Team Pink and Pearls!

Team Pink and Pearls!
Team Pink and Pearls is heading to Tour de Pink East Coast 2014! Click the photo to make a donation!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

18


All dolled for campaign closing celebrations last weekend!

Three years ago tomorrow, April 18, I got the devastating call that I had breast cancer. I still remember the doctor’s exact words: “there were some cancer cells …” and my mouth going dry, my world going numb. We were setting up for Passover Seder at the Millers. The first night. I wanted to go home, crawl into bed and cry until the world disappeared around me.

But I didn’t.

So proud of Sean for his 7.5 years of work on Penn State's For the Future Campaign!

I celebrated Passover. First with my soon-to-be-in-laws in Warminster and then with my family in Virginia. The Millers and my family knew but we kept it a secret from everyone else. We didn’t know what I faced yet. We didn’t know how advanced the cancer was. We didn’t know what my treatment would be.
I ate, I drank, I laughed. We had Seder as planned. And it was beautiful and fun, just like it always is.
All around us people were congratulating our new engagement. And I smiled and was gracious. But inside I was thinking about the breast cancer. Those “cancer cells.”



Night 1 2014 in Warminster!


Night 2, 2014 in Reston!

The call was Monday. Tuesday was the second Seder. Tuesday Lloyd took our engagement photos, as planned. And Wednesday we drove to Hershey and began.
I’ll never forget that day. When Passover rolls around each year I am so grateful to be able to celebrate, actually CELEBRATE at Seder. Not have that heartbreaking news in the back of my mind. Have my mind free to actually celebrate.

Got to meet Daniel and Laura's new baby on the way from Warminster to Reston! He was such a doll :)
Three years ago, tomorrow, we were stirred.
I often think about that day, and everything I’ve been through the past three years, and wonder and worry if I’m going to have to face it again. I worry about the breast cancer coming back.

Passover 2014 <3

But I have no reason to today. So instead I move forward. With that little bit of fear in the back of my mind. WE move forward. Wedding, honeymoon and new house behind us, we look to the future. G-d has a beautiful thing planned for us this year.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Bench pressing after breast cancer and my first frittata

It’s been quite a journey with our personal trainer. We’ve had about six sessions with her and the improvements I see in myself are overwhelming.
The first time I tried a pull up, if you remember, I just kind of hung there, not able to use any part of myself to pull myself up. And last time I was able to not only use my abs to pull my legs up and in, but could twist them from side to side without touching the chair under me. Not the whole time, but for one or two reps it was all me.
And the bench pressing. Oh, the bench pressing. I never bench pressed before breast cancer, but I sure as hell am doing it now. It may not be a lot of weight, but that isn’t the point. The point is I’m doing things I never imagined doing after my surgeries literally ripped apart my chest again and again and again. Expanders in and out. Skin torn. Skin replaced. Implants in and out. Again and again.
And now I can bench press. Now I can do a pull up.
Just like there is running after breast cancer, there is bench pressing after breast cancer.
Just like there is running after breast cancer, there is yoga after breast cancer.
Just like there is running after breast cancer, there is cycling after breast cancer.
A 213 mile bike ride. A 10 mile run.
The body is a beautiful thing. The mind is a beautiful thing.
Oh, that half-marathon doesn’t seem so overwhelming anymore.
So the trainer has been great. Both myself and Sean have upped our strength and endurance. We both work hard each session; we push ourselves to the max and never hold anything back. And we cheer each other on.
For me, the trainer has me using muscles I never even knew existed and has me doing exercises and activities I couldn’t have dreamed of. It’s empowering to see my strength grow after each session. It’s empowering to watch myself gradually improve and get even stronger. Just like it was empowering to ride my bike from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. Just like it was empowering to run 10 miles.
But regaining strength in my body is only one small part of healing from the breast cancer. It’s a significant part. But it’s only one part of the puzzle. The other parts I’m still trying to figure out as I struggle with sleep, struggle with anxiety, struggle with anger, struggle with sadness, struggle with making plans far in advance (I do them but it makes me nervous to do so).

Emily, Tara and Christine

My table!

Kim and Melissa brought their special little ones!

Ah yes, I love a good setup

This past weekend I hosted a champagne brunch for my girlfriends. I LOVE planning and hosting and throwing parties. I planned every detail, right down to the gumdrops in the martini glasses. And I also made frittata for the first time, which to most people, would be no big deal. (Just eggs and veggies, right?!) But to me, to sauté vegetables over the stove just correctly and then cover them with eggs and then bake them for just the right amount so it’s not burnt but the eggs are cooked fully – WHEW, for me, that is an accomplishment! I made three frittatas, two of which were eaten almost entirely. One small one, without cheese, wasn’t even touched so I’ll freeze it. The other two – one with cheese and one without – people actually ate!  
My frittata


So much yummy fruit!
I also served champagne (of course), orange juice to make mimosas, raspberries and blackberries to put in the champagne, and I had little candies, vanilla meringues (thank you, Trader Joe’s), dried dates and nuts. Some girls brought fruit salad and veggies, and Christine made a phenomenal strawberry oat cake. So all in all it was a success! I am so blessed to have such great friends who indulge me and let me play Martha Stewart, and an amazing husband, who also lets me play Martha Stewart, and take Cam out of the house for a few hours. 

We also had a bunch of other stuff this weekend; it was a busy one, and nothing is slowing down anytime soon!
Winter SEEMS to be over so I am happy about that.
My first blood work for the NIH study was successfully submitted and came back normal (thank goodness!). I also see my dermatologist this week, followed by my oncologist in a few weeks. So doctors, doctors. Always doctors. But it keeps everything in check and for now, at least I believe so, it keeps me sane. 
Brunch games!

Thanks, Kim, for the Korbel!
And referring to the post I recently wrote, addressing the things that make me sad, and then accepting them. Per Dr. Kelly last week I’m going to take that even further and just let those things, that list, stand alone. The right arm, the breast implants. Those four things on the list are alone. They don’t need to hold hands with the happy part of them.
The happy part of them, if you remember, was me loving my implants. The sad part was why I had them. And feeling them slosh around when I run.
No holding hands. I can be happy and I can be sad about the exact same thing at the exact same time.
I don’t need to twist and turn the sad into the happy, or the happy into the sad.
1.       I am sad about why I have breast implants. Because I had breast cancer.
2.       I am happy with the way my implants look and I am actually really confident with my body because of them.
Nos 1 and 2 don’t need to touch. They don’t need to mold into one another. They can remain separate.
I don’t have to try anymore. In that post I was on my way to getting it. I got part of the way there. But now I’m all the way there.
The things that make me sad make me sad. THE END.
I’m allowed to have that list, all of that list, without its happy versions or exceptions or rules.
I am sad about the breast cancer but happy with my implants.
NO.
I am sad about the breast cancer. Period.
I am happy with my implants. Period.
Two.separate.things. Two.separate.feelings.
I understand now, where all of the effort was coming from. The fighting to make one thing into another thing.
I am sad about why we’re adopting.
I am happy with the choice to adopt.
Two.separate.things.
From now on I promise to try not to compromise the bad and good, the happy and sad. They each deserve their own space.
I won’t touch them anymore. I’ll leave them alone. I’ll let them be exactly as they are.
When I try on bathing suits for Lauri’s bachelorette weekend, I am going to feel sad. I am going to look in the mirror and see my scars. I am going to be reminded of what I went through, of what the breast cancer took from me. I am probably going to think other women my age who are also trying on bathing suits probably aren’t looking in the mirror and remembering breast cancer, or seeing the scars I see. And I will feel sad. And I will let myself cry. I won’t dismiss those feelings to focus on how I love the color of the bathing suit or that it (hopefully) looks awesome on me. No. Instead I'm going to let myself FEEL all that washes over me. If I have to cry I will.
And when that part is over I will let myself feel happy about my implants, happy I am healthy, happy I get to go for Lauri’s bachelorette.
But the sad doesn’t get interrupted anymore. I get that now.
I can be two things without those two things holding hands.
And I need that.
It’s so easy to say and even to BE, someone who is strong and happy yet someone who has sadness in her heart. It’s so easy to quickly dismiss the sadness because the happy and the blessings easily overrule it. I am sad BUT IT’S OK BECAUSE....(this or that).
Not anymore.
I AM SAD I HAD BREAST CANCER.
I AM SAD I WALK AROUND WITH THAT, EVERY SINGLE DAY.
EVERYTIME BREASTFEEDING IS MENTIONED. EVERYTIME I SEE A BRA COMMERCIAL.
EVERYTIME I MENTION THE ADOPTION.
I CARRY IT. WITH ME. ALL THE TIME. IT’S ALWAYS THERE AND IT’S A SADNESS.
(Deep breath)
I get it now. And the proof that I get it, is in my tears writing this. I get it now.
 
Unconditional love <3

Monday, March 31, 2014

Two years, 10 miles


Today’s post is going to be short and sweet! Happy second wedding anniversary to the love of my life and my best friend. Each day with you is better than the last. We’ve already been through so much together – so many joys and hardships and so many challenges and experiences – and I can’t wait to experience even more. Like I recited in my vows on this day two years ago, “I can’t wait to walk life’s many paths with you.” There is no other person in the world I want by my side for the rest of my life. Thank you for being the kindhearted, gentle, loving, compassionate, passionate, strong, driven, loyal man you are. I can’t wait to raise a family with you. You make me the happiest woman in the world every day, and there isn’t a second that goes by that I don’t thank G-d for bringing you into my life. You are my rock, my soul mate, my best friend. I love you. Happy anniversary!

Celebrating two years of marriage today!

I love our silly, happy lives together! From the Eiffel Tower to red tongues at Rita's, we have the best times together!
And yesterday, my dear friends, I not only ran my first 10 miler, I ROCKED my first 10 miler! My time came in around 1:31:29. I was nervous and it was hilly but I got it done just like I set out to do! Because I know my body so well, I strategically planned out my food and fluid intake right down to the hour and it worked out well! I am so excited and so proud! What I loved best about yesterday’s run was that it started with a cannon going off. That’s my cue. That’s my cue to put the world aside, tune into my body and my mind and my breathing, and let my legs take me. 
Smiling at the finish! Thank you, Sean, for cheering me on!
I promised myself to flash a smile (for myself or whoever happened to be there) at every mile marker, and I did. And when I saw a sign on the route that said “1 mile to go,” I flashed the biggest smile ever.
Don’t get me wrong – it WAS hard. But I did it. And I loved it. I might write more on it later, but for now, happy anniversary, and happy day-after-10-miler!
FEELING GREAT!
Love,
Marjie

Friday, March 28, 2014

A list, and that acceptance I was talking about

1.       I have to say, “Please use my left arm” when telling the nurse which arm I “prefer” to get my blood drawn from or my blood pressure taken. I don’t “prefer” the left arm, it’s just that the right side had three lymph nodes removed during my mastectomy and I have to be extra cautious as lymphedema could develop. For the rest of my life I have to be careful not to wear too-tight jewelry on my right arm and fingers; not burn it or cut it or expose it to extreme heat or cold; don’t go in a sauna as that could produce swelling; protect it from bites and rashes; and try not to sleep on it.
Sometimes when I have to get anesthesia (like most recently for my colonoscopy), the nurse had to put my blood pressure cuff on my leg since my IV was already on my left arm.
In the interest of “accepting” what makes me sad, I’ve compiled a list of little teensy things I think about, that when they happen, they make me sad. When I think of these things I quickly dismiss them. But now I want to give them attention. All in the interest of acceptance.
2.       When I’m running and I can feel my silicone implants (usually the right one) sloshing around.
3.       When we’re with the personal trainer and I try to do a pull up for the first time (since elementary school?) and I realize I have no, NO, strength in my chest whatsoever. Even after months of physical therapy following my surgeries. Even after months of yoga. Even after push-ups and planks and running and cycling and weight-lifting. I just hung there, with no ability whatsoever to pull myself up. (So we resorted to me only using my ab muscles to pull my knees up and in, which worked. Our trainer and Sean had to lift me up the first few times, but during cycles 2 and 3 I was able to do them myself.) (And on a side side note: I do believe I will be able to do these eventually. One year ago I couldn’t do a push up or plank and now I can plank like a boss. Push-ups are still rough, but planking? Yes, sir. So I believe with practice I will be able to do a pull-up.)
4.       When I’m changing in the locker room at the gym and I have to change bras. Part of me wants to be like “F this, I’m going to change at my own pace because this is my body and I’m not ashamed of it” and part of me wants to change really, really fast to “protect” the other ladies from seeing a reconstructed chest, which clearly doesn’t look “normal” for someone in her 20s.
Honestly, at the time of me writing this post, only four things pop into my mind. And then I become overwhelmed with things that make me happy, things I love about my life and things I am grateful for.
It feels good to address these things and type them out as a way for me to say “hey, these things are real, these feelings are real, they exist and I can move forward.”
I’ll never be able to fully explain in writing the gratitude I feel every day in my everyday life for the beautiful people, things, moments, opportunities and experiences I’ve been blessed with. Those blessings and my gratitude make up most of my life (99.9999999999999 percent). BECAUSE of what I’ve been given, I write, I share, I plan, I run, I experience, I plan. To get more and to get the most out of life, because I love my life and I am the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been. And I actually said that a few years ago, and each day it seems to be more and more true.
And I fully believe in order for me to heal I have to address, in real-life examples, where my sadness is hiding. Because when it’s out in the open I can live more fully.
I’ve never been good at hiding feelings from myself and others. I am literally an open book. Everyone who knows me knows that. I am the worst liar. I can’t lie. Which is a huge benefit in so many ways, including being able to fully understand my own thoughts and feelings. And that is another thing I’m grateful for: that I know my strengths and weaknesses and that I work every day to address them.
1.       I may have to be extra careful with my right arm, and I may be reminded each time I get blood drawn (which is every four months) about my breast cancer, but my right arm is here and it works really, really well. And I’m here, and I work really, really well.
2.       I may feel my implants sloshing when I run, but I can run, and I can run really, really well. And my implants may not be me and they may be gel and gooey, but they are really quite amazing, and actually having them makes me feel really good about my body.
3.       I may have less-than-normal chest strength following six surgeries to my chest, but I already know I can regain it. And I will do so really, really well.
4.       One sentence: who ISN’T self-conscious changing in the locker room?
I’m satisfied with this list, which likely will change. Everyone has their lists. And everyone’s lists change as life changes and different things matter while other things just don’t.
Today, these things are what make me sad. These are thoughts that cross my mind for a split second before I rapidly dispose of them in an effort to maintain “fighting Marjie.”
Today, these things are addressed. And another lesson is learned. Another challenge accepted.
More growing, evolving, learning. More things to add to the “happy list.”

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Fighting Marjie"


My amazing run this past Saturday!


When my feet hit the pavement, it’s just me and my body and the world. And all at once I love myself, my body and the universe. My lungs, my heart, my head, my legs, my core. All working together in perfect harmony to take me mile by mile. And this past Saturday I accomplished 8.5 miles. My longest run to date was both preparation for this Sunday’s 10-miler and preparation for a life as a runner.
Two weekends ago, when I had run 6.5 miles, a friend asked me if I was training for something to have run that distance. Immediately I said, “Yes, a 10-miler March 30.”



Before Team Pink and Pearls' Silpada party fundraiser Sunday!

And then I thought more about it. Even when I’m not training I’m still running. I’ll always be running. Race or not, I run. I run for myself and I run for life. Running is a part of me just like coffee and Bravo TV. I run for so many reasons: to train for a race, to keep myself in shape, to keep my sanity, because I love it, because it’s fun, because it feels good, because it gives me a purpose, because it gives me a sense of accomplishment, because of that feeling afterwards, because of that feeling during. Because I love myself. Because it’s something I can control.
And because I love setting goals for myself and I love the finish line, I am going to run 13.1 miles before I turn 30.
I just will.
I had kind of thought about it before. I’m running 10 miles in March. 13.1 miles is 3.1 miles more than 10. Or, as my friend Amy said “Just think of it as 10 miles plus a 5K. And you’ve run A LOT of 5Ks.”
This is the same Amy who I did the Dirty Girl Mud Run with last June. The same Amy who gave me that final push I needed to sign up for Tour de Pink. I was on the fence, and her comment encouraged me to take the leap off the fence.
The same Amy who ran her first half-marathon last spring with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training in my honor.
The same Amy who has convinced me I absolutely can run a half-marathon.
So I had been thinking about it. And in the same urge/push/passion/drive/feeling-I-can’t-explain in which I signed up for Tour de Pink, I made the decision in my mind and in my heart that I am going to run a half-marathon.
I won’t be signing up until after TdP. But there is a half-marathon here on Dec. 7. That way I won’t have to travel, will have plenty of time to train, and what BETTER WAY TO TURN 30 THAN WITH A HALF-MARATHON?!
Boom. Consider it done.
So I will get through this Sunday’s 10 miles. And then I will continue to run throughout the spring and summer, but focus mostly on training with Sean for TdP. And when TdP is over I will sign up for the Nittany Valley Half-Marathon. And I’ll begin training in October, which shouldn’t be too overwhelming considering I’ll be running continuously throughout the spring, summer and fall.
Baby steps.
First I ran a 5K. And then I ran another 5K. And another and another and another. (And some more.) And then I told myself I was ready for a 10K. And a 200-mile bike ride. And a 10-miler. And then I’ll be ready for 13.1. I want to celebrate my thirty, flirty and thriving with a half-marathon.
For life. For myself. For 30. Because I can. Because I will. Because I want to.
I like plans. I like goals. I have energy and drive and passion. I want to use it. I stir. But I want to stir. Stirring keeps my sanity. And this is a topic I talk to Dr. Kelly about still, though not as much as before: I take on a lot to keep myself a certain way. To keep myself afloat. Because maybe if I’m not stirring I’m sad? I don’t know.
This past session we talked a lot about me putting on my “fighting Marjie” to maybe shield myself from true feelings of sadness about the LFS and adoption. I know what you’re thinking so I’ll get to that first: adoption is a blessing and it is going to be one of the best, most amazing experiences of our lives. Adoption is our choice. And it is the best choice for us. It will bring us a baby.
Still – Dr. Kelly made me look deeper: does it make me sad that I really didn’t have another option? (Or, instead of saying “really didn’t have another option” maybe I’ll say that any other option would have been extremely stressful and challenging and possibly devastating).
Take away the breast cancer the Li Fraumeni Syndrome and the childhood cancer and me not wanting to actually, physically be pregnant. Would we even mention the word “adoption?” Probably not. It probably wouldn’t even cross our minds. And it’s impossible to think of life had I not had breast cancer and not been diagnosed with LFS. That is so much of who I am, who we are, that it’s impossible to think what our lives would have been like otherwise.
I always have this “fighting Marjie” that says to myself and others that adoption is our choice and yes, it may not be conventional or what we had planned, but we’re not conventional and we’ve already been through hardships and came out better and stronger and we can do this and we can face this and we are excited about this and talking and talking and talking and talking. But am I sad?
Do I want to be pregnant? No.
Do I want to have breasts to breastfeed? No.
Do I want to have a natural baby? No.
Am I sad that my life course went this way? Maybe.
Do I want a baby? Yes.
Do I want to be a mom? Yes.
Will I be a mom? Yes
Will I be a good mom? Yes.
Am I sad that (taking away all of the ifs, ands and buts and details and technicallys) this really is my only choice? In that, because I had breast cancer and because I have LFS and because I had childhood cancer, THIS is how we have to have a family? Maybe.
Not sad about the adoption. Not sad about the choice.
Maybe sad about WHY.
And there it is.
Again – not sad about the adoption and not sad about the choice. Sad about what brought us here in the first place.
Because I so strongly focus on moving forward and my life now and not looking back and here are my stones and making choices and taking chances and turning hardships and challenges into positives and taking what I have and loving and appreciating and living fully without reserve.

Cute cupcakes at our book club meeting!

Because “fighting Marjie” doesn’t dwell. I have learned to take the bad and move on. Or make good from it. But always moving on. Always finding the positive. Because how well does it serve myself to wish I could have a natural baby or wish I didn’t have LFS or wish I didn’t have breast implants instead of the breasts I was born with or wish I didn’t have to get full body MRIs. NO. That’s not how I operate. That’s not how I function.
Instead I put on my big girl pants and I bike 200 miles.
I sign papers to bring home a baby.
I cherish life.
I fight every day.
There is nothing wrong with “fighting Marjie,” which both myself and Dr. Kelly agree with. But even fighting girls need a chance to be sad.
Just like with the breast cancer, I have to let myself feel sadness for these things I can’t control and didn’t plan. And then I can fight some more. But the important thing is I’m not fighting the sadness.


https://mysilpada.com/shop/party/invite?rep=robin.guillard&localeCode=en_US&partyId=641084&partyKey=C898230843494C38948E883438846929&partyInvitationType=CATALOG&visitorId=Dfgvrs21nc06iAZ7MkoeJdb5Sy-yC8Hj8ngH8MJ5sIES
The Silpada fundraiser was a success! You can STILL order online by clicking the photo! Proceeds benefit Team Pink and Pearls!


I like “fighting Marjie” and I plan on keeping her around for a while. Because it’s that spirit that fuels my survivorship. It’s that spark that helps me thrive. It’s who I am and it’s who I want to be.
And what will make “fighting Marjie” even stronger? Acceptance.  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Some Purim, some hockey, some team news


I know we’ve had a lot of really good weekends in the past, but this past weekend, in particular, was really great! Not sure what made it so great, but it was. Lots of exciting news and exciting things.
This past weekend was Purim, which we celebrated with a lot of baking of hamantaschen. My first batch Friday night didn’t turn out so good, but we had a successful try-again Sunday afternoon with Marisa, Paul and the boys. We helped them make gingerbread cookies during Christmas, so it only made sense that they would help us with our holiday! Sunday we also went to a Purim carnival at the local synagogue, which was really a lot of fun. I got to spend time with Melissa and Eric’s baby Brandon dressed as Superman (cape and all) so that was definitely a highlight of my day! A lot of our friends were there with their kids dressed in costumes, and of course, there was plenty of hamantaschen (plus pizza.) It reminded me a little of the Purim carnivals I used to attend at synagogue growing up. It feels so nice to be part of such a tight knit Jewish community here. And it feels amazing to walk into synagogue and know three families right off the bat. Sean and I plan to join the synagogue when we have our child, but for now it’s nice to go for holidays we’re in town for.  
My first batch. I used baking soda instead of baking powder and didn't fill the cookies correctly :( A+ for looking cute, though?
Saturday morning I went on one of my longest runs to date (6.5 miles in under an hour) outside, which was amazing, despite it being really windy. Also on Saturday we went to the last Penn State men’s hockey home game. It was an awesome time, though I was so tired from my morning run! I was happy to have that Saturday night watching Netflix movies with Sean and Cam.

With Melissa at the Purim carnival!
My longest run to date is about 8 miles (when I got lost during the 10K last August.) I’m hoping to do an 8-9 mile one this coming Saturday in prep for March 30: In only two weeks our wedding anniversary weekend will be here, which means we have a 10 mile run followed by lots of celebrations with friends!
Also, Sean and I started with a personal trainer last week. We are doing 10 one-hour buddy sessions; both of us workout together with the trainer. We had our second session this morning. I LOVE our trainer. She is working us hard and we are loving it.

At the hockey game! (We're in the suite!)
I know both myself and Sean exercise (my running, his cycling primarily), but this is a nice boost since I really could use some more weight training, especially with my osteopenia. Our trainer has us doing all sorts of weight bearing exercises, including bicep curls while doing wall sits, lunges with weights held out to the side (instead of held down), lots of ab work with the medicine ball, lots of planks and side planks, and the list goes on. It’s really a lot of fun to work out with Sean. And I love being sore the next day!

Baking with Paul, Marisa, Shane and Nolan!

YAY! Success!

We used sprinkles in the dough, of course.

AND, Team Pink and Pearls gained a new member over the weekend! Welcome to the team, Dan! We are so excited to have you! Dan, it means the world to me and to us that you have chosen to take on this challenge to support a cause so close to my heart. Thank you for doing this with us. You will love every second of the tour, I promise. To date, Team Pink and Pearls has raised $3,326! I know that number will grow now that Dan has joined the team, and now that some fundraisers are in the works. Check the fundraiser tab frequently for updates on the Silpada party, Arbonne party, and a celebration/fundraiser in honor of Julie’s birthday! I’m also working with our gym to host a Tour de Pink Indoor cycling event. Hopefully more on that soon.


Team Pink and Pearls!

I don’t know what has changed, but I feel I’m pretty much out of my winter slump! Believe it or not it’s still REALLY cold, and there’s still snow in the forecast (seriously?) but the longer days and sunlight really have boosted me out of my funk.
So we had a really awesome weekend. Here’s to an awesome week!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It's not spring yet? Oh, we hadn't noticed


Last week Sean got a new bike for Tour de Pink (a Giant) and he has begun training, including with clips! I am so proud of him! I went out on a 10 mile ride with him last night (following a 4.4 mile run which my legs are feeling both of this morning) with Pinky (my old, low, thick, heavy pink bike I used before Pink Flash), and I have to say, it took some getting used to again.
I will admit, this was my first real ride since Tour de Pink last September. Following TdP I was taking it easy and getting back into running and yoga. So I really hadn’t gotten on the bike. But when Sean and Julie signed up for Tour de Pink I made a commitment to be there “every step of the way” from training and fundraising and everything in between.
So I will and I am. I am literally doing everything EXCEPT riding in this year’s ride. I will train with Sean over these next six months (while fitting in my running), I am fundraising (I’m in the process of planning 2-3 fundraisers at this very moment) and I will organize team efforts, including recruiting team members, planning training rides, inviting people to the finish line, and designing and ordering jerseys. To date, Team Pink and Pearls has raised more than $3,000! Thank you to our friends and family who have supported us!
Since I last wrote we’ve had some very busy and fun weekends following Pink Zone weekend, including THON, and Sean and Alifia visiting this past weekend.  So as usual it’s a whirlwind but I am really happy at the prospect of spring. We have a few more really cold days ahead, but overall the weather seems to be on the up and up. Plus, we celebrated daylight savings, so that’s a start! That means more morning runs for me, more evening bike rides for Sean.
While we are waiting for our potential baby we are kicking life into full gear, experiencing it all and putting ourselves out there. It’s not easy to commit to certain things while we are being shown to birth mothers (Tour de Pink and Ireland), but we have to, as per our adoption agency, as per my therapist, as per our friends and family and as per living a healthy life. Being in the midst of adoption doesn’t mean you stop and wait. It means you live as you normally would, and the baby will come (our baby will come) when it’s supposed to come. All it means is a baby will enter our lives, though we don’t know when and we don’t know how. And trust me, that is scary for me. But the best thing we can do is keep on keeping on. And it will all work out how it’s supposed to work out.
It really does feel like we’re sitting on the edge of our seats at all times. Or, at least I feel that way. And I’ve had that feeling before. But this time it’s different. This time it’s a happy waiting/uncertainty. And it’s a sign we are alive.
I was thinking, while in bed last night, how I got here. Weird, random and generic thought, I know. But all of a sudden I stopped to look around. I am 29, married to an amazing man, living in a beautiful home, healthier and happier than I’ve ever been, and will become a mother soon. How did I ever get so lucky?
Today’s is a short post in the big scheme of things. I just feel really grateful that spring is on the way and we’re back outside challenging ourselves and breaking boundaries while we wait for an exciting life change. Our world has the potential to be rocked every day. And sometimes we wait for it to rock and sometimes we make it rock.



Sean didn’t have to do Tour de Pink but he wanted to.
We take our passions and our strengths and we turn them into action. We use what we know, what we have and what we want to know and we bust through. How did I ever get so lucky to have found a life partner, a soul mate, who not only understands this, but shares this?
We have many differences, me and Sean, but where we come together most is in our drive, our dreams to do more, to be better, to live fully and to jump out from the sidelines.
We may be waiting on the edge of our seats, but we’re also jumping off our seats.
Time moves forward; the clock doesn’t stop ticking. We live now because that’s the only way we know how.
And I would never, ever, ever change that, even for a second.
It’s not just Li Fraumeni Syndrome that has taught me to live now because the future is uncertain, though I always thought that was a big part of it; it’s ME. I’ve always been passionate, even before cancers #1 and #2. I’ve always been me. And now, at 29, I have made myself proud. What a phenomenal feeling.



So much of my growing has been about learning to:
1.       Never justify my decisions to anyone else
2.       Never hold back in this blog (if I feel it, I write it)
3.        Find my place in this world without compromising my beliefs (thinking of sharing my story to audiences and one day writing a book)
4.       Changing the world in a way I know how (through my writing and my story)
5.       Appreciate everything I have
6.       Strive for more
7.       Do my best every single day (and don’t beat myself up when I veer off course)
8.       Accept the unknown
9.       Understand I can’t control everything
10.   Leave one lesson blank so there’s room to learn more

Photos by me

Photo by Marjie

Photo by Marjie

Photo by Marjie

Photo by Marjie