to save me now was a bone marrow transplant, and that we had to start looking for a donor. Round 2 with this crap. Now I was really pissed off. But this time I have my son’s eyes looking back at me. This was war!
Meanwhile the bills were stacking up. We had one yard sale after another selling practically everything we had. I even had to sell my surf boards since I couldn’t surf anymore. That was hard, but selling my rollin’ chassis was harder. Having to sell it was breaking my heart because deep down I was trying to hold on to hope. I put it on Craig’s list and got a call from a man named Jeff Kempshall from JLK Precision in San Bruno. He wanted to come down to pick up the bike, but was going to have a Harley mechanic named Dale come check it out first. I had just met Dale! He was a neighbor of mine. After Dale inspected the bike, he called Jeff and told him it all looked good. Dale told me not to worry, that when I get better, he would help me build my dream bike. That gave me hope after all. A little sacrifice now might be worth it in the long run.
Jeff showed up that night at my door. He was a big, intimidating biker dude who had been in Vietnam. I told him why I was selling the bike, and he almost crumbled. Then he told me how he’d been stepping out of his own box lately and was in a play at a church in Half Moon Bay (about 50 miles north). He invited me and my family to come see it. The church was on Miramontes Drive. “Then I have to come!” I told him. “Miramontes is my last name.” I’m a believer in signs and like to go with that type of flow. I never like to pass up opportunities, if the flow is right. So Mill, Mason and I went and had a great time. A few days later Jeff and his wife Sherall showed up at my door with diapers and food for us. God bless those two.
I was riding my bicycle to chemo trying to build my legs, even though I couldn’t feel them. I also focused on getting my contractor’s license and studied my ass off while going through chemo and radiation. I had failed the exam a few times before, but this time I was determined.
I had asked my sister Krysel to take the bone marrow test and, miraculously, she was a perfect match! A big blow to my buddy, Lymphoma. All Krysel’s and my childhood arguments were out the door. Now she‘s my hero, as well as my son’s, although he doesn’t know it yet. She donated her cells on her birthday, September 27, and the nurses even brought her a birthday cake. It took six hours and was pretty painful for her. What a sister!
The bone marrow transplant, which is a blood transfusion, was set for the next day. Before the procedure they gave me powerful chemo and radiation treatments that took me right up to the point of death. It’s almost like they kill you before they put in the new cells. People with a bone marrow transplant are basically reborn, so in a sense my sister and I have the same birthday now, and weird as it seems, we have identical DNA.
While I was in the hospital, I asked for a stationary bike to be put in the room so I could bike everyday and build up my strength. I wanted to have the healthiest body possible when I went for the transplant. The chemo included steroids that would jack me up, so I would bike until I was sweaty and hot. I also studied for my exam the whole time. No TV for me. The nurses were amazed.
For the next three months I could not go outside in the sun and also had to wear a respirator to avoid germs and spores. I got a test date for December when I wouldn’t need the respirator anymore. I passed the damned thing and got my General Contractor’s License. I finally put cancer on its ass. I sure was proud.
A hard thing that happened right after my transplant, though, was my Australian shepherd, Cedar, died. His legs had been giving out and he was very weak. Cedar loved Mill and followed her everywhere, but when she went away for a short time, he died. I felt like Cedar had taken my cancer away when he died, and like he didn’t want to be a drain on us.
It would take about a year and a half to see if the transplant was successful. And even then doctors don’t want to utter the other C word -- Cured -- for fear of jinxing it. One year later I could walk, though, and I felt healthy enough to go back to work, even though it was against the wishes of my bone marrow doctor, Dr. Lowsky. I also dug my way out of debt and started saving for my dream bike that I felt I deserved!
I told Dale I wanted an “old school” look with a kick-start only. He advised me to get a Paughco rigid wishbone frame. I called up my buddy Jeff and had him get me one for me. When I picked up my frame from his shop, it felt like another blow to the cancer!
Dale showed up at my house with a Chrome horse 4-speed tranny with a 3” belt drive, along with many other parts. I didn’t know a damn thing about mechanics, much less building a chopper. I was a carpenter. I didn’t even have a full ratchet set, for God’s sake!
I spent every day in my garage fabricating with my sawsall and grinder, dreaming about the first ride. The search was on now for a motor. One day I saw Dale down the street looking bummed out. I asked him what was up. “Fast Harry died,” he said. I didn’t know who that was, but told him, “Sorry Bro,” and left him to his thoughts. I had been so close to death I didn’t want any part of it. A few days later Dale came to my house and told me the 96” S&S motor in the bike Harry had been riding was available and still good. He asked if I wanted to buy it. Being a believer in signs and that God has a plan, I had some doubts and thought about the negative energy that could come with the motor from the bike Harry had died on, but I bought it anyway and was told that Harry would have wanted it that way. He had been a great biker.
I finally have the heart to my bike. Dale brought over his tools and borrowed a welder from his friend Ken from Ken’s Auto Body. I had to learn to weld, though I had some experience from working for the railroad after high school. Ken’s cousin Mark gave me a great-looking Mustang tank, too.
My dream of building my own bike was getting close. I worked day and night, assembling and disassembling. It was looking good, but had a new look, and I wanted the old school look. Dale agreed to trade my S&S for his Shovelhead -- a 96” with dual plug heads, STD polished case, S&S barrels with a stroker kit. He brought his bike over, which he also had built from scratch, and we switched. I pulled everything off, rattle-canned it flat black, then started reassembling. The thing was a monster. Dale and I kept saying what a BMF it was!
It was now New Year’s, January 1, 09’, a year and a half post-transplant. Dale came over to help with the finishing touches on the bike. We gave thanks to the Harley Gods and “saged” the bike -- a Native American Indian ceremony using sage to keep away negative spirits. Then we gave the bike its life blood -- oil. I was just a few kicks away from coming out of hell and into a whole new life.
In one final kick, she fired up! I was screaming and crying, running around trying to find my helmet. I was so nervous when I got on it. It was loud and vibrating, it had a 3’ open belt drive. The sound of a shovelhead is like no other. I got on the beast and went around the block, slowly. My dog Wrangle chased me the whole way, barking and biting at me and the bike. When I got back to my house, I was crying and shaking because I knew I won! I won! I beat cancer for good. Screw you, Cancer, you got the wrong guy.
Life can be auspicious. You have to open to it, even be thankful for the tragedies and the pain. It’s funny how it all works. Cancer isn’t the end, it’s only the beginning. Never give up hope, fear is the real disease. Sometimes you have to hit the throttle, or you’re just not living.
I just take it day by day, which isn’t as easy
as it sounds. Macmillan -- a biker chick now -- and Mason and I are doing well,
and I am cancer free. We also have a new life on the way. Another chance to be
a good dad. Without my family, life would be meaningless and impossible, and I
might not be alive at all. Or able to ride my bike! Now we “live to ride and
ride to live strong.” Let’s roll!
item overall rating absolute 5 weighted rated 4.2
|1 raters||rating power||rating||rating weighted|
|Charlotte Jayne A...||600.0||5||4.2|
3328 viewsApril 17, 2010
Promoting is an easy, fun way to interact with media.
Promoting is also a game and a contest where you can earn and win money.
To promote a game entry, just check one of the promote boxes.
For more info, go to the League of Promoters
- 4 Promoters
Judging contest entries works like rating and reviewing a video on Youtube.
But the similarity stops there.
Your skill as a Judge (Judge Power) is determined by the ratings and reviews of your Judgements.
You can play for free, and to build up your Judge Power, by Judging any game (contest) entry.
If you subscribe or get sponsored as a Judge, you can win monthly award money,
and earn money, when you Judge Premium content.
Great Fight! Inspiring...