Monday, April 19, 2010

Why I'm Walking

...because I've been trying to figure out some easy, effective fundraisers so I can participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure this autumn. I'm committed to walking 60 miles in 3 days, and to raising $2,300 for breast cancer research, and the question I keep coming back to in my head is, 'Why?' Why would I want to train for months, sleep in a tent, use port-a-potties exclusively for days, buy multiple pairs of walking shoes, spend my time soliciting money that most folks don't have to give, learn how to use a treadmill, or spend 3 days away from home, exercising?

The easy answer is my family. Three of my dad's five sisters have battled cancer and won (one of my aunts just beat cervical cancer a second time, and unfortunately another one just found a tumor in her brain). His mother wasn't so lucky. One of my cousins was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 25, and we just lost one of my mother's cousins to pancreatic cancer a little while ago. Cancer runs strong and vicious through my family, and I want very much to see a day when none of my amazing relatives will have to go through the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery process. We are a strong, resilient, goofy group of people, but enough is really enough already. I think we could use a break, and finding a cure for breast cancer is a key that could unlock a cure to other forms of cancer.

I'm also walking because the statistics scare me. One out of every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. I know and love way more than 8 women, and it breaks my heart to think of any of them suffering and fighting through this disease. In the US, a woman will die from breast cancer every 13 minutes, and be diagnosed every 3 minutes. The biggest risk factors include getting older and being a woman--things which none of us can actually control. These are numbers, which don't always hit as close to home until you really think about them. In the time it takes me to write this blog, two women will have died from this disease. That's sobering as hell.

I'm doing this to honor all the people that gave me so much support and love while I was going through the Alien Spine Baby Saga. Because of all that love and support, I was able to bounce back from some pretty major surgery as quickly and well as possible. A big part of the credit for that goes out to my amazing surgeon, and to the hospital staff that took such good care of me. A bigger part, though, goes out to my family (my whole family, not just the blood relatives) who sent me get well cards and movies and toys and books and lovely knitted things, held my hand while I was crying, brought food when I couldn't cook, and surrounded me with so much love that I knew, no matter what, I was not alone. This walk, this gesture, is a way for me to help pay some of that wonderful positivity forward. It's a way for me to give some of the care and support that was given to me back out to the world.

So, that's what's worth it to me. Those things, but mostly those people, are worth doing something big and crazy and a little amazing for. They're worth sweating and training and raising money for. And if I can pull this off and walk in the 3-Day in five months, it will be something to be proud of.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Working BLog...

Today's blog is brought to you by none other than my work computer, since the home computer is still very much out of commission. I'm going to try to track down my awesome install disk so I can go back to enjoying the wonder that is having your own computer at home.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying the wonder that is sunshine and warmth. This time three weeks ago, it was about 40* (which translates to about 4* for our Celsius-using friends) and we were wondering about more snow, while we were being rained on profusely. Currently, we're experiencing some serious warmth (87*/30*) and there isn't a cloud in the sky. This is the kind of day when everybody should have the day off, so they can bask in the sun on a nice rock like a newt.

The gorgeous weather has been great motivation to actually accomplish so many of the things I've been putting off. For instance, the bedroom is clean now (i even make the bed most mornings. i feel like a spokesperson for the bureau for adults acting like adults). There's nothing on the floor that doesn't belong there, and bag after bag of trash was taken out. That kind of cleaning requires a merciless mindset, and I had it. The rest of the house is looking pretty good, too. I still have some things that need a better home than the one they have, but the house is clean. The floors aren't sticky, there are no cat-sized dustbunnies, and you can actually sit on the couch because there's no clutter on it...Well, there's less clutter on it. A lot less!

I've been trying to get some time to play out in the garden, too. Now that there's light out when we get home, I've been trying to do gruntwork like breaking up sticks and turning the soil over, so that over the weekends, I can do the fun bits like planting things and shopping. Jim's mom gave me some plants for my birthday, so we have tomatoes and a couple of jalapeno peppers ready to go into the ground when the weather's a little more stable. The strawberries are starting to take off, and I'm looking forward to having some berries to show for them this year. We're also discussing adding some more flowers and pretty things, along with the useful ones. And who knows, I might give growing herbs another try.

I've been going to the gym at least twice a week faithfully, too. I'm starting to feel better already, in that I can walk up two sets of stairs before I get out of breath. It's good to feel like I'm making progress on that front, too. I saw a movie in the theater last weekend, and got to walk down the same hallway I did last July. This time, I walked tall and straight and laughed with my friends the whole way. I didn't even realize how big a change that was until we were out in the parking lot. It feels good to stop and think about how far I've come in such a short time, and to think about where I was and what was going on a year ago. I've come a long way, and that feels awesome. I lost so much of last summer to painkillers and just trying to heal (at best, i have very fuzzy memories of everything from june-late august), that it feels like I'm trying to make up for lost time.

My birthday this year was peaceful and fun. Jim and I watched a movie and ate pizza Friday night, then the family came over for dinner on Saturday. Momolla brought tacos and red beans and rice and Kate made a gorgeous cake. Kate and Patrick gave me some pretty roving, and Momolla and Dadumms enrolled me in a fiber bon-bon of the month club. I'll be getting cute little bundles of exotic fiber to play with every month for the next five months, which will be awesome. Jim gave me something shiny for my birthday--his great-grandmother's engagement ring. This is the fourth 'not an engagement ring' he's given me, and I very nearly hit him. We ended up having a good talk later that day and discussed things pretty calmly. Jim is either a) very confused about what he wants out of our relationship or b) particularly terrible at expressing himself. Apparently, when he said he didn't want to get married, he meant that he didn't want to get married now (what a difference a word makes, eh? i wish he had added that word the first time we talked about this). Things are better now, thankfully. Less tense and emotional.

Time is unfortunately up, so here is your review:

--Sun is good. Rain is less good, but we get much more of it.
--The house is clean. Like, really clean. It's amazing.
--Got some wool and some bling for the birthday. Good stuff.
--Bear with the crappy formatting, I had to type this in notepad, then copy and paste into blogger.
--Jim is taking me on a special date for my birthday. He won't say where we're going to dinner, though.
--Laptop still has computer disease. This makes me want to use a sad smiley. :(
--Smilies are usually pretty goofy.