The San Diego Breast Cancer 3 Day - Amazing!

Monday, November 30, 2009

(Mom and I waiting for opening ceremonies to begin)

Every adjective I've heard to describe the 3 Day is true. It was such an amazing experience! all weekend long there was laughter, tears and a lot of energy. There was also a lot of ice, band aids, ace bandages and limping (and not just on my part). But, as I heard many times, "It's not chemo."

I live in a beautiful city and it was so awesome to see it this way. The 3 Day really brings the community together. I've seen it many times as I've cheered but being on the other side, as a walker, it's so awesome to see how many neighborhoods make such an effort to be supportive throughout the weekend. I've seen so many of the same people year after year and their dedication is impressive and inspirational.


I have hundreds of pictures and a lot of video. I wish I'd had access to WiFi and laptop so I could post updates at the end of the day. There's so much to show and tell! I'll try to spread it out so I'm not overwhelming you (and boring the people who are tired of all the boob talk). There are a lot of things I'm going to do differently next year* that I hope to pass on for anyone thinking of participating for the first time.


Huge thank you's to my mom for all her help with my fund raising and to everyone who made a donation. If I hadn't raised the money I would have either had to back out of the walk or pay the difference (which Phil was prepared to do, bless his heart). Thank you Abby for working on my feet, ankle and knee. It made a huge difference!

And speaking of Phil, thanks honey for coming out every day and bringing Tyler with you. Seeing you guys throughout the weekend was such an energy boost. Thanks for taking all our phone calls, bringing the things we needed and taking away my dirty laundry. Thank you for wrapping my ankle every day since. Love you.


*Yep, even though I'm still not completely healed, I'm thinking ahead to next year. I've been talking to
a few people and it seems I may have a team in the making!

My Thoughts on the Color Pink and the Month of October

Friday, November 20, 2009


A few weeks ago I made a clerk at WalMart cry. I didn't mean to. She was telling me her sister's breast cancer story and she got emotional. Since I've gotten more involved with the 3 Day, I notice bracelets, pins, T-shirts and just about anything with a pink ribbon, a lot more than I used to.

The checker was wearing a pink ribbon bracelet, and I asked her, as I've started to do lately, whether she is a Survivor.
She told me no, but her sister is and asked the same of me. I told her about the walk and answered her questions about the event.

She told me he sister recently received her second breast cancer diagnosis. She was originally diagnosed 17 years ago and had a mastectomy on her right side. In between the last diagnosis and the current, this woman's sister suffered from ovarian cancer, optical cancer AND brain cancer. That's a whole lot of crap for one person (and one family) to deal with.


I was stunned. I said I'd think of her sister while I was walking. She thanked me, and thanked me for walking. I replied, "I have it easy. It's your sister and your family who have a fight ahead of you. I wish you all well." And that's when she started to tear up. She could only nod and wave goodbye because she was so choked up. When I ask people, "are you a survivor?" those are the types of stories I hear. Some are happier, but all are tragic in their own way.


Not too long before this I read
a piece on AOL news that has stuck with me. It was about Breast Cancer Awareness Month and raised the question of commercialism, how much pink is too much pink, and is the ribbon overexposed? I saw that sentiment echoed elsewhere online throughout the month of October.

Parts of the article I agree with. Some companies are slapping a pink ribbon on anything and everything. Sometimes the items make sense, but other times (for example a make up line whose ingredients may be cancer causing) it makes me scratch my head. Plus, just because something is pink doesn't mean the company actually gives money to any type of breast cancer organization. The color pink and the breast cancer ribbon aren't regulated.


On the other hand, how can awareness be bad? If a man or woman sees a pink ribbon and remembers to schedule a mammogram or do a self exam, isn't the ribbon then serving it's purpose? Tyler and I buy yogurt with the pink lids because we know a portion of the proceeds will go to legitimate research. I know, too, that the amount of funds being donated will have a cap and that there is a chance my purchase won't do anything at all. But, I like to think that it will. I was going to buy yogurt anyway, why not buy the brand that is supporting a cause I feel passionate about?

I understand there are people who have lost loved ones who view the ribbon as a reminder of that loss. I can also understand people going through treatment not wanting their diagnosis in their face everywhere they turn. After all, they are not their disease. Breast cancer isn't the only thing women die of and it's certainly not the only cancer out there. But are those reasons enough to start a reverse call to action and change corporate cause marketing practices?

I can't help but think of how far we've come in terms of research and development since the woman at WalMart's sister was first diagnosed 17 years ago, how far we have to go and how much money it will take to get there.


The stories I've heard make me feel so helpless at times. The little bit of this blog I have devoted to posts on breast cancer and the walk have helped. Knowing I'll be participating in the walk and raising funds has helped too.

By the time this post goes up, my mom and I will have made it through opening ceremonies and set off with thousands of men and women to walk 60 miles over three days. We will raise awareness, celebrate survival and strength and remember those who fought so hard. Strangers will thank us on behalf of their loved ones or even on their own behalf. We will hear inspiring stories of courage and heartbreaking ones of loss. We'll be surrounded by pink and the pink ribbon. And I just don't see how that can be a bad thing.

 

Actually, These Pants DON'T Make My Butt Look Big

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I've been blaming the baby weight I'm carrying on my love of starches, carbs, chocolate and food in general. I haven't tried to diet but lately have tried to be more conscious of what I'm eating, when I eat it and why. I have lost some weight, which I've been attributing to the training for the walk but mostly on these stinking braces. Some of my pants are loose and it seems my cheekbones have decided to come out of hiding.

I haven't stepped on a scale so I couldn't translate my pants not staying up into actual pounds lost. Last week I broke out the Wii Fit for the first time in ages to try the new game I bought. While my Wii Fit age had jumped to 40, my BMI was down and the animated board told me I've lost almost 14 pounds!
I couldn't believe it.

Last Tuesday I decided it was time to try on jeans for a pair that fit better (which is usually a nightmare because there's so much junk in my trunk). I had a coupon from BlogHer for a free pair of Gap jeans that I've been saving. I pulled my usual size off the rack and brought a few different styles into the dressing room. And they were too big!

The salesperson came to check on me and I asked for the next size down, which I haven't had to do since I was in my 20's.
I haven't looked like this in a pair of jeans since college. I can honestly say, for the first time in a long time, that I don't think my butt looks big! I don't care if it is vanity sizing, wearing a size 6 again is making me pretty happy today.
(I apologize for both the crappy photo and the fact that I didn't clean the mirror first)

UPDATE: My mom arrived at our house this afternoon for the 3 Day and the first thing she said when I got out of the car was, "Wow! You did get skinny! I can't remember the last time you were that size!" Umm, thanks?

*None of the companies or brands mentioned asked me to do so, I only included them as a means to tell the story.

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Numero Water Boutique in Littlle Italy [Whrrl]

Wordless Wednesday: San Diego Zoo


For more Wordless Wednesday visit: 5 Minutes for Mom, Mom Dot, What's That Smell

Can You Help Mocha Momma? [small purses wanted]

Friday, November 13, 2009

The lovely and inspiring Kelly from Mocha Momma needs help. She is assistant principal at a high school and is collecting small purses for the female students. For security, the girls are no longer allowed to carry purses bigger than a sheet of paper. Kelly will be holding a purse sale at the school where the girls can choose a bag for $5 and the proceeds will go to her school.

Mocha Mommas Purse Drive

Read about how the One Small Purse project began on Kelly's blog. I went through my closet and have 4 small bags boxed and ready to mail. If you're making a Goodwill run, posting on Craigslist or donating to Amvets, please consider sending your unused small purses to Kelly instead. Thanks!

Tastemaker 2010 Challenge- The Second Box Arrives!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The second mystery box for the Tastemaker challenge arrived on Tuesday. I like the idea of waiting to open it on video so you guys can see too.



I'll give you all the details on this new challenge soon!

Happy 2nd Birthday Maddie

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today Maddie would have turned 2. Her parents, Mike and Heather, have suffered the worst imaginable loss. Help them honor their daughter and consider a donation to the foundation they started in her name, Friends of Maddie. A $25 donation creates one NICU Family Support Pack. Happy birthday Maddie. I'm wearing my favorite purple ring today and thinking of you.

Happy Veteran's Day

Patriotic play last year at Tyler's school

Right now my son is upstairs coloring a photo for his Dad for Veteran's Day. It's the planting of the flag at Iwo Jima. If we ask Tyler what he wants to be when he grows up, he usually gives us several things ranging from football player to policeman. But 'soldier' is usually a constant. I've told Phil before that, as Tyler gets older, we need to talk with him about it and change his mind.

But lately I've been thining about my position and where it comes from. I see his little face now, as a child, and I can't picture the man he's going to be. I have that Mother Bear need to keep him safe and with no future insight into what the political climate will be by the time he's 18, the idea of him putting on a uniform scares me.

But, I'm proud of my husband for his service. Being in the military was good for Phil. Who says it won't be good for Tyler too? It's not up to me whether he joins. It's a decision I hope Tyler will include his parents in but ultimately it's up to him. I can't applaud others for their desire and willingness to serve their country but not apply that to my own son.

Who knows what the future holds? But, for now, I have decided not to try and dissuade Tyler from any military aspirations. It wouldn't be fair to him.

Happy Veterans Day to the men and women who put on their uniforms out of a love for their country, a desire to serve and a sense of patriotism and honor. Your service to our country is appreciated today and all days!

The Flu Bugs Have Infested Our House

Monday, November 9, 2009

I'm still here! I have not abandoned you, I've just been sick. I started feeling bad last weekend but attributed it to the fact that we were out late Friday and Saturday and Tyler's birthday party was Sunday. I took a 6-mile walk Monday. Tuesday, I spent hours editing the Tastemaker video and got a headache. By Wednesday I figured I was run down from all the activity and I stayed in bed for half the day. I had a slight fever of 100.4.

Thursday I made it through a little of the morning and then fell asleep on the couch. I woke up around 12:30 dripping sweat. I changed clothes and crawled into bed. My cell went off around 2:30 and I had to fight not to fall back asleep since it was close to time to get Tyler. I got out of bed and felt a little dizzy. I had to sit down outside my room. I hadn't eaten or drank anything the entire day, and assuming it was low blood sugar, went upstairs to get some OJ.


The dizzyness got worse as I moved up the stairs and I sat down on the couch and knew there was no way I could get in the car and wanted to start making calls to find someone to get Tyler. I don't remember going from the couch to the kitchen but I woke up on my back on the kitchen floor. This is the view I had.
Which, being just a ceiling, is not remarkable in itself. But to have that specific view my head needed to be right next to my stove.

I don't know if I fell and rolled onto my back as I was coming to but I'm really lucky I didn't hit the granite countertops on the way down. I do have a bruise and small scrape on my right arm. My lower back has been really sore and there's a pain in my shoulder that goes up into the left side of my neck. I'm concerned about the walk since any pain you have throws off your natural walking rhythm. I'm going to get a massage and hope it helps.

We went to the ER Thursday but it didn't shed any light. they wouldn't test me for the flu since I'm not in any high risk group and wasn't being admitted to the hospital. It's a little ironic that my plan on Thursday was to stop into CVS after getting Tyler from school and getting flu shots for both of us. I have to wait until I'm feeling better but we definitely want Tyler to get his shot. We haven't decided if we'll do H1N1 as well. I'm feeling better but still get tired pretty easily. I've got a lot to catch up on but hopefully am back in the groove. Stay healthy!

Tastemaker 2010 Challenge Update- The Video is Up!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Editing is not my strong suit. Apparently, my new! laptop is more technology than I know how to use. But, my You Tube video is finally up! In it, I give a few appetizer ideas and mention a few products.* I've linked to the recipes below.

After you watch the video, don't forget to rate it using the five star system. I got the two salmon recipes from Taste of Home's website. The mashed potato pizza is a replica of an appetizer I had when I was out with Deb.

I looked online for a recipe to make sure I was on the right track and the site I found had a good one. Nick used homemade dough, but I went with Trader Joe's. After making the pizza, I wish I had rolled the dough out a lot thinner. The bread is supposed to be secondary to the mashed potatoes and a little crispy. Mine wasn't quite like that.

Taste of Home recipes
-Salmon Tarts
-Salmon Stuffed New Potatoes

Macheesmo.com

-Mashed Potato Pizza


Thanks again to McCormick and Schmicks for the salmon and to Fleishman-Hillard!


*FTC disclaimer: The only items given to me for this video were the salmon, a video camera, a gift card for expenses, red carpet and director's clapboard. The rest I purchased or borrowed. The websites I've linked to didn't ask me to do so, nor do they know I did (until now).

Happy 7th Birthday, Little Man!

Monday, November 2, 2009

I've tried to put together a post several times and nothing sounds right. I've heard that, when you have story to tell and don't know where to start, it's always helpful to go back to the beginning. These are excerpts from my journal during my pregnancy.


January 28, 2002

Last week and this week I've been having Imaginary Pregnancy Symptoms: tired, faint cramps, cravings and really sore boobs. I'm either late or pregnant. I took a HPT and saw a faint line. I'm not sure what to make of it.


March 1, 2002

The waiting was killing me so I broke down and took a HPT right when I got home. The faint line isn't so faint anymore! I can't believe it, I'm pregnant! I called Phil. I was going to wait until Tuesday [after the doctor appointment] but I had to share. On our first try, we made a baby!

March 6, 2002

I got the blood test results and I was right! I couldn't keep the secret, I called Mom. Needless to say she was shocked. She was out with friends from church over the weekend and they were talking to her about their grandkids. When they asked if I was thinking about kids she said, "I'll be 75 before I'm a grandmother!" We showed her.


April 4, 2002

I went to St. Louis with Mom. I had my first OB visit the day after I got back. I got to see the baby. Talk about amazing! To see that little blob and the only moving part is the heart. I wish Phil could have been there.


May 12, 2002
Today is Mother's Day. I haven't yet thought of what that means to me. I'm so ready to be a mom. Part of me feels it's the direction I've been heading.I have no idea what career path I should take. Maybe 'Mom' is it. Phil called to wish me a Happy Mother's Day. I can't wait for him to come home. We'll finally be able to act like expecting parents. Next year at this time we'll have a 7 month old boy/girl.


June 22, 2002

Phil is finally home! I got to pick him up on Saturday the 1st. It was the best day I've had since I found out about the baby. It was so good to see him again. He was surprised by how much I was showing.
Now for the really exciting news: It's a boy! We went for an ultrasound on the 17th. It was so good to have Phil home for that. He's only seen the baby in the ultrasound photos I sent to [Hawaii]. I'm glad the baby was moving around so much. The lab tech had the perfect side view on the monitor. She asked if we wanted to know the sex, but I spotted the evidence before she said anything. It was a little surprising since I'd been "feeling" girl for a long time. But of course, I'm happy. We've started working on our lists of names.

August 6, 2002
Wow, I can't believe I'm this old. I never pictured being where I am in my life at this age. I figured I'd have kids by 23! Shows what I know. But, here I am, wife and soon to be mother.


October 2, 2002

Countdown has begun. I'm at home on semi bedrest. Doctors orders.
I feel like more should be happening internally. I haven't had any Braxton Hicks (at least I don't think so). My mucus plug is still there. The baby is less active but so am I. It's hard to get into a comfortable sleep position and my heartburn is out of control. When the baby does stretch out it's either against my cervix or rib cage. Talk about painful! I've been catching up on all my baby book reading. I still have to read the manual on the breast pump. It looks pretty scary!

November 1, 2002

Well, tonight's the night. I went to my non stress test appointment this morning. When it was my turn for the sonogram, I told the nurse, "please tell me something that means this baby will be coming out!!!" I got my wish. My amniotic fluid dropped from a 9.5 on Monday to a 3 today. The lowest it should be is a 5. The nurses called the doctor's office to get their advice. I'm going to the hospital at midnight for my induction.
It's close to 7pm and I should be sleeping. I tried but I can't stop thinking about what's to come. After months of waiting and wondering he's finally going to be here. Until the doctor tells me he's fine and I hear him cry, I won't be able to breathe. After tonight, my life will never be the same. We will leave this house a couple and come back a family.

Happy Birthday Tyler. We love you so much, and have since the day we found out you were coming. Without a doubt, you are the best thing that's ever happened to me. You carry my heart in your pocket every day. Watching you grow and mature has been so wonderful. You're an amazing little man. I can't wait to see what changes come in your seventh year. You blow me away, every single day.
 
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