Thursday, October 05, 2006

Make a promise!

Will you make your promise to get annual mammograms? I just made my promise, and my little click donated $1 to breast cancer research (The Komen Foundation). The first 50,000 promises each generate a $1 donation from Siemens.

To the stranger at the cancer resource center today

Dear lady,

I saw you perusing the bookshelves in the breast cancer section; you picked up titles, sighed, put them back. You wore your bald head like a warrior, clearly visible despite the baseball cap covering the top. You looked up at me, giving me space to find my own reading material, and when our eyes met, I saw a lot of pain. You said, "Surely there is something here to help me through a bad day!" and I took a chance, and decided that *I* was the answer, not the books.

"Look in my eyes, " I said, "and you will see yourself in a year. Look at me! Look at my hair - sensible mom hair that I enjoy complaining about - and know that this time next year, you, too will have hair. Look in my eyes: do you see the life there? Do you see how I'm running all over the place, busy with the everyday, despite the fact that I'm here? Do you see my new, strong body? This week, this body took me running 4 times already, and this weekend it will carry me through my first 10k in years. Look in my eyes! You will be like this next year. You will get your life back. You will become busy with the mundane of life, as well as the joys of life. You will still come back to this building, you will still be a woman with a history of breast cancer, but it will not take over your every minute. Look at me, and see yourself. You can do this!"

Last year, I was the bald lady, living from one treatment to the next, and so, so, so scared. This year, I am so much stronger, healthier, and more optimistic. I have bad days, but they are only days...and the rest of the time I spend doing all the things that I wish to do in my life (plus a million chores and errands). My hair has returned; my energy has returned; even my breasts are returning (one surgery at a time!).

You looked at me and cried, gasping "Thank you" and I hugged you - a total stranger - and hoped that some of my strength could pass to you. I hope I didn't cross too many boundaries, but I wanted so much to give you hope, and to let you feel the strength that is mine that will soon be yours again.

Sweet lady, whoever you are, you are in my thoughts and prayers today. I hope that I see you next year, waiting for your annual appointment, a twinkle in your eye and impatience in your feet to get going, to leave the doctor, to go about the business of truly living, and not just of staying alive.

There is a long way between the pain of diagnosis and the heat of treatment to where I am now. There IS another side, and I hope to see you come join me on it soon. Hang in there, sister. You can do this!

Kristina (the stranger in the breast cancer section of the cancer resource center today)

Monday, October 02, 2006

A long, long overdue thank you

I sent this email to my sponsors today, but I do not have email addresses for everyone, as some visitors to my blog sponsored me and the 3-Day does not share out those addresses. Please accept my humble thanks.
I have been intending to sit down and write each of you a heartfelt letter of thanks for your donations to the Breast Cancer 3-Day, and for your support of me. I still intend to do just that, but since life has been getting in the way of my doing so, I'm at least starting with an email to you as a means of saying THANK YOU.

The Breast Cancer 3-Day was an amazing experience for me. The weather was perfect, my walking companions were amazing, and my body was cooperative in finishing every step of the sixy miles....but it is you, my sponsors, who really had the greater accomplishment. I raised a total of $6,165.00, and my team raised a total of $30,907.25. I am absolutely in awe that a team of amateur fundraisers could come up with over thirty thousand dollars...and it is all because of you. The Seattle Breast Cancer 3-Day raised a total of (are you ready for this?) $6.8 MILLION DOLLARS! That is a lot of mammograms, a lot of shower cards, and (best of all) a LOT of research. Your money really makes a difference. It makes a difference to me, personally, that you are willing to fight against the disease that threatens my life; it makes a difference because your dollars are going to be part of ending breast cancer forever.

The walk itself was nothing short of incredible. I wrote about it on my blog at if you would like to look. I met survivors, co-survivors, and people who simply cared enough to walk. (One of these was a man who walked the entire 60 miles in knee-high Doc Marten boots and a utilikilt. I asked him what brought him to the event, and he said, "It's time to cure breast cancer." I asked him how he had been affected by the disease, and he said, "I'm lucky, I don't know anyone with breast cancer." WOW - I consider him a real hero!) My team made me laugh, and made me cry, but every minute was filled with pure joy.

On the walk, I often saw signs saying "Every step counts" and "Every step leads us closer to a cure," but I know that isn't true at all. Every step made me feel good, and healthy, but it is every dollar raised that leads us closer to a cure. Your sponsorship enabled me to do the walk, and your sponsorship is part of finding the cure. I daydream sometimes about how that money raised is being used; I think that maybe the $30,907.25 that my team raised is paying one researcher's salary (they're notoriously underpaid!) and that maybe it's THE researcher, the one that will have a breakthrough that will bring us to a cure.

I am grateful, from the bottom of my heart, for your sponsorship. Thank you so much for choosing to support a cause that is so near and dear to my heart. I believe that we will find a cure, or at least a less heinous treatment plan, by the time my daughter Tessa is a woman old enough to be worried about getting breast cancer. I pray that we will have more breakthroughs before I receive yet another phone call from yet another person with tears in their voice, shaking with emotion, saying,"I have it too." It gives me great comfort to know that the work I am doing, that YOU are doing, is making a difference, and that every day we are one day closer to having answers.

I am not done, though the 3-Day 2006 is over. I hope that you will consider sponsoring me next year when I do the event again - yes, again! - as I continue to fight this disease on both a personal and a public level. Next year I hope that you will sponsor me again, and that you will feel some of the "high" that I feel in knowing that you are a part of the cure. We are not sitting on the sidelines crying: we are fighting to the finish!

Thank you for being at my side, and for carrying me in your thoughts, as I walked. Bless you!


Article about BC Survivor

This link was posted on the YSC site that I visit, and I found it so inspiring that I wanted to post it here.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Tessa's first two-wheeler

Looks like Tessa's a biker like Daddy. Look at that smile!