Sunday, July 31, 2011

What I love about the walk....

Thanks for those of you who made the time in your busy summer to come to Cheers to the Cure.

It was a wonderful evening of spirit, (and spirits) friends and family, and new friends as well.

Each year I give a little talk, this year for me the topic was more than clear to me. Why do I do the walk? There are a lot of reasons to NOT do the walk, to NOT do this event. I don't always have the time, or the energy to walk. The weather doesn't always cooperate The economy is down, people have a hard time finding the $$ to donate. It can be overwhelming. But, as I told the people at the event, as much as I hate the walk... I hate Cancer more.

Someone pulled me aside quite concerned about me. She felt like it wasn't healthy for me to HATE so much. I told her she missed the point. I told her there was a lot I LOVE about the walk, and this event. I thought I would recap the night by letting you all know what I LOVE about the Breast Cancer 3 day, and Cheers to a Cure (aka Wine Wars).

When I was diagnosed with Cancer, I lost all my power (or at least I felt like I had).

I LOVE the 3 day because it was through the 3 day I felt powerful again.

I LOVE the 3 day because it became an affirmation of how alive I am, 16 years later.

I LOVE that my friends have joined me in this crusade.

I LOVE that we have raised over $70,000 toward finding a cure to Cancer.

I LOVE my husband in pink boas, pink ties and the sight of him handing out pink mardi gras beads.

I LOVE that my daughters stood by my side and walk with me and each other.

I LOVE that when I am walking (even in training) when people see my shirt with 16 year survivor on it - they have hope.

I LOVE when people notice that shirt they will tell me their stories

I LOVE that the event I participate in is the fulfillment of not only Nancy Brinkler's promise to her dying sister and that the promise is one we all keep to those we lost to Cancer.

I LOVE knowing what one person does, does matter.
I LOVE that I have found companies, and people who care.

I LOVE that when you ask... people will stand up and help.

I LOVE that the walk and the event somehow is more a celebration of life than a fear of death.

I LOVE I have had music fill my soul with each and every step I take.

I LOVE that others hear the music too.

I LOVE that our daughters are growing up in a world where Cancer will be GONE... because we cared enough, to do everything in our power and beyond it to make a difference.

I LOVE pink because, it makes my cheeks rosy and is the most powerful color I know.

I LOVE that all of us know we are all survivors, even if we have never personally had Cancer, because to love someone who has survived Cancer, you have survived it too.

I LOVE the walk and this event because even macho men look so good in pink shirts and pink converse tennies.

I LOVE making a difference.

I LOVE being a voice that can move others.

I LOVE the difference this walk has made in my life.

I LOVE all of you -you understand that about me and allow me to do what I have to do...

THIS Walk, THIS Event

Finding a way to end Cancer.

Enjoy the pictures.

Chef Chuck and Bro Ken

God daughter Marysha

Angel Jackie - Mike and Patty
Two cool dudes - Glenn and Rob

Look at that bench!

Rob and Beth
Cathedral School reconnects

Cathedral School reconnects
Tracy and Gene
I love these guys.... Jackie and Shawn

There when it matters. Lindy and Patty

My niece and my brother

Ken and Kelsey

Check out the Converse... Thanks Ken, sis Vicki and Kelsey

Dear friends... Sonya and Pete

Megan and Judi

It's a generational thing
Michael Feldman
Love these guys
Carole Ellison, Cathy and Glenn
Kerry and Julianne Volpe

MC Cathy

Thank you everyone.

Keep me loving it all.... donate

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Holy cow. I am tired.
Sure hope you all will come. It will be amazing. GREAT wine. GREAT food. GREAT music. GREAT cause. I am counting on you!

I may be lying low until after the dusk has settled. LOTS to do.

You will be glad you did.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Watching Cancer from the outside

I had a melt down last night. I just couldn't help myself. I read a post by Olivia's Mom about the initial chemo session. I felt as if I was side swiped by a mac truck.

I think she wrote something like "happier news, we are getting Olivia a pixie cut. I don't want to think about her long hair coming out in clumps."

Like a time machine I was thrown back to the day I went into my hairdresser at the time and asked him to do the same thing to my hair. I told him why and he was nearly incapable of continuing. He couldn't say another word the whole time I was there. It seemed practical enough to me to ask to have my hair cut. After all, if anyone should have been upset, it should have been me. But his discomfort in cutting my hair challenged my charge ahead and deal with it attitude. It was far more difficult for him to cut my hair than for me to have it cut. I never did go back to see him. He made me uncomfortable in this discomfort. I understand him better now.

I suppose for me then, I didn't have the bandwidth to worry about how my Cancer made him feel. But as I fell apart last night I realized how much more difficult it really is to watch someone go through Cancer than to have it yourself.

Having chemo, sitting in a chair and have chilling poison pumped into your body is not fun by any means, but to hold the hand of the person who is being poisoned is heart wrenching. I think about my husband as he stood by my side and how he must have felt all those many years ago, it must have been next to impossible. I think about my children and how they watched me as my hair fell out, and I became ill, and I think how incredibly scary it must have been. Cancer takes so much more of a toll on those around than people think. A lot of attention is placed on the Cancer "warrior", but those people who stand by them are the reason the war is possible at all. They are warriors whose only weapon is love. No battle can be won without them.

Olivia has 4 kinds of chemo being used on her "to start". Her parents are leaning toward the regime that would require stem cells to rescue her. Her Mom is asking people who knit to consider knitting a cap for Olivia. I don't knit and I wish I was a stem cell so I could rescue all of them. All I have is love for them.

Last night I told Glenn I had to get this out of my system so I can help. So I let myself, let down and just be incredibly sad. Now I can put my focus into things that are more positive. #1. Make Lasagna for the familysome day soon #2. See if the boys would like to come and meet my dogs and give the grandparents/parents a little break. #3. Do a better job of getting people to sign up for Cheers to the Cure. #4. End Cancer.

Ok the last one is a little tricky.

You can help.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Palomarin to Wildcat

Yesterday was one of those charmed days when you get out of bed, look to the skies and see a radiant blue with the hope of a beautiful day ahead. It is the kind of a day when you can usually head safely for the beach to get in a Point Reyes walk. (ok hike).

All this is possible because I have an amazing partner, Myriam, who is holding down the fort for me as I train for the 3 day. I think she knows, when I am not walking, I am not at all balanced or as efficient.

When I reached PaloMarin Trailhead, a trailhead on the Coastal Trail, the skies were still blue. But if you looked to the coast you couldn't really see anything... it was still socked in with the "marine" layer we have come to know, love, hate and live with. I knew it would be clear on my way back from wherever I was headed.

Yes, there is an ocean beyond that cliff... if you had doubts.

Because taking pictures of the LONG views were probably going to be difficult, I opted to take come close up shots of some of the flower on the trail.

Even though the poppies of spring have faded, there are still a few
hanging around like they didn't get the memo... it's summer.

The morning glories were in their... glory.

I know you cant see it but behind this flower there was a squirrel hiding out.

Seemed to me that many of the purple and blue flowers had disappeared but there were plenty of orange,yellow, white and red flowers around.

The fog still clung to the valleys heading into the coastal mountains at about 10:00.

The trees on the trail framed a "view" of the fog beyond.

One purplish flower.

Along this trail there are a number of lakes. This one had a ton of water lilies decorating it.

I didn't bother to take a picture of the banana slug I found on the way. But I saw several lady bugs and butterflies.

Later in the day there were a ton of kids here swimming in the lake. They had to walk in a bit to get here, they deserved a swim. I had no idea people did that here!

The last time I was in Point Reyes was after a pretty big storm I think. Something like that knocked this big tree down... and even short little me had to scrunch down to walk under it.

That's some root ball!


Somewhere along here I was wondering where I was headed. Would I take a left when I got to the Alamere Falls trails or keep going. We had a listing appointment scheduled for 4 or 6 I thought... so I decided I would go a little farther.

The trail was rutted from rains and some of the trail hadn't been groomed in some while. You definitely have to watch where you are going.

Poison Oak lines the trail and you wouldn't dare walk off the trail, if you could help it.

Fog was still clinging to the coast around 11.

I looked down the trail to Alamere Falls and there was no way I was walking down that poison oak laden trail in capris!

So I kept on walking. I was thinking boy there are truly more hills to this trail than I remember.

I decided to head to Wildcat trail. There were trail markers that offered two choices, one Ocean Lakes trail and the other the Coastal Trail. I thought hey, look Ocean trail is going downhill and Coastal is going up.... that did it, I headed down.

I found out that this was one trail where it hadn't been maintained in awhile. The grass was tall and it was hard to find the trail underneath all the brush, but I kept pushing through. I got a little nervous thinking a BIG old Mountain Lion could be hiding in the grass. Then I thought about Olivia and somehow I wasn't so scared anymore. Chemo as a 2 year old, Mountain Lions as an old tough lady... I knew I could scare a Mountain Lion, I hope Olivia knows she can scare off the Cancer.

I know the trail was called Ocean Lakes. This was almost all I saw of a lake and it was the shallow end, reeded up.

Oh and this... fog.

This was really a pretty great day. It was very warm in the sun and cool but not cold in the fog. It was almost as though you could pick your temperature.

This bench will have a view in about 20 mins.

After passing this bench I started heading downhill toward Wildcat camp. Along the way I passed three guys with lawn mowers. Yup Lawn mowers.

I said "Boy this trail needs you!" and he responded, "I know we are a little late this year."

Even though they had cut all this grass I didn't really want to walk on that part. I was sure there would be some hole hiding under the grass. So I hugged the side of the trail. Then all of a sudden, I ran into some sort of sticker bush. It stung like a ...... both my arm and my leg.

I could see anything like a scratch though, but it was decidedly uncomfortable. I knew on the way home I would put on my new handy dandy compression sleeves to avoid further "surprises." Later including today, both my leg and my arm were numb, as though someone had injected lidocane. What was that bush?

Yup we are talking hills .... and this would be classified as hiking not walking.

And here I am at Wildcat Camp. this is a camping spot in easy walking distance to the beach. It is around 5.7 from PaloMarin trailhead and about 3.8 miles from Bear Valley Trail.

I walked over to the beach to find somewhere to sit down and cool off. By now even the beach had sun.

But just the beach, just off the coast the fog lingered. I ate a granola bar, and some sharkies, drank some water and planned my walk back.

Seriously how lucky are we to live in such a beautiful place?

Walking back along Coast Trail I passed more of the Ocean Lakes than I had from the Ocean Lake trail.

All along the alk back just as I predicted you could see the ocean and beyond. That equalled, sweat! I passed about 6 people who had just gotten on the trail from Alamere. They were obviously rested as I walked I heard them right behid me. I said "Hey go ahead and pass me. I think this 58 year old is getting alittle tired and I dont want to slow you up." They did, walk quickly past, then about 10 minutes later I came up on them again. They were beat. I passed them and didn't see them again. Take that whipper snappers!

Pretty Pretty Pretty...

This is near where that first FOG picture was.

It's all clear now.

Here's the map that is at the trailhead. Doesn't look too far dows it? But when I got back to the car the GPS told me I walked 11.8 miles.
And you know what it felt like 20.
How about you are you doing yours?

Have you bought your ticket to Cheers to a Cure? You wouldnt have a better time anywhere Friday July 29th.... I promise.