Someone (aka Mom) wanted to know where the photos and additional blogs from Girlapalooza are.
I've done some work on the blogs. And I have photos, but I haven't taken time to download them. All the awesome details are "in the works" but not yet ready for publishing. Why? I mean this is "on the edge of the seat exciting" kind of stuff right? Why would I delay it?
Because I've been busy sewing.
I recently found out that someone I love dearly is pregnant and due pretty soon. And I love to sew baby stuff. All baby stuff is small, and does not require fantastic tailoring skills... so I love making it. Thus, I have been sewing up a storm for the baby gift! My few hours of quiet time each night are now spent bent over a sewing machine whipping up burp cloths and swaddling blankets and pacifier leashes... and so maybe even a diaper bag? (still not sure if I'm going to tackle this one) And I'm really enjoying it.
What does this have to do with cancer? Well nothing obvious. But... this is something I would've never had the energy for during treatment. I used to LOVE to sew. I LOVE working on little projects. But for the last year or so, my sewing machines have been pretty dormant (unless my mom was visiting and then she used them). Being able to do this stuff again and really ENJOY and LOVE it... well it kinda makes me feel like I'm reclaiming my life a little. Rediscovering some of my "lost" passions that I just didn't have the time or energy for during treatment.
It's just one more little thing that makes me feel alot more like myself. More "normal". Which is pretty awesome.
So when will you get to see photos of the race and stuff? Soon. Very soon. Probably early next week... if not a little sooner. But for now, I have to go be my crafty self.
So. Everyone wants to know, "how did it go?!?!?!"
That's a lie... the texts I've been getting are more along the lines of "are you still alive?"
Yes. I'm alive. I completed the half as did all of my friends. AND 2 of my friends even ran the full marathon. They're studs.
I don't have alot of time to blog about it right now... but I had a BLAST. It was by far the most fun I've had during a race. It was me and 24,999 of my closest friends (25K runners that day including me). There were fun costumes. There were lots of amazing women... and a few brave men.
But more than ANYTHING ELSE... there were hills.
Lots and lots of hills.
Here is the elevation map:
Yep. Those are as serious as they look.
Or... maybe this map will help you better understand (I've added my own comments).
Even for all the hills, I did have a GREAT time. It was awesome. I had alot of fun... even if I may have dropped the F bomb about 300 times and cursed the city of San Fran under my breath every time I saw yet another hill.
The scenery was also AMAZING! We ran along the water for most of the race so we got to see the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay and the Pacific Ocean... it was the best scenery I've ever had while running.
And there was alot of entertainment along the way.
I will write alot more about the whole trip and the race and everything else as I have time. But I just thought I'd check in, say hi, and tell you I am (in fact) still alive. YAY!
Tomorrow I fly out to San Francisco for Girl-a-palooza 2011!
That is what we have dubbed our girls weekend in San Fran.
There are 6 of us... which is kind of alot... so it fits, yes?
And I am SO CRAZY EXCITED!
My bags are packed. Cute outfits are assembled. Cuter shoes are all ready to go. Bathing suit was added last night (for the hot tub at our AMAZING rental house). I'm totally having difficulty focusing on ANYTHING other than this big event :)
Oh yeah... I also packed my running shoes and a running outfit... you know, for that half marathon thing.
I ran for an hour last weekend, so I'm about as ready as I'm ever going to get (which is not really at all).
More importantly, I'm ready for a semi-relaxing 4ish days with 5 other amazing women. I look forward to great conversation, good food and amazing wine (here we come Napa Valley!).
What you can expect next week?
1. Lots of photos.
2. A blog about lymphedema... and the awesome compression sleeve I will be wearing on the plane (and maybe during the run).
3. Lots more photos... and maybe a review or two of some of the wine I get to drink.
4. Maybe a crazy story or two about my time with my girls.... but then again, what happens in san fran might STAY in san fran ;) (yeah right, we're all old ladies now, our wild story will be about how we stayed up past 10)
And who knows... maybe we'll have to start planning Girl-a-palooza 2012. Vegas anyone? (and yes, there is a half marathon there)
Fear is such a powerful thing.
Before cancer, my biggest fears were based on my husband being at war. What if he didn't come home? What if I ended up being a single parent? On my "bad days" during his deployment, I would cry just thinking about what it would be like to raise my son without my husband. Or how I would react if those 2 soldiers showed up at my front door to tell me my husband wasn't coming home. There were days that I just didn't want to go home... because I was SURE they would be there waiting for me.
It never ever occurred to me that I might be the one making an early exit and that Chris might end up being the single parent. Not once.
Then I heard the words, "I'm sorry, you have cancer."
And BAM! My mortality hit me in the face and knocked me on my ass.
And suddenly that's all I could think about. What if I died? What would Caleb do without me? How can my little boy grow up without his Mama?
Eventually I put those fears aside. But that fear was a huge motivator during my fight. I NEEDED to live.
Now the immediate battle is over. I won. I have been declared cancer free... a survivor.
I won, right? No more cancer! But... my mind keeps telling me there is the chance. The chance of recurrance.
Did you know that on average about 80% of women diagnosed with my subtype of cancer are alive after 5 years? That means 20% die. Not all of them die of cancer, but many do. Because the cancer comes back.
That is the fear now. What if it comes back?
I'm doing everything I can to keep cancer at bay. I'm eating right (most of the time). I'm exercising at least 3-4 days every week. I'm trying to keep my weight down. I've cut back severely on my alcohol intake. I'm trying to keep my stress levels low. All those magical things that decrease my chance of recurrance by up to half.
But... what if that's not enough? What if it comes back despite all of that?
This is life for a cancer survivor in the months after treatment. From the survivors I've talked to, these fears are totally normal. Get a headache? The fear yells "brain cancer!" PMS cramps? Must be uterine cancer! Any aches/pains? Bone cancer! Shortness of breath (I'm asthmatic too so this does happen alot)? Lung cancer!
I wish I was kidding or being sarcastic or overexaggerating. But this is a common thread on the support boards where I'm known to hang out. The fear that comes with survivorship.
So that is my new battle, conquering the fear. Because if I let this fear invade my mind and rule my life, cancer wins.
A few quotes recently caught my attention in regards to fear:
"Fear ends where faith begins." ~Unknown
"Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death." ~Unknown
These struck a chord with me. Because in the end, I cannot control recurrance. Nothing I can do will guarantee my long term survival.
So I have to have faith.
I have to have faith that everything I do to keep myself healthy will work. I have to have faith in my doctors and my treatment and that it WORKED. I have to have faith that I have done everything in my power to NEVER have to face this beast again. I HAVE to have faith that I will live. Because a life lived in fear isn't much of a life.
And, if cancer does return, I have to have faith in God. That He has a plan. That even with metastatic cancer, I can continue to survive for years to come. That if I do die, I will be with Him. And He will watch over my family and be there to help them survive.
I know these fears will never fully go away. But I pray that if I let my faith fill me up, there will be little room left for fear.
I pray that through faith, I can find some peace.
Today was my very last caulk gun appointment!
I am DONE with getting my expanders filled.
And my boobs are HUGE! I am at work. So I will not attempt any photo shoots that might help demonstrate their actual size...
I think these photos might have to involve fruit or some other form of prop. Maybe melons? Or what other euphemisms could I put into action? Balloons? Jugs? Hmmm. This could make for some entertaining photos.
Good news is that my ACTUAL implant will be about 120cc's smaller than where they're currently at. The doctor said we had to over-inflate so that there is a "pocket" for the implant to "drop into". I'm looking forward to having slightly smaller boobies again.
On the upside, my large ta-tas got checked out by several college students today when leaving the university hospital. And as any other 30 year old mother will tell you, getting checked out by single twenty somethings makes you want to say "HECK YEAH! I still got it!"
Even if it was my synthetic boobies that were getting all the attention, I will still take credit for it... because I can. Not like the plastic surgeon will mind if I claim credit for his hard work...
Anywho. Just wanted to celebrate my VERY LAST tissue fill. Next, in about 6-8 weeks, I will be getting my exchange surgery. So basically Santa is coming early and he's bringing me a brand new set of boobies! Hurrah!