Monday, October 17, 2011

An October Update....

In my last blog post(a long time ago), I talked about the inspiration and beauty of the 3 Day walk and what it's like to be surrounded by people all fighting for the same cause. Magical.

A few weeks ago me and 3 other Tough Warrior Princesses, Cheryl, Sherri and Jody all traveled to Washington D.C. to volunteer to work the 3-Day walk there. We volunteered for traffic control. We flew into D.C. early Thursday morning in order to be there the day before the walk started so that we could attend "crew" meetings that instructed us what we would be responsible for over the coming 3 days. Our Traffic Control duties seemed like they shouldn't be too difficult and we were hoping to get the opportunity to cheer on walkers. Well.... our duties as traffic control were a bit harder than imagined. To say that we were soaked, muddy, tired beyond anything I have experienced would be an understatement.

The weekend was wrought with emotion as Jody experienced a loss in her family while we were away. Our teammate Maurine was facing new treatment for her advancing breast cancer that Monday, and our thoughts never went far from another teammate and her beautiful young daughter, who are experiencing some extremely tough times.

Arriving home, I don't think I have ever been so happy. Seeing Mike standing in the terminal waiting as we arrived from our flight was the highlight of my weekend for sure!

It was a long weekend spent for a cause so near and dear to my heart. I was challenged physically and emotionally. The three women I shared the experience with were my rocks. I'm honored to have done this with them. I'm very glad to have had the experience. Thank you and congratulations to all the D.C. walkers! $7 Million raised!!! I will tell you it is much easier, in my opinion, to walk 60 miles then Crew the event. I think I'd even walk 120 Miles!

The next day, I had the opportunity to take Maurine (fellow Tough Warrior Princess) into Dana Farber to start a Phase I trial treatment. Maurine has been in trial treatment before, but not Phase I. We arrived at 7:45 in the morning and stayed until 8:15 that evening. To say that Maurine is a guinea pig would be an understatement. We spent the day on the research floor - Maurine had tests run in the a.m. and then, once cleared had her first treatment of this new trial. After each weekly treatment that Maurine will now receive, she then has to spend 8 hours in the research lab having heart and blood tests. She is one of 16 women in the entire world enrolled to this trial. It was an eye opening experience... scary, exciting and interesting. Side effects? Drug interactions? Well some are known, but lots aren't. She is the research! Despite what the circumstances were, Maurine and I had a great day. (at least I think she had a great day - I know I did - but I wasn't the guinea pig.) We laughed a lot, because if you know Maurine, she can make any circumstance comical. It wasn't all laughter, as we talked a lot about life and how unfair it can be. But if you put your situation in perspective, it usually isn't all that bad. Maurine bounced around the Dana Farber building entertaining her chemo nurses from the prior trial and even entertaining her oncologist. She opined about her thoughts on the cure. Of course, she always has a new idea brewing!!

In honor of breast cancer awareness month, I must say this. In watching Maurine deal with the side effects of the trial, about getting bad news of another friend with late stage metastatic breast cancer, in remembering it is the month I lost my young mother to breast cancer 17 years ago on her 25th Wedding anniversary...

It seems to me that we often make a breast cancer diagnosis look easy. Look at the images on TV, all the talk of survivors, all the pretty pink.... I know that I have always been vocal about the bright side of my experience and always say in some strange way it has changed me for the better. It has and I am grateful and I live differently now. But, going through it was Hell for me and my family and friends. There is nothing uplifting or pretty about it, as with any and all cancers. It is not a feel good experience. Yes, there are better treatments than their were 17 years ago when I lost my mom... but there is NO CURE. That is what needs to be focused on not just in October and not just breast cancer.

Having got that off my chest....

We have also spent our time recently in the Mellon family raising funds for Juvenile Diabetes for the walk that Katie and her 'Krew' did in Boston on October 2nd. The following weekend we continued our fundrasisisng efforts as we hosted the Roberta Mellon Memorial Tournment at the Amesbury Golf & Country Club. The tournament was a great success and we are blessed with some great friends and family. Looks like about $4,000 was raised after expenses. Most of the money will go to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and a portion will also go to the Amesbury High School Golf team. It was great to have some members of the golf team present and playing in the tournament. The local business community of support was fantastic!

Our Tough Warrior Princess Team training continues for the upcoming October 30th Komen 5k Race for the Cure. 9 weeks ago, we started a Couch to 5k running program and the turnout was amazing. We have runners and walkers at all levels and since we are training at the track, we can all run our different paces while motivating one another to continue. We will continue training and will be running as Team Tough Warrior Princess on October 30th in Boston. If you are interested in running, sign up and become a Princess. The more the merrier!

The Princesses got together this past weekend for a night out. I was so nice connecting with some that I don't get to see as often as I would like. It seems that everyone on this team somehow plays off one another and each person is a better person as a result. Going into the 2011 walk, I was worried that a team of 32 people really couldn't share the close bonds like a team of 10 did -- How wrong I was!

1 comment:

  1. I'll be volunteering on Sunday morning at the finish line - and my friend, who is one year out from her Stage 3 diagnosis, is doing her first event as a survivor. Hope to see you there! Your team continues to inspire me!