June 18, 2006

Komen Race for the Cure

Yesterday I joined the Puget Sound Komen Race for the Cure (along with 15,000 others). My wonderful sponsors helped me raise $1385 towards the anticipated goal of $1.5 million.

What a walk! The energy of such a large crowd is tangible. Upon arriving, we turned in my sponsorship checks, got our t-shirts and proceeded to the stadium floor. At least 25 corporate sponsors had set up tents to sample their products. In a crowd of mostly women, this meant an opportunity to get tchatchkes galore. Magnets, key chains, mini first aid kits, cereal, plastic cups, a cool scarf – you can see the rest in the photo. And of course everything is in shades of pink.

The walk itself was somewhat uneventful. Two years ago I did the 5K walk and was too pooped afterwards to enjoy the survivors’ parade. Last year Mom went with me and we hung out at the stadium drinking coffee. But this year Shira, Kathy and I did the 1-mile walk, and in the words of Goldilocks, “It was just right!” We chatted nonstop and felt as though we had strolled around the block. Afterwards we went back to the stadium for coffee, a second breakfast and some more sampling.

I participated in the survivors’ parade in the 6-10 year range. Too bad Komen didn’t offer a special section for women living with metastatic disease. I found I really missed the “other Jill.” We had walked together last year and she gave Mom and I a ride home after the walk. Jill died just a few weeks ago, and so I walked to honor her memory and that of my paternal grandmother, who also died from metastatic breast cancer. Jill left a husband and small daughter as well as a large extended family.

I did find several friends in the survivors’ parade and we exchanged hugs and greetings on the field, danced to the Gloria Gaynor recording of “I Will Survive,” and generally celebrated the fact that we are still here.

June 10, 2006

Back from NJ

We had a quick but jammed-full trip back east last weekend.

After taking a flight at the crack of dawn (4 AM wake up for 6 AM departure!), my sister picked us up at the Philadelphia airport. We spent some time with her, had a snack, and then went to the rehab center to visit with my father. He has lost quite a bit of weight, and of course is bald from the chemotherapy, but his color was good and he was more than willing to go out for dinner to a Chinese restaurant nearby.

We stayed every night at my parents’ home, and Rik kindly offered to do all the driving so that my mom could have a break. I think that was the night of the national spelling bee, which was televised for the first time on a network. There were 4 words of Hebrew or Yiddish etymology!

On Friday Rik and I met my sister at her synagogue, where she has just been elected president of the congregation. It was Shavu’ot, and the temple had 52 teenagers in the confirmation class. The service allowed each kid to have a speaking part, so it was a bit more complicated than usual. Of course there was a lovely luncheon afterwards, complete with bagels and white fish salad and cheesecake.

Then we went to the rehab center and visited with my dad. (Do you detect a pattern to our visit?) We were able to observe his physical therapy session and talk with the therapist about Dad’s progress. Then back to Susan’s house for dinner and off to see my niece in her tap dance recital. Of course we had to sit through 20 other groups of kids before getting to see Dana, because her class was last.

On Saturday we spent the early part of the day at rehab, then brought my dad to my sister’s house for my nephew’s high school graduation party. My cousins came down from north Jersey and we had a family reunion, even managed to take a photo together with everyone.

Saturday night Susan had her tap dance recital (like mother, like daughter!) but the rest of us stayed home to finish cleaning up after the party.

Sunday was again a visit with my dad at rehab, delicious brunch my sister and brother-in-law brought in, including black and white cookies, a real New York treat! By the time we got on the airplane to come home, Rik and I were both pooped. And he had to get up the next morning to teach.