The Road Unpaved: Border to Border with a Brain Tumor and a Bike

Editorial Staff By Editorial Staff Location: 192 views

If you were diagnosed with a potentially deadly disease, what would you do? Would you seek treatment, and would it change your perspective on life? Like many, Risa knew there was something wrong with her body, but the doctors told her she was okay. After a shocking diagnosis of a rare pituitary disease, Risa was faced with brain surgery and six weeks of radiation treatment, only to find out the tumour was not gone. Forever changing her body and who she thought she was. As an athlete, her passion was always biking; desperate to return to her former self, she signed up for the bike tour of a lifetime, six weeks from Canada to Mexico on the Pacific Coast Highway. Risa sees this tour as a way to create awareness of her disease, a time to reevaluate her life, and a time to heal and grieve for the life she is leaving behind. During the trip, her life switches gears as her marriage fails and a new love emerges. Most of all, she learns how to love being alone and live a life without limits- a fully unleashed life. You can learn more about Risa here:

How do you cope with the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness?

I was sitting in the doctor’s office when my doctor told me I had a tumour that needed to be removed. I found myself drawing on the words of wisdom Risa provided me in her book. Listed below is some advice that Risa offered:

  • I gave the tumour a name. Risa called her Budda. I found myself, too, giving the tumour a name to my doctor. 
  •  Trust your gut. If your body does not feel right, find out what is wrong. Like Risa, my doctor could not explain my symptoms at first, and my bloodwork was returning to normal. 
  • Choose to be someone who steps up and out to live life fully, inspiring others to do the same. Risa rose to this occasion by living her dream of going on a bike tour of a lifetime. Like Risa, I decided nothing would stand in my way of fulfilling my bucket list. In fact, now that I have this diagnosis, I am going to do it sooner. 


Image by Albrecht Fietz from Pixabay

“Risa is a different person now than prediagnosis.

She cannot go back. She has a new awareness that every single day matters. That she can take nothing for granted. “

About the Author


Risa August is both a Gestalt practitioner and a patient advocate for rare pituitary diseases. She is a speaker sharing her story at health conferences and inspiring patients. Risa has a BA in geography, a certification in the Gestalt Coaching Method, and a certificate in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. She is passionate about writing, dancing, boxing, indoor skydiving, biking and barbells. To learn more about her book, visit:

My Review

The Road Unpaved is a book about resilience and self-discovery. The memoir talks about how to live with the diagnosis of Acromegaly and inspires us to dream big. Her story about her journey riding her bike from Canada to Mexico with a brain tumour brings awareness to the disease and tells us how she lives with the disease. Risa’s bike tour was a  personal journey to prove she could do this. The ride provided her time for self-reflection, to heal and grieve for the life she had to leave behind. I could not put this book down and cannot wait to read about her next road trip.  I found myself cheering her on and, at times, crying with her when she was in pain. I admire her courage and how she inspires other women.

Author Risa August
Image by 6391394 from Pixabay

But each of us gets to choose our road for ourselves, and

if there isn’t a road in front of us, we get to pave our own.