Friday, October 24, 2014

It's A Celebration!

It has been a busy few weeks for us. Seems like we're running ragged from one end of town to the other. But because it's all been for fun, it's a good kind of tired. I think. Maybe I'm too tired to know.

First of all, these two beautiful people...
celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary! My parents are both amazing and I am blessed to have them in my life. Susan and Erik flew in for a whirlwind of party prep, fun times and a fantastic party. We hosted an open house for a few friends and family and it was really fun! So many people I hadn't seen in so long and it was great to have them all come for mom and dad. It's a pretty big deal, so many of them said. It is! Susan and I decided on a Grilled Cheese Bar. I would totally do that again, it was delicious. Of course I didn't get a picture of the table but it had 9 kinds of cheese, 5 kinds of meats and assorted veggies and spreads. We had a special grilling chef on hand (thanks Angela!) and the smell of melty cheese was mouth-wateringly good.

We also replicated the top of their wedding cake, down to the 'old school' frosting and fresh gardenias on top. One of my favorite stories that mom tells is of their one year anniversary and eating the top of the cake after it was frozen and it still tasted like gardenias. Funny! And of course I didn't get a picture of the cake before they cut it but trust me it was spot on.
It was so much fun to have Susan and Erik here for the weekend. Katy got it some good bonding time with Aunt and Uncle.
We even got some time for a girl's night out when Susan, Mom, Rachel and I went out to see Dirty Dancing at the Orpheum. It was campy and fun, just as I expected. Dad and Erik got to babysit Katy and Evi and I'm sure that was campy and fun too and the boys were definitely worn out by the girls. Not sure they quite knew what they were getting into when we signed them up for the gig.

The other exciting celebration was Katy's 5th birthday (and Nana's birthday too on the same day). Since we were celebrating the anniversary on that day, it took a bit of a back burner for the day but we made up for it the next weekend (more on that later). There was still singing and cake and presents to open. So it was all good.
 We were sad to say goodbye to Susan and Erik but we'll see them again soon!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Running into week three and into pinktober

I've made it almost through week 3 of the Couch to 5k program! Tomorrow morning I'll finish the last run of the week. The weather has been perfect for running, which has helped a ton. My new shoes have held off the shin splints so far. Yea! That's a first for me.

Unfortunately my knees are on fire. Can't quite figure out when it crosses the line from 'working out the kinks' to 'damaging your joints'. Advil is my friend. I've had some knee pain in the past but it's mostly been shins, hips and back pain for me. Then again I've never started a running program as a Stage IV cancer patient. I'm just hoping I'm doing more good than harm with my new found excitement for this new program. 

I've really felt the full force of Stage IV in the last few days. Pinktober is upon us and the MBC community at large is all kerfluffle. So much anger towards the callousness of the pink washing all month long. It has caused me to think a lot about how I feel about it all. I don't know. I guess it depends on my mood. I try very hard to be glad for those lucky survivors who have 'conquered' cancer. It is so important to be hopeful and maintain a positive attitude. I was there once too. So there that I went on with my life without another thought. Which is good and necessary to maintain a sense of normalcy. But it also made the discovery of the metastasis an even bigger crash. 

So what do you do? Terrify the 70% of survivors for whom it won't return or bring more and more awareness so that the 30% of us who have it return won't fall into the pit of despair? I wish I had the right answer.  I'm not sure if I would have lived differently if I knew I had a 30% chance rather than the 5% I was counting on. I can tell you though, the crash was HARD. No amount of pink prepares you for that. And in fact it made me WAY less prepared. 

So as the ice bucket challenge may have been unrelated to the disease of ALS, so too is the pink Biffy or the pink toolset (etc etc) unrelated to Stage IV breast cancer, the part of breast cancer that is not curable and is in fact 100% fatal. But, just think of how much that ice bucket challenge made for the study and research of ALS. Bucketloads that's for damn sure. 

Pink washing is awareness. Awareness brings money to support research. Selfishly I hate the fact that the balance is weighted heavily against Stage IV. Hardly any of the money raised by pink trinkets goes to me and my mets sisters' fight. But can I be angry that it might find some early detection that will save the lives of thousands of others walking behind me? I'd hate to think so. 

Truthfully, I'm more concerned about just making it through the next day. Balancing the checkbook that I haven't looked at in months. Helping Katy succeed in her new class while she struggles to find her way. Keeping up with work, which is more difficult every passing month but is no less necessary for keeping us in our house and eating more than popcorn for dinner. Managing the pain and fatigue from the meds that so far have kept this disease at bay. This is my daily battle inside of the larger war against this ugly disease. 

I'd love to be out on the forefront of the advocacy for MBC. I am grateful for the strong women who can do it. And maybe some day I can too. Maybe my few and faithful readers can help. Remember us living and thriving with metastatic breast cancer would you please? Learn about Stage IV at Know that it's not a fluffy, pink world out there for everyone.