10/12/2009

Friday: Day 1 of the Susan G komen walk

The Susan G Komen 3-day walk in Washington D.C. is over, but the memories will last a lifetime for me. Over 2000 walkers, 300 volunteers, 90 male walkers, and millions of pounds of chicken were in attendance. I will not eat chicken, uncrustables or drink Gatorade for at least a month. I could blog for weeks on the food there was so much of it.
Thursday night I thought I was not going to be able to go to sleep but I did, woke up on time, got dressed and Bryant took me over to Brians house, and we were off!
Went to 7-11 to meet Liz and Amy, waited and waited worried that they decided at the last minute not to walk. They showed up, coffee was to blame for the lateness, completely understood and we were on our way!

Got to the Nationals Stadium and it was cold and windy. Many, many people were there, loading up their luggage, and we followed suit, there were alreasy a number of volunteers all over the place, directing traffic helping with bags, showing people where to go, they were all over. The walkers were all dressed up in fancy garb pink hats, boa's and tutu's. We went to our truck to drop off the luggage and headed over to the stage. The wait was the longest, I kept on having second thoughts and thoughts of "OMG i really am here, and I am going to do this!" A lady came on the stage and directed us through some stretches, the awesome music playing, hyping us up, talking about the survivors, introducing us to some of the survivors that will be walking, it was so inspirational it is hard to explain. Then when the walking started they had us file out in small groups and everyone was high fiving everyone while they were walking. We walked all day, every 3 miles there was a variety of food, along with gatorade and water. We would take a break and then keep on moving. There were a lot of hills (we were walking in Georgetown area) and thosee were killing me! I made it about 15 miles the first day, and had to hop on the bus to take me the rest of the way. The girls kept on walking. I got to the camp site, and there was a welcoming committee and they were awesome!!! I had to go find my luggage, and a tent in a bag, and find out where I will be sleeping for the next two nights. It was starting to get windy but it wasn't bad yet. I put up both of the tents since the girls were still walking, waited for awhile then went to the showers. They were showers in a truck, each truck held 4 showers, I only had to wait about 20 minutes to jump in the hot water, oh and there was much hot water, it felt so good! When I got back to camp the girls were there, so I waited while they were showering and we all made our way to the activities area! That was a blast, they had a food line, a huge tent with tables so we could eat and listen to all of the speakers, there was a New Balance tent, selling shoes and other stuff, there was a massage tent, a energizer bunny tent, a 3 day tent selling merchandise. It was starting to get windier when we went back to the camp ground. There were a few tents that were uprooted and were stuck against a back stop on the baseball field, ours were not one of them. At 9 p m it was lights out, I took a sleeping pill and that helped out a lot. I told Liz that I snore, and she needed to bring ear plugs LOL. I was up a few times at night, from the wind and you could hear snoring all throughout the camp, it was like a symphony! Next year I will get a conductors outfit and go outside with a stick and try to sync them all into a tune! It was windy and raining all night long. It felt like the tents were going to get sucked up in the air!

OMG THE FOOD

Friday at each of the pit stops they had: String cheese, oranges, bananas, pretzels, uncrustables, chips, water and watered down gatorade! You never went hungry!

Lunch was: a chicken sammich, (look for the chicken pattern throughout the days) an apple, cookies, and chips.

While we were walking you could run into a starbucks and get coffee or go into 7-11 or cvs for a diet coke, these places were making a lot of money off of us!!! They only served soda at dinner, cuz they wanted to make you drink lots and lots of water!!!

Cheering section: was awesome!!! They had water and candies for us, signs to keep us going and loud cheers! In DC though it seemed that people were not as cheerful to see us.

Dinner was: spaghetti, huge garlic bread, salad, veggies and dessert! (dont every get the Paul Newmans ranch dressing in the packet, that was nasty!) It was good, if I wasn't so hungry I dont know if the sauce was that good, but it was edible LOL! There was kareoke and some of them women can sing!

It was amazing. I was happy to be there, and to do a good thing! I tried not to think about why I was there... it was too hard. Everyone has a story, I guess it is time to share my story.

I had a friend, I didn't know her that long before she was diagnosed, I think she viewed me as one of her pet projects to complete before her time was up. We met becuase of our children. We were in at a playground, in Ocean Beach, we introduced ourselves, and for some reason we connected. Our children were the same age and she was very nice, and humorous as hell. We would meet everyday around 5 pm to watch our children play together and try to tire them out before they went to bed. Now, most of you know me, and my past, how angry of a person I was, how I was always keeping to myself, not wanting to share anything and never getting close to anyone, and laugh?? I very rarely laughed.

About 2 months after we met, we shared everything about our lives. I looked forward to our meets, and I was actually starting to think of her as a friend, she never judged me when I was mad, or quiet... she was just there. For a week she never came, and at that time, we didnt have cell phones, and I didn't have her home phone, so I thought that they were sick, and went on with my day. I still showed up at that park every day by 5 pm. One day, she was there... I asked her where she had been and she just started bawling... now like I said I am not a touchy feely person... I had no idea what to do. I didn't know if I should hug her, or what. I just sat there and watched our kids play until she was ready to talk. It seems like hours waiting, in fact in was only 10 minutes. She had gone to her doctor, she was tired all of the time, and her throst felt swollen. She thought it was strep or something she caught from AJ. Come to find our she had cancer. It started out in her breasts and moved to her bones, there wasn't much that they could do, she had Stage 4 cancer. They started treatments as soon as the results came back, and they were being as aggressive as they could. She stopped the treatments after 2 months, they were not helping and she was more tired than before she was diagnosed and she wanted to spend time with her child and husband. 5 months later, she was dead. During those months, I was over at her house, cooking for the hubby and son, taking her to doctors appointments and sitting with her when she could only lay there. She still had that sense of humor, and when the talking would get too serious, she would tell a joke, or talk about AJ growing up, the funny things that the kids would say. She could make me laugh, make me cry or make me care again at the drop of a hat. She helped me regrow basically, I turned into this caring and emotional person, who could make jokes and laugh for no reason. She helped me heal from all of the abuse from when I was growing up. Here she was dying and she was my rock. It's very weird how that happens. I walked for her, and her family. Her son, Anthony, graduates from Helix high school this year. He is going to join the Marines. His father has remarried, gone to school and now has a great job. We only talk once a year, maybe twice. We never had a relationship while his wife was alive, so we rarely have anything to talk about. When I hung around him I was usually cooking, cleaning and he was already in the grieving process.

And that is why I walked this year. There are other people I have known to past on from this disease, but no one had such a profound effect on my life as she did.

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