I am so cutting corners with this post.
Just like last year, being on the road for The Breast Cancer 3 Day is putting a mighty mighty wrinkle in my blog posting. The complete stinky about it is that I have TONS to say and GREAT stories to share but a lack of time (and, let's face it, energy) to put my thoughts together.
It's not just my blog that suffers, my friends suffer too. well, "suffer" might be taking it a little far. But it's true, friends with whom I usually have long, significant email exchanges with get bupkis during this season of my life. Sometimes less than bupkis. Bup. Recently one of those friends sent me a message with 5 questions in it and instructions to just answer those 5 questions. I, of course, haven't done it yet. Because that's the kind of friend I am. A sucky one.
So today, instead of ignoring this lonely blog for yet another day, I've decided to post. And in an effort to kill two birds with one post, I'm going to use this post to answer those 5 questions.
I know. Lame. And if you're disappointed, imagine how my friend feels.
Here are the 5 questions:
- What do you on Day 2 of the 3-days?
- Where would you rate your faith on a scale of 1 to 10?
- Anyone ever say you remind them of Christina Applegate?
- What are the statistics on the recurrence of lymphoma?
- Have you missed "GET OUT!"?
And here are my answers:
What do you on Day 2 of the 3-days?
Well, day 2 of the 3 Day is a GREAT day! For the walkers and crew, it goes like this … showers and breakfast start usually around 5 am. (They shower in a truck, by the way. We set up camp for them and it really is an amazing site – shower trucks, hot meals, dining tent, medical, a post office, internet access at our 3 Day Café and much more. It's really cool. Oh and they sleep in pink tents.) Okay so Day 2 starts bright and early with a hot breakfast, some stretching and the route opens usually around 6:30 or 6:45 (once the sun is up). Some people hit the route early and some wait a little bit. Regardless everyone has to be out on the route by 8:00. Now, as far as what I do, it depends. Sometimes we'll have early morning TV interviews at camp (I've done some live shots as early as 5 a.m.). Sometimes I'll head over to camp early to cheer the walkers out onto the route. Sometimes I walk on Saturdays and if so, I like to leave camp around 7 a.m. Other times we'll have interviews at certain pit stops so I need to be there by a certain time. At some point, I'm out on the route either walking or doing interviews or just hooraying. There are pit stops every few miles so if I'm not walking, I drive to the pits so I can talk to walkers and crew there. I always try to get to the lunch stop because it is a good time to connect with participants … they usually stay at lunch for a half hour or more so there is a lot of time to talk and connect.
At some point on Saturday I take a shower and get ready to head back to camp. I get back to camp usually by 3:00. The first walkers arrive in camp usually between 1:00 and 2:00 (they are the fast ones! Don't get in their way … they will knock your pink butt down!). Once I get into camp I head over to the stage to get the latest information about the route, announcements, etc. I put together my notes for the camp show I host that night. Camp show includes logistics (weather, route info, closing info, special announcements, etc.), participant stories, karaoke finals (don't ask) and a dance party. I really wish you could see camp show sometime … it is the perfect combination of awful and wonderful … like watching Bill Gates in those new commercials he does with Jerry Seinfeld. You don't WANT to like it but you laugh in spite of yourself. I heart Saturday night camp show. I really, really do. Something always – ALWAYS goes wrong with camp show … and I think that's what I love the most. You never know WHAT'S going to happen.
So somewhere during all of that prep, I grab dinner off the line and sit with participants who've completed their 20 miles for the day and talk with them about their day. That part is so awesome. I get to hear all the reasons people are walking and, as you can imagine, those reasons are often so emotional. Then right around 7:00 p.m. we start camp show. Camp show goes until I start the dance party (yes, they actually dance after walking 40+ miles in the past 2 days) around 8:00 and then once dance party is rocking, I sneak out and hit the sack.
And that is what I do on Day 2 of the 3 Day.
Where would you rate your faith on a scale of 1 to 10?
Such an interesting question. Great wording. My faith is as strong and vibrant and solid as ever. I guess that makes it a 10. It does make me think though – what is faith? I know by the definition according to Hebrews is the substance of things hoped for and the assurance of things not seen. I've always loved that. So poetic. So meaningful. But what does it really mean? Going through some tough stuff in my life (miscarriages, death of loved ones, heartbreak, cancer treatment, blah blah) I guess one would expect me to either have 1) given up on my faith or 2) have a faith "stronger than ever". I have to say it's neither. I feel like my faith is the same faith I've always had. I don't attend church regularly nor do I feel like I'm defined by my religion but my faith … that is as square as ever. Did my faith ever falter during those tough times? I don't' know. I just don't recall. I've never asked why when things happen. I just don't see the good in that. You asking the question has really caused me to think …
Once during treatment I went to church and the sermon was on Faith. And I just recalled I sent an email to the pastor after that sermon. Let me see if I can dig that up. hold.
Here it is … read it. I'll read it too and comment after
October 4, 2006
I've been going through chemo for 3 months. It is black and hard and painful. Every ounce of strength and energy I had was used up just walking into the first treatment. I sit in that chair every other week and let a nurse plunge a needle into my chest and pump poison into my body in the hopes that it will find and kill the killer inside me. The effects are nearly immediate and with each click of the clock I lose my grip on any joy and good will I brought in with me. It's like someone opens valves on the bottoms of my feet and every good thing about me drains quickly away. There is no platitude, no scripture verse, no home-cooked meal brought from well-meaning friends that can make this better.
The effects of the chemo last and are getting worse with each treatment. It is now a full week before I begin to feel any bit of energy again. It is days before I can eat. I haven't slept well in months. Along about the time I begin to feel like myself, I have to walk in again. Sit in the treatment chair again. Taste the poison.
I'm so worn and tired.
The big, fat, overflowing bank accounts I had just three months ago of energy and stamina and strength are used up. I am bankrupt.
And I'm only halfway done.
The chemo is doing its job. For that I am so grateful. This is not a death sentence. The chemo is ruthless, fierce. It attacks and attacks and attacks. It is not giving up. It takes its work seriously. It is killing the cancer inside of me. But. I fear it is taking me with it.
And this is how I wake up each day. Fearful. Tired. Worn. Used up. I feel worthless. You know that gunky sponge you keep around sitting on the sink way too long? It's smelly and bacteria-filled and falling apart. I long to feel like that sponge. Gunky would be a step up. My bones hurt. My body hurts. My heart hurts. But I wake up anyway. And I try. Oh God, how I try. I put on a smile. Each day I get dressed. And each day I give my darling, fabulous, amazing, long-suffering husband a rating from one to ten on how I'm doing. I inflate the numbers – for his sake. For my sake.
This is how I wake up.
This is how I endure the day.
This is how I go to bed.
And this is how I enter church on Sunday morning.
I do it. In spite of it all, I do it. Do you understand what I'm saying? I do it. I get up – when all I want is to lay still. I smile when my mouth is full of sores and my gums are bleeding from the chemo. I talk to people when I only want to scream and hit things – them mostly for saying dumb things or staring at my hairless head. I tell myself, just endure, just endure, just endure. I haul my body around when it feels more like a carcass than a body and I engage in life. Only by sheer will, raw guts that come from deep inside of me am I able to live out each day. I am white-knuckling my life. Just barely holding on. But I am holding on. I am doing it.
And then you tell me I'm using a crutch. You tell me I'm putting my faith in little things – maybe big things, but not the biggest. You tell me to transfer my faith. That's what you tell me, standing there looking healthy and vibrant. I resent that glow in your cheeks and if it weren't for the camaraderie I feel with you and your big bald head well, I may just walk out of this joint. This is not new information for me, Dan. I know about faith. It's not like I don't pray. I have a vibrant prayer life and a growing spiritual life. I put my faith and trust in God a long time ago and as He said, He's never left my side. I began arguing with you silently on Sunday. I was defensive. I found myself yelling in my head "I DO that already! And I do THAT too! I put my faith in God, I always have!" I screamed in my head. "I TRUST!" I said "I DO believe. I have faith!" But somewhere along the way, once I'd stopped screaming and started listening it hit me. God whispered, as He always does, and just like that I realized a profound truth.
I have fallen victim to the "God Ands" I've been putting my faith in God, sure, but just to back that up … you know, just in case, I've also been trying to muscle through this. I've put my faith in God AND myself … in God AND my positive attitude … in God AND my darling, fabulous, long-suffering husband. In God AND so many things. Like an add-on, and extra boost, an additional shot of espresso in my morning coffee.
What I need is a "God Only" faith. A faith that says God only will sustain me through my next treatment. God only will cradle my weary head and heart. God only will find me in my blackest and darkest night and walk me home. God Only Faith is so different from God And Faith.
I don't know how I will go from God And to God Only. And there is my doubt - which you've told me is a part of faith. I've done God And for so long. But I'm willing. I'm willing.
Well, there you have it. it answers nothing for me and probably nothing for you either. I guess in my darkest hour my faith was exposed for both the strength and weakness it contained. I'm sticking with my first answer. On a scale of 1 to 10 I'm saying 10.
Anyone ever say you remind them of Christina Applegate?
Now that one is easy. The answer is no. No one. However! Someone a couple of weeks ago told me I look like Lucy Lawless. Yes, Xena, the Warrior Princess! I'm so all over that. I'm so
What are the statistics on the recurrence of lymphoma?
Oh, friend. How gentle you are. How softly you ask what I wish I knew. I can only tell you what I've been told. It depends. I had some complications of my treatment – namely, bleomyacin toxicity. There is some evidence that people who suffer this complication have a higher risk of recurrence. I could put numbers on it for you but I'm not going to. I just don't want to. I don't want to put that out there. Let's just say, they are higher than I'd like. That's the bad news. The good news is I'm now a year and a half without recurrence and that's a really good sign. Most recurrence happens in two to three years after treatment. So there you go. Together, let's cling to that.
Have you missed "GET OUT!"?
Ha! Yes! Of course I have. And that story will remain between the two of us. Stick with me, old friend. I'll be back.