Tuesday, November 17, 2009

3-Day Breast Cancer Walk, Phoenix 2009

I feel like I have been training and anticipating this weekend for SOOOOOO long; and now it has has come and gone way too quickly. Never knew how fast time flies when you are walking AND having fun!

My sister Johna e-mailed me in March and challenged me to a 60 mile walk with her. If you know me, of course the answer was yes without even thinking about what I was getting involved in. "Heck I can walk forever, 60 miles won't be a big deal." Well how wrong I was! Yes it's just walking, but 60 miles is a lot longer than you think.
For instance things that are approximately 60 miles: Eastland to Weatherford, Dallas to Ft Worth then back to Dallas, Newcastle to Wichita Falls, from my house to the Mexico border 10 times, you could climb Mt Everest 5 times, 240 times around a football field, you could swim across the Nile River 10 times, ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY THOUSAND STEPS!
Get the picture now??

So this whole thing began with many breast cancer survivors and breast cancer scares in my family. My grandmother is a survivor, she had a partial mastectomy and many lymph nodes removed. My cousin Jen, my Aunt Cathy, and my sister Johna have had scares which were diagnosed early with early detection breast exams followed by mammograms and other tests. After I posted I was doing this walk, many people began opening up, my close friend Juliette's mother is a survivor and Kesia's (Cade's teacher) mother-in-law passed away from breast cancer. It seemed like once I signed the dotted line and committed to this, many patients with breast cancer were sitting in my dental chair or people would write me to tell stories on Facebook. It seems like so many women I know have been effected by this evil disease.

So the training began. I was lucky enough to meet someone on the walk website who lived here in the valley. Dalila (her aunt is a survivor) and I walked together every weekend. We did the small trainings alone during the week but for the long training walks, you seem to go crazy alone. The last few Saturdays prior to the event, we were walking 18 miles in the HOT, HUMID valley weather. It killed us, but we were in it together. We walked all over the city of McAllen, people thought we were CRAZY!

So I arrived in Phoenix, nervous, anxious, excited, and just hoping I could do it......
Friday morning I woke up at 5am to be at Freestone Park in Gilbert (suburb of Phoenix) for bag drop off, group stretch, and opening ceremony. The opening ceremony was just a little hint of the emotions I would experience over the weekend. Flags were carried with words describing emotions and words describing relationships. The sun was rising and it was a gorgeous scene.

So we were off before 8am for a stroll, a 20 mile stroll that is. Little did I know how cool this walk would be. There were cheering stations along the way. Kids at Gilbert Elementary, family members of walkers everywhere, signs cheering us on, everyone honking at us, millions of cameras taking pics, people dressed in costumes, survivors everywhere telling us thank you. WOW!!!! We felt famous.

And we had pit stops. The 1st pit stop began my "love" of the porta-potty. I peed every hour or so in a porta-potty. I also learned we were NOT going to be hungry on these walks, there was TONS of food at these pit stops. Uncrustables, string cheese, oranges, bananas, pretzels, Lays, bagels with cream cheese, candy! And bottled water and Gatorade. All you want!!
And we learned about the sweeper vans, these vans were everywhere. Just waiting for someone to get hurt or someone to realize they couldn't make it. All you did was stand there with your wrists crossed above your head, and rescue would be on its way! (I never used these but I saw A LOT of poor people get picked up on day 2 and 3).

We also had awesome safety crew at all the intersections making sure we crossed safely. They all had motorcycles decked out with loud music playing so we naturally danced at every intersection. AWESOME!

Lunch was a chicken burger (or veggie burger for us "vegetarians"). Lunch was great. A time to sit down in the grass, take your shoes off, stretch, and change socks (key to no blisters is preventing wet feet). Also a lot of people would doctor their feet with Moleskin on "hot spots" and 2nd Skin on blisters. Lunch was time for medical and relaxation.
After lunch we had tons of cheering and we headed to Benedict Park for our home away from home. We slept in pink 2-person tents that only fit our twin air mattresses and nothing else! The air mattress was a saviour! Thank God for that suggestion. It was ironic to sleep in tents in AZ considering they have a jail called Tent City where all the inmates sleep in tents. So when they called it tent city, everyone thought that was hilarious!

Dinner was spaghetti with meatballs (mine were tofu and so divine), salad, and a brownie that was awesome!
I took a shower in the trailer of an 18-wheeler, which was surprisingly decent, and the water was super HOT!
Then I couldn't handle keeping my eyes open anymore. So I went to bed at 6:30! But since I was sleeping in my paper-thin pink tent, I was able to hear ALL the karaoke going on. These women were crazy! And the singing was definitely not American Idol appropriate! HA!!!

Then Day 2 Begins....
Since it NEVER rains in AZ, well it was raining when we woke up at 6am! JOY oh JOY!
And it was cold, 42 degrees, which is very cold mixed with rain.
So the ponchos we purchased were utilized!

I attempted to warm up with coffee, a biscuit, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. The coffee began my peeing escapade for the day. I peed and peed and peed, which meant I was lucky to have lots of encounters with the porta-potty again!
We started out with local high school cheerleaders cheering us on, building pyramids, and throwing basket tosses. Pins and stickers being passed out by strangers everywhere. And of course more horn honking! Honk, honk, honk.....
Lunch was a chicken wrap (veggie/cheese sandwich).
Then we were met by girl scouts everywhere cheering for us and tons of neighborhoods encouraging us and thanking us for our dedication as we paraded through. There were a little less than 2,000 of us.

Day 2 was the most challenging for me. By the time I arrived back at camp, I could feel EVERY BONE in my foot, and there are a lot of bones in your feet. I was sore. It looked as if our camp was functioning in slow motion, no one was walking at their normal pace. Everyone was hurting. More people got picked up in the sweeper vans than any other day. People broke bones in their feet, had blisters covering their feet, sprained ankles, pulled tendons, it was a rough night at camp.
Dinner was chicken and pasta with cream sauce, mixed veggies and strawberry short-cake. YUMMY!
But this night I was able to stay awake, why you ask???
Well the night's entertainment began with the AZ Sun City Pom Group, which is a group of senior citizen women who do pom routines, AWESOME!
Then the karaoke finals were followed by a dance party, and Pennie does not miss a dance party. It was a blast and a great way to loosen up those muscles. So much fun and awesome how everyone is completely themselves and not worried about what anyone thinks of them. I wish us women were able to be this way all the time!

Day 3 then began, the last and final day.
Well since there is NEVER dew on the grass in the morning in AZ, we woke up to everything being soaked due to the dew everywhere. Our tents and our bags (that don't fit in the tents) were all VERY damp. And it was COLD, so the dampness from the dew was miserable! But that didn't get my spirits down, it was day 3 after all!!!!
So after taking our damp tent down and packing our damp bag, we were off.
We started off with coffee of course which again led to peeing and peeing and peeing and my love for the porta-potty was becoming very short-lived..... Eggs, hashbrowns, and cereal.
We were 1st greeted by bagpipers, something you don't see everyday. Then the Cub Scouts met us out. Cute little boys got my brain thinking of Cade of course!
We were headed up hill to U of A (the mountain has a huge A on it, which wasn't Awesome to me) then through Papago Park. The park is gorgeous except for the fact that you are on rolling hills going up a mountain, so even going down the rolling hills, you are still going up hill. This sucked! But it was pretty (sarcasm).
Thankfully though after going up, you must go down, so we ate lunch which was a turkey sandwich (or hummus).

At the last pit stop I ate my 1st Uncrustable, and loved it!
I also learned why all these people kept saying "save 2nd base" all weekend, can you believe it took me that long to get-it???
We then trekked through old town Scottsdale, which is an awesome little city to our final destination, Scottsdale Stadium.
I was able to spend my last few moments walking with a breast cancer survivor my sister had met while training, her spirit was amazing. Her family was waiting for her, a few of them had flown in for this event. They were all headed to a celebratory dinner afterwards in her honor. So touching. And my sister Johna and I were able to think back about our amazing grandmother who is a survivor.

When I saw 1 mile to holding area, the excitement began to rush through my veins.
My burnt orange blood temporarily turned pink!

Then it happened, I saw the finish line. Tears began to well up in my eyes.
I think a moment of shock occurred until I heard the cheering begin.
People were EVERYWHERE waiting for us. Cheers, yells, air horns, claps, smiles, tears.

Then the closing ceremony.
4.1 million dollars raised.
I will let the pics tell the story.

Dallas 2010 here I come.
Save the tatas, save 2nd base, TNT (two nice tits), free breast exams (some dude).
Everyone deserves a lifetime. Susan G Komen

I still haven't reached my minimum requirement of $2300. Please donate! I have a few more weeks left to collect the money!
Help me reach my goal for the Arizona Breast Cancer 3-Day!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Halloween 2009

It's crazy to think this was Cade's 2nd Halloween. Last year we went to our neighborhood Halloween party and he was a few weeks old. He wore a little onesie and he had no clue what was going on. I was still breast feeding and I was still drugged up on pain meds from the c-section. We knew nobody here, we were the new ones on the block. We had just moved to the Valley and we NEVER thought we would be here an entire year.....
WOW!!!!!!!!!!! Things sure have changed in a year!

This Halloween was A LOT more fun!!!!!
We had 2 different costumes this year.
1st costume for the warm valley weather was the moose.
2nd costume for the cooler Houston weather was the lion.

Cade was a moose at our neighborhood Halloween Party. He won 1st place in the baby costume contest. He's too dang cute for words!!!!!

Cade then was a lion. He seemed to really love being the king of the jungle!
His mane cracked me up, since I know Cade will never have hair even close to this long, dad won't allow it.
We spent Halloween at Anna De Lisi's 1st birthday party. She was a cupcake and her parents were chefs! Super cute. Anna is the daughter of my best friend from high school, Aryn. I have a feeling Halloween for the next 18 years will be spent with the De Lisi's, which is just awesome!!!! Anna and Cade are meant to be!
Notice Cade is not in any of the birthday party pics.... you ask why? He slept through the entire party. Party pooper already!

And for a laugh, here's Kalvin wet..... HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!