Sunday, October 26, 2008

3 day memories

Today was my first day back to walking. I gave my feet a week off (except for bus stop runs) and it felt great to be back into it today.

Isn't it amazing what our bodies can do? Dave and I walked 23 miles the first day, 22 the second and over 15 miles the last day. We found out that our mileage cards were not correct the first 2 days and learned some terms used at the walks, "The 3-day mile" and a "real mile." A real mile is just that, really a mile. The 3-day mile is closer to 1 to 2 miles and sometimes it seemed like they were the longest miles of our lives!

We also enjoyed the many creative ways people integrated different terms for "breast" in their team names and signs. Our boys would have enjoyed the Pirate lady standing with a sign, "Pirates of the Cariboobian." There was a sign at the closing ceremony which David tried to read out loud saying, "You are boobalicious." After he read it, he wanted a full explanation for its meaning. I tried.

The 2 most memorable moments for me was the first few feet of the walk and the victory walk at the end. They have people begin the walk with just a few of us at a time, walking down a center aisle with people on both sides, cheering us on. The speaker's speech that morning, as the sun rose, was incredible and motivating. She basically said to remember the road we have traveled in our lives to get us to that moment and that is what would help us just keep walking. As I walked down that aisle, I removed my hat from my head, let my bald head shine and got tons of high fives for it. The victory walk was also exceptional, with tons of people we saw along the way, standing on the side, cheering us on again. Some of them came out and hugged us and there was such a feeling of community and support in the air. We had helped each other get to this point, whether it was helping a walker in need or just talking to someone about "why they walk." I had so many women tell me how they couldn't believe I was doing it and how inspired they were by seeing me walk. They did enjoy hassling Dave, who was in some pain the last day and moving slower than me.

Dave's most memorable moment was at the closing ceremony where the walkers, in white shirts held up their shoes and surrounded the survivors, in pink shirts. Dave said that sea of pink was something he will not forget.

Oh, I forgot something else. We received mail the first night from lots of friends, encouraging us in our journey and we had some friends come by the cheering stations on Friday and Saturday. we didn't expect anyone and were surprised to see familiar faces. It was a great taste of home.

I have been asked if I would walk again. I have answered yes without hesitation, but I am not so sure about camping outside in 40 degree wind again. It was difficult to get any rest and be ready for the next day. Dave has a new respect for the training schedule and knows with his internship next year and working full time, he will not be able to keep up with it. He said he would do it again, but will not be able to next year.
I'm getting pooped, but I will share soon some of the funny things we heard from other walkers along the way.

One of the local cable talk shows kept showing clips from the 3-day last week and I never tired of seeing them. I kept spotting people we walked alongside and heard many of their stories. It really was an incredible experience and we want to thank all of you for supporting us, through financial support, encouraging words, or just reading about the experience. We have some photos to share.

Before the Opening Ceremony - this photo was taken at 5:46 a.m., way too early (and cold) to think about walking!

This was a safety guy - easy to spot! My only purchase during the walk.

Showing off my victory shirt!

Walking into the closing ceremonies. We did it!!!! 60 miles!!!!

Seeing our beautiful boys again! The closing ceremony - raising a flag that says "A World without Breast Cancer."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

CT scan results

More good news - the scan showed significant improvement of the cancer spots. Everything is either resolved or improving. It is my naptime, but I wanted to give a quick update. I feel like I can stop holding my breath and move on. This means 3 more cycles of chemo (which should last until January) and then I will stay on the Herceptin, which doesn't have any side effects. Yea!!!

I hope to post more pics and stories about the 3 -day this weekend. We have just been trying to catch up on life since we got home and haven't had a chance to do it yet.

Monday, October 20, 2008

We did it !! Every mile!!

We are tired. David stepped on my foot today. Dawson woke up twice last night but it is so good to be home. We walked every mile of the 60 miles. I have pictures and stories to share but I am still waiting for my coffee to kick in. Dave took a vacation day today to catch up on rest and schoolwork. I honestly think we could have slept most of the day. (And maybe tomorrow too)

I was interviewed by CBS news yesterday about 2 minutes before we walked into the closing ceremony. Of course, the interview was much longer than the clip but they definitely picked the best part. There is also a shot of Dave and I walking in together. I have had my 13 seconds of fame!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

First day Of The Big Walk

Barbara, Dave, and about 3,000 other people started a 3 day 60 miles Breast Cancer Awarness walk on October 17. (I can hardly believe they can do this-60 miles in 3 days-very impressive!)

We heard from the walkers last night, on the 17th, and they had indeed walked the first 20 miles. When they called they were starting to set up their tent and then were going to stand in line for some food.

Barbara called this morning and said it was about 40 degrees last night and they had huddled together in their sleeping bags to stay warm. I think she said they walk about 20.8 miles today. Evidently their feet are still doing OK.

Above is a picture of the walkers taken on the 17th. Please remember them and the other walkers in your prayers. The boys are doing great and keeping Gam(Marcey) and I moving.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Are you ready?"

That has been the question of the day. I am crazy running around trying to pack my boys' things, my things, our camping gear, etc. Also, David is sick and stayed home from school today. This mama has enough trouble leaving her babies, let alone when one of them is sick! But, I was reminded today of why we are walking - a friend called and left me a message today on her way to her last radiation treatment and I did a little cheer for her. David asked me why we are walking and I told him so maybe when he is an adult, there will be a world without breast cancer, or any cancer at all. I explained to him how research costs money, etc. But, I look at it in terms of this - the drug I receive every week has only been available for a few years. 5 years ago, there may not have been something for me and the research paid off.

On a personal note, I ask for your prayers. Next week, I have a CT scan to see how the chemo is working. We don't know what that scan will show. We expect good news, but are prepared (as much as we can be) for other news.

12 hours from now, we will be on our way to Willow Grove and will begin walking by 7 a.m. When you wake up tomorrow, please think of us taking our first steps on this incredible journey. Dave asked me if there may be a few tears shed this weekend, and I said, "maybe a little." Ugh, I'm crying now and I haven't even started yet!

P.S. Pop will be filling in for me on the blog while we're gone and will give an update.

Monday, October 13, 2008

3-day route

Lots of folks have asked where the 3-day will take us. Click on this Journey Map and you will see where we're going.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk

Yesterday, the team, "Friends in Faith" walked in Making Strides in Wilmington. Over 5,000 walkers participated and over $400,000 was raised! I found it humorous that our famliy finished last from our team, considering we are doing the 3-day in just a few days. We had stroller issues (at one point, everything fell off the stroller), the boys had needs that required us to stop, and we were pushing 80 pounds of kids. The boys were very excited as we all walked across the finish line. I think it will prepare them for the closing ceremony next weekend, following our walk.

Thank you to everyone who walked yesterday and also those who supported our team. I ran into my high school volleyball coach, who also saw me last year. Last year, I had just finished chemo before the walk, so both years, I have had little to no hair. She hopes to see me next year with a full head of hair (and so do I)! I took a nice, long nap yesterday and am now ready for this weekend (almost - still packing).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Some new unexpected challenges

Another friend going through chemo put it best when she said that sometimes it is hard to get your feet going in that direction, meaning the chemo room. I stalled as long as possible today - talking with a mom at the busstop, hanging out at Dawson's preschool, crying in my van, checking out the cancer center's library, until I was ready to go in. Someone asked if I need to be there by a certain time. I told them I sort of do but they can't get started until I get there.

My white blood cell count was low yesterday, almost the lowest it has been through these cycles, which means that nasty shot on Friday. Last cycle, the pain hit hard on the Sunday following the treatment and I am supposed to do the Wilmington Making Strides this Sunday. Dave talked about pushing me in a wheelchair or I could always kick my kids out of the stroller!

The chemo room was filled with some sad stories today - the volunteer dog who visits on Thursdays was hit by a car (it looks like he will be okay but how is that news supposed to lift our spirits? Lie to me next time!) , a woman younger than me was supposed to get married last weekend and is instead getting chemo when she should have been on her honeymoon, and another woman's cell counts have been too low for weeks to get chemo.

Before today, I was enjoying a good week - went out with some friends, got some new hats (which I am getting tons of compliments from them), got some new makeup that actually makes me look healthy, and just had some good times with my family. Tomorrow night, I am going with some friends to see Robin Roberts speak at the DuPont Theater. My joys will walk through the door with Dave within the next 30 minutes or so and give me big squeezes. I just love the look on their faces when they haven't seen me all day. It's one of those things I wish I could bottle up and keep forever.

BTW - 1 week from now, Dave and I will be packing the final supplies for our 3-day walk!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Life lessons for Mom

Before the cancer returned, I had visions of helping out in my both my sons' classrooms this fall. Instead, I now spend that time at the doctor. David came home the other day with an October schedule of the parent helpers for his classroom. I was not on the list and he asked, with great disappointment in his voice, "Why aren't you helping in my classroom?" I told him I was able to chaperone one field trip. Still, he wanted more. We talked about it and he understood why I wasn't able to help. I told him maybe next month and asked him where he thinks I would rather be. I just felt that pain in my heart because he wanted more of me and I couldn't give it to him. Now, I am sure he has gotten over it but I was still thinking about it today. While I was sitting in chemo, I was reading an article titled, "Top 5 Mom Myths." My favorite one was, "A good mom likes her children all the time." That one made me laugh at loud! But, the one I needed to read was, "A good mom spends a lot of time with her kids - and they like her because of it." I had some resistance from David when he first began school and I wanted to know every detail of his day the second he came home. Dave suggested giving David a little space, even though I didn't want to, and he would come around. Not long after I did this, he told me one Saturday that he wanted to spend some time with just me. The article says, "There are no studies that show punching a time clock with your children will guarantee their adoration. It's the nature of the interaction that counts. If you listen to your children, laugh and relax with them, make them feel loved, it teaches them that relationships are a source of joy. They'll like you because of that - not because you helped man the punch bowl at the school dance."

The time I spend with my kids now is different than before my original diagnosis. I do a lot less multi-tasking and just sit down and enjoy more. But, it never gets easier to say no to them when they want me and I can't be there because of something related to this disease. It makes me laugh when the boys say the reason why I can't do stuff - they call it "cancerd."

"Cancerd" has made me a different mom. One who doesn't look at asking for help as a weak thing but sees help as something to enable me to enjoy my good times better.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Weekly checkup

I saw my doctor today and he was very encouraging. I have a CT scan scheduled in 3 weeks and he told me he expects good news based on my progress. He also mentioned the 3-day and could tell I was excited about it. He has full confidence in me that I will be able to walk the 60 miles. He said I am in good shape and shouldn't have any problems (even though I will get chemo the week before). The running joke in our house is that I will probably outwalk Dave and the doctor said I would certainly outwalk him. Those of you who know my oncologist can chuckle - he openly admits he is not one to get on his patients' cases about being overweight.

I have a link on the side of the page called the "Supporter's Guide." It gives some information about the details of the walk. Thank you again to everyone who has supported this cause - so many people have been involved in different ways and we couldn't do this without your help and support.