Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Watch out, here she comes

Last Friday night I was thrilled to learn that I would be traveling to DC again in May with the Lance Armstrong Foundation for LIVESTRONG Day 2007! I am so excited about this opportunity to meet with my Federal elected officials to tell them once again that what they are doing to cancer is not acceptable. If you recall, this will be my 3rd visit in the last year: LIVESTRONG Day 2006, Celebration on the Hill, and now LIVESTRONG Day 2007.

Last year, LAF selected 2 delegates from each state for LIVESTRONG Day. For 2007, there are going to be 200 delegates, and I think next year they hope to have even more. If you'd like to become involved in LIVESTRONG Day, you can hold your own event in your town. To learn more visit this link.

This visit I really hope to drill it in the importance of making cancer a national priority and get positive answers for support right there. As I told Senator Burr last fall, "My family is fighting 2 wars. I know more people who have been affected by a cancer-related death than this war." So watch out Liz, Rich, and Walt...I'm coming and won't take no for an answer.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The joy of childhood

Jack has finally been introduced to the fun of the garden hose! Remember as a kid you would spend hours running through the sprinkler int he summer? Your feet would get all grassy and you'd almost wear a path in the grass from all the running. If you were lucky, someone on your block had a good hill and a Slip-n-Slide. That was the best.
So the other day it was 80 degrees and I was potting some plants and cleaning up our yard. Jack decided to stick his head in the "rain" and laughed and laughed. Then we walked through it. He was having too much fun I couldn't stop him! "Rain! Wet!" he'd exclaim through the shivers. I asked him if he was cold and he'd feep wanting to plain in the rain. We finally did stop him when his legs were shaking from shivering. After I got him all wrapped up in a towel, he said, "Oh, warm."

Monday, March 12, 2007

I speak American

Your Linguistic Profile:
45% General American English
25% Yankee
10% Dixie
10% Upper Midwestern
5% Midwestern

I was glad to know that I speak more Yankee than Dixie...phew!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Other Lessons of Cancer

A friend I met at the LIVESTRONG Summit emailed me a story today from Newsday.com, it's a good one (I love that I still have communication with so many of my Summit friends!). I don't think I have ever said cancer has made me a better person. Different, yes, but not necessarily a better version of me. Mommavia 5.0* appreciates the finer things in life more since April 9, 2003. And if you have ever told me I'm brave, you know what my answer is, "Me, brave? Hell no. I'm not brave, I have no choice but to deal with cancer. Marines are brave. My son's birthparents are brave. Brave is choosing to do something dangerous or heart-wrenching. Me, I am just coping the best I can."
The truth is, having cancer just pisses me off.
I wish that could have been my quote. I have a very visible scar. If I forget I had cancer, I am reminded by a sneaking stare from a stranger in Target, or when I look in the mirror and see the bright red line. Or when I zip up my neck in my coat, but don't feel it. I kid you not, that happened. I like, no, love being an advocate and talking about the disease when I want to. If someone is curious, I will gladly share my Readers' Digest version. But because my cancer is visible, I must deal with the rudeness of strangers.

The article, The Other Lessons of Cancer, really struck a chord with me, mostly because it's as blunt as Mommavia 2.0 and newer. But it also "debunked" a lot of myths about having cancer, and pretty much said what I say:
Firefighters and police officers who plunge head first into dangerous situations
are brave. A child protective worker who gets paid next to nothing and tries to
be a mother to as many as 50 dysfunctional families is brave. Those people chose
their positions in life. Cancer chose me. It's not bravery that gets me up every
morning to try to beat back the monster. It's a survival instinct that kicks in,
pure Darwinism.
Sometimes I think I am a completely different person since becoming a Survivor. I worry less about what people think about me and more about what I think about me. I don't sweat the small stuff (that's from my #1 fan). But I don't really live every day as if it's my last, because I don't want it to be. I want to see Jack grow up, lose teeth, play football, get married. I want to grow old with my husband. I have plans, big plans, and not just for my family. I'm going to be a Cancer Advocate until the cows come home, well until a cure is found; I want to help form more support groups for Survivors, young Survivors. I have a big honkin' To Do List so I can't live everyday as if it's my last.

Today I might be feeling a little bitter.

*Previous versions include The Orginal; Mommavia 2.0: the Survivor upgrade; Mommvia 2.2: thyroidectomy upgrade; Mommavia 2.5: first bilateral neck dissection upgrade; Mommavia 3.0: second bilateral neck dissection, a 10 hour upgrade; Mommavia 4.0: the motherhood upgrade; and the most recent upgrade to Mommavia 5.0: a left, modified, radical neck dissection upgrade.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Going, going, gone!

One good thing about the military is that they help you weed out all your bad furniture and get you to Spring clean out of season. The upcoming move has gotten me to start cleaning out my closets and evaluate the usefulness of our belongings. When we left Charlotte I remember giving away several boxes of things and having a huge trash pile when the movers came. Since living on the coast, we have been in 2 apartments and our current house. The local moves got me to clear out a little, but nothing compared to what is taking place right now. I am clearing out practically anything that isn't sitting still. So now I have entered into the world of being an eBay seller. I listed 22 items the other day, I have lots of scrapbooking materials listed and several retired Longaberger baskets and liners, and it has been exciting to see what happens on this side.

I've been a buyer for almost 4 years (my feedback is 100% positive!) and love swooping in at the last minute, or last 30 seconds, to snatch up an item. The only bad thing about doing that is you sometimes don't have another chance to put in a higher bid if you don't bid high enough. The last 3 or 4 transactions I have done though have not been the "swooping in" kind. I have placed my bid and checked back later to see what the status is. Unless it's Jack's naptime there isn't really another way for me to do it. There have been a few items where I have had Jack help me so I could win them.

As a eBay Seller you get to see if people are watching your item. And I have loved checking my listings to see if they have gotten any more bids and how high they are up to. I did 7 day listings so I'd have next weekend to package things up and get them out; but I think next time I will do 5 day listings. It will shorten the anticipation for me. Of the 22 items, 5 so far have bids, so I know they will sell...cha-ching!

Ian's pretty excited that I am cleaning out, but I think he's a little fearful. Sometimes I will walk around the house looking for items we we haven't used in a while. So far I haven't listed anything that belongs to him. I won't ever list his swords or tools without approval, but I'm pretty certain that he keeps moving around so he doesn't end up on eBay too!