Wednesday, November 11, 2009
To The 2009 D/FW Breast Cancer 3 Day Walkers:
I was asked about my 3 Day experience today. I was overwhelmed with thoughts, stories, and visuals. I got goose bumps from all the flashes in my head. I found myself wearing a Cheshire cat grin that has found its way to my face more this weekend than it has in my entire life. Yet, I had no words to explain this weekend. I could say, “It was amazing” but that just doesn’t seem to do it justice. I could say, “It had a positive effect on me” but again, it would be a lacking sentiment. That’s when it hit me! BLOG ENTRY!!!! Some may read this in a blog; others may receive it via email. I don’t care how it gets to you, just as long as it does.
I participated in my first 3 Day event in 2008. I knew that I wanted to be involved again this year. I also knew that my life was about to change. I began training for 5k’s in December and hoped to complete a 10k by Fall. I also was engaged in February and started planning my June wedding and family relocation. I knew that I was going to be unable to dedicate the time and energy needed to the training and fundraising involved with The Breast Cancer 3 Day. That is when I decided to give my feet the year off and crew in 2009. I remembered how uplifting the crew was that I interacted with the year prior, and I was curious about the “behind the scenes” attributes that were involved in such an awesome event.
I knew that the commitment was going to involve early mornings and I’d have to fake a smile when I went all day without my naps, but I was up for the challenge. Again, I drew strength from the crew the year before that was always there… Cheering, uplifting, encouraging. I remember thinking that the crew was just as an important part of getting me through The 3 Day as the 24 week training plan was. As the time drew closer, I began having issues with my left foot. My plans on completing my first 10k were out the window. I was adamant not to allow it to effect my involvement with The 3 Day. Eventually I was put in a boot and I postponed surgery until the event was over. I am forever thankful for that decision.
My life was changed on Sunday, November 8th. After I reunited with my husband and two of my children after Closing Ceremonies, I knew that my life would never be the same. I could never be a walker again. I will forever be a crew member. I am writing this to the 2,900 walkers that walked past me at one time or another this weekend. Together we raised $7.5 million, and counting, to bring us closer to a world without breast cancer. But I am forever changed by you walkers.
I learned many things this weekend. Some of these lessons were from my own experience; some were from observing the tenacity of each of you.
I learned what it is like to have sore cheeks from smiling for 8 hours a day, three days in a row. Even when we were hammering a pole that was bent or figuring out how to make toilet paper appear, the smiles continued.
I learned what it feels like to have 2,900 compassionate people surrounding you. While I was politely instructing renegade walkers to, “get back on the sidewalk, please” on day three, you all were asking me if I was ok (because of my boot). You people had walked about 42.5 miles by that point and YOU ALL were asking ME if I was doing ok? Amazing!
I learned that everyone has a story. You may not know what it is. It may not be written on their face… Or on their t-shirt, but there is a story. There were 2,900 walkers and 450 crew joined together for a common passion. Some have been personally affected, others not. You don’t know if that person reaching for Gatorade is a survivor, or has lost their mother, daughter, sister, friend, father or just wants to ensure his or her children do not have to grapple this disease. Kindness abounded this weekend. I pray that it continues in everyone’s lives each and every day.
I was able to capture a beautiful sight on Sunday as you were all walking through the neighborhood to Grab-n-Go A. I found myself repeating, “You all look so beautiful.” As I think about it now, I fight back tears. I wasn’t able to exhibit that self-control when I watched you all walk into Closing. A few of you stopped to hug the sobbing soldier with pink hair. YOU were thanking ME, as I was overwhelmed with gratitude for YOU.
As I skim over what I have written, I feel that I have not properly expressed my gratitude for you. So, instead of trying to do so, I’m just going to leave you with this.
You all have changed me. I hope the lessons that I’ve learned this past weekend do not leave me. I am forever grateful for each and every one of you. You have all made such an amazing impact on me that I don’t see how I could ever go back to being a walker again. I will be back again next year as Crew. And the year after that. And the year after that. And every year following until we are able to live in a world without breast cancer. Hopefully, one day, I will be able to pay back this gift you each have given me.
Forever In Your Debt,
Sylvia aka Major TaTa’s
Friday, September 18, 2009
Out of curiosity, I logged into my healthcare provider's website today. I clicked on the "claims" tab and noticed that my insurance has paid out $7,472.52 (and counting because I went to an urgent care facility two days ago) for my medical issues. Keep in mind, I had to meet a $1,500 deductible before they would pay one cent. As the doctors continue to run tests and figure out how to "fix" me in one way or another, I've decided that I need to do some "fixing" of my own.
Although I am not 100lbs overweight, I am medically overweight. Due to injuries, I have been unable to run for about a good month. I am hopeful that if I can stick to a diet change, these medical issues will go away. I pray that I am not “seriously” sick and my prognosis will just require a change in diet and exercise.
With that said, KISA and I began speaking the other day about being proactive about this possible occurrence. I told him that I am ready to make this change and need him to be my very own personal “Nazi”. Being the KISA that he is, he jumped on board to help me out but reminded me of what will come…
“Honey, bring me a treat. I want something cakey or bready from the store. Surprise me.”
Yes, the phone call that he receives when I know he is heading to the store. Or the farewell I am shouting out to him as he is running to the store after his last Dr. Pepper has been consumed. He knows it will happen; I know it will happen. So, what do we do? I told him we needed to find alternatives to cure my bready, cakey cravings. These are my downfalls. Muffins, cupcakes, soft cookies, croissants, banana bread, birthday cake, etc. The sweeter and softer, the better. I ask you, fellow bloggers, what are some alternatives that will help me feel satisfied but will be a healthy choice?
This weekend we are transforming our kitchen and our lives. Goodbye oatmeal pies. Goodbye cookies. Hello a healthier and happier me. My vanity goal is to lose 30 pounds. My real life goal is to make sure I set an example for my children so that I can see them set the same example for theirs.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
First, we must start with my husband. He is my KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOUR (aka KISA). I know it is a very cliché nickname for my husband. Of course every woman wants her husband, boyfriend, lover to fit into this role. However, I believe it fits. KISA refers to me as his “Princess” and always wants to take care of me. Every princess needs his prince, but a prince has royal subjects to carry out his tasks. A knight is proactive to tend to his princess. Therefore, he is my KISA.
KISA and I have been married for less than three months. We love to laugh with one another, even at the most inappropriate times. He is a very easygoing gentleman and I am lucky to have him in my life. KISA was married before and has a daughter from that relationship.
My step-daughter is a very bright and loving young woman. She is in that “tween-age” stage. I will refer to her as LITTLE MOMMA. She has a passionate, nurturing spirit and wants to take care of everyone that she meets. Children are drawn to her and her sweet heart. She has a great love for the Lord, learning, arts and children. MOMMA is mature beyond her years. She loves and hurts hard.
I also have a “tween-age” daughter. In fact, she is four months younger than MOMMA. The appropriate name for her is SOFTBALL DIVA. She aspires to play softball for USA in the Olympics. Afterwards, she would like play professionally and supplement her income by modeling. DIVA also has a passion that is leaning her towards fashion design. She is also a passionate young lady. She enjoys making others laugh and does not want her peers to hurt.
Lastly, there is my baby boy. What shall we call him? I think CAPTAIN AWESOME just about covers it. CAPTAIN is not quite three and is full of personality. He can make you crack up just by the way he cuts his eyes at you. He loves any type of ball you give him and is our future star athlete. When he is not playing with his baseball, beach ball, basketball or football; CAPTAIN is fascinated with Cars the movie and Spiderman.
And that is my family. I look forward to you getting to know each one of them better as I continue to blog.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Get the scene in your mind. It is Friday morning. I am sitting on the side of my bed thinking about the weekend that is facing me. It is possibly one of the busiest weekends that I have had in a long time. Today, besides my typical work day, I have to pay a speeding ticket that is going to take me twenty minutes out of my way, one direction. I will then have to rush home to be there before five to babysit one of the most precious little girls I know. No nap. Saturday, bright and early appointment at the beauty salon, take my daughter shoe shopping, trek thirty miles for a birthday party for one of my nieces, find a MoneyGram office, go visit my father. No nap. Sunday, church, trek those same thirty miles, take my daughter and two of my nieces back-to-school shopping, rush to my husband’s soccer game and relieve him of toddler duty. No nap. Can I just crawl back into bed and sleep the weekend away?
Yes it was busy. I paid the ticket at lunch and made it home in plenty of time to receive precious Piper. With the family in tow, we got shoes and made it to the birthday party (only thirty minutes late). We easily found a MoneyGram office and sauntered to my dad’s house for a nice visit (with an extra teenager, car is full) and headed home for a belated birthday party for said extra teenager that resulted in a facial – using the icing on the cake. We actually made it to church – on time! Shoved lunch down our throats and waited patiently (or not) for my other niece to be dropped off so we could start shopping. Soccer game was cancelled, so that last bit of tension went away.
The girls and I had a blast. I had my daughter, Hunter, 11 and two of my nieces, Alyssa, 15 and Micah, 12. All of them are goofy girls. And when I am relaxed, we all get silly and loud. This nice little shopping expedition took a little over five hours. It wouldn’t have taken so long but we had a nice little fashion show at Ross, where I was certain we were going to get kicked out when we couldn’t stop laughing as all three girls donned the “Pink Ladies” jackets, which they had to buy. Alyssa actually wore hers outside. Did I mention it is August… IN TEXAS? When every dollar was spent, and the goods and nieces were safely delivered to their home, Hunter and I headed back to ours.
“Mom, I want to accept Christ.”
This is it! I’ve been praying for this day to come for the past three years. Oh my goodness! What do I say? Should I pull over? Should I turn around and go to my dad’s house so we can talk? I have to seize this moment. I turned down the radio and said a quick prayer.
“God, please don’t let me screw this up.”
Yes, I realize it wasn’t the most eloquent prayer and maybe it was a little crass when speaking to the Lord Almighty; however, there was something a little more pressing that needed my attention. We began talking and I asked her why she wanted to do so. I knew why I wanted her to do so, but I needed to make sure that she was doing it for the right reasons.
Ok, I’ll be honest. I questioned her sincerity. There are certain things I do not allow her to do because I feel that her relationship with Christ isn’t strong enough. Certain movies and books that I don’t permit her to read because her faith isn’t strong enough and I feel that her beliefs will be swayed in a negative direction.
Hunter stated that she heard a woman’s testimony at church earlier that morning and it made her realize that a relationship with Christ will help her get through the tough times ahead. She said, “I am going through some stuff and I think it will be easier to go through if I do it with God.” She is starting middle school this year. That in and of itself is hard, but we moved 25 miles away this summer to a town where she has three friends, all of which attend different schools. She knows that things are about to get tough.
We began to discuss salvation. And right off the bat she asked me a question in which I did not have the answer. I called up a good friend of our family and asked if he would mind if we dropped in and told him why (I needed him to answer the “tough” questions!). At 9:45 my daughter prayed a prayer of salvation. With tears on my face I saw my daughter beaming. She was the happiest I’ve seen her. She said that she felt like a new person. Indeed, she was. We told her that since she prayed and ask Christ into her heart, her old life is gone. She is a new, clean person.
Her decision has also affected me. As proud as I am, I’ve been sharing the joyous news to everyone I see. Believers AND non-believers. I’ve actually even been able to witness. That is a great gift from God. I was witnessing to one friend and as I was speaking about what comes after you accept Christ, I realized that maybe I needed to reinforce that in my life… I’ll say it, I’m a slacker. It shows me what I need to do, and will do, to help my daughter in her walk with the Lord.
Yesterday was the happiest day of my life. I always thought the birth of my daughter and son were the happiest days in my life, but it pales in comparison. Nothing can compare to the day that your child is given eternal life.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I’m not going to pretend I knew what demands the writers were making or whether or not they were being sensible. I don’t have a clue what was going on except that my shows seemed to be on replay (i.e. reruns). I’m going to throw a theory out into the universe; it may or may not have merit. I will say that had they not gone on strike, half of the reality shows that we have on television right now probably would not exist.
The strike ended in February 2008, but it seems as though primetime television has yet to bounce back. It appears that there are some new shows starting this Fall season, but I have to ask myself… "Am I willing to replace a perfectly good reality show on my DVR for a scripted show?" If I look on my to-do list for my DVR, I see mostly reality shows. There is One Life to Live, General Hospital, Law and Order SVU, but then the rest are reality shows: The Real Housewives of Atlanta (I also record New York and New Jersey), Bridezillas, The Biggest Loser, The Apprentice, Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Then there was Confessions of a Teen Idol, Sober House, Amazing Wedding Cakes, Project Runway, Rock of Love, Wife Swap. The list could just go on and on. Why are we so fixated on reality TV?
Thought #1 – We can relate. We all have some sort of dysfunction in our lives and these characters put the fun in dysfunctional. These REALITY shows are a REALITY check that everyone can be screwed up. Whether it is the affluent Housewives in their respective cities, or the pampered self-proclaimed princess brat that throws a flower arrangement to the ground because it wasn’t "blingy" enough and it didn’t reach her goal of showing everyone how much money she had (Shout out, Valerie Neito), it shows us that our families and lives could be a lot worse. After 60 minutes of entertainment we might just be able to turn off the tube and say, "Wow, my family isn’t as bad." Or as in the Bridezilla episode I referenced, I gave my then-fiancée a quick "see, it could be worse" smile of reassurance.
Thought #2 – We, as viewers, are simply nosey and voyeuristic. We love to know what happens behind closed doors. And with all access cameras set up behind the proverbial and literal door, our curiosity is satisfied. Don’t try to deny it. Look how many people pass by a traffic accident and stretch and strain to get a glimpse of some sort of blood or gore. It is just a fact of life. These shows give us an opportunity to see the drama play out right before our eyes:
- The Jon and Kate break up – how will they adjust?
- Sheree Whitfield didn’t get her "seven-figure lump sum" - we get to see her move out of her mansion and start supporting herself.
- Kourtney Kardashian is pregnant – how will she handle the aches and pains, physically and emotionally, of impending motherhood?
- Danielle Staub – when did you get hair extensions?
- NeNe Leakes – who’s your daddy?
We can find all the answers to these questions just by turning on the TV. Now, as I get ready to watch this week’s episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (I hear that Kim is going to get her wig ripped off), I leave you with some of my favorite reality TV quotes:
"I like making my own money! I find that an aphrodisiac."
- Ramona Singer, The Real Housewives of New York
"They released me early because I was a threat to the prison. "
- Khloe Kardashian, Keeping Up With the Kardashians
"I get a chance to meet 25 amazing women, and I know one of them is going to be my wife."
- Jason Mesnick, The Bachelor
"It's not bad to wear a promise ring because not everybody - guy or girl - wants to be a slut."
- Jordin Sparks, American Idol
"I want, like, four. Maybe I'll adopt 10. I want to have my own orphanage like Mother Teresa."
- Heidi Montag, The Hills
"Your people give money with blood on it. I met your people in Las Vegas. None of them have last names. You’re a poker player. A poker player! That’s beyond white trash. Poker players are trash, darling, trash."
- Joan Rivers, The Celebrity Apprentice
P.S. Please be aware that not all of the details in this blog may be 100% factual. As a very wise female who is not a girl, yet not quite a woman pointed out, "This is a blog not a research paper!"
And then there are the garments… Waist cinchers. Underwire. SpanxÒ. Oh the myriad of products out there to help us lose the appearance of an inch or two. Last, but not least, there are the shoes. Ah, the shoes. More specifically, heels… There is the kitten heel, the flat heel, the wedge, the chunky heel, the cone heel, the Pompadour heel and most let’s not forget, the stiletto heel. If you look way back in history you will see that both men and women wore high heels. Besides a fashion statement, women wear heels to make them appear taller. Men wore them to signify opulence and authority. Do you think Napoleon wore heels? I’ll have to Google that. Heels have been around for centuries, which means achy sore feet have also been around for centuries. Women are willing to suffer through the pain that a trendy shoe inflicts all in the name of fashion and beauty.
I have a nice size shoe collection, my husband can attest to this. I would say that I most likely have 30+ pairs of shoes in my closet. Now keep in mind, I only have one pair of feet. (That’s a shout out to my dear husband that stated this obvious point while asking me why I need so many pairs of shoes). I look at my vast collection of shoes and can tell you what outfit each pair of shoes can be worn with. I refuse to tell you; however, the last time I wore certain pairs of shoes and conversely certain outfits. The number of times a pair of shoes has been worn is distinctly related to the comfort level of said shoe. I can tell you that my bluish-purple heels with black patent trim have been worn less than a handful of times regardless of how much I love the long sleeve purple swirl wrap dress that is complemented perfectly with these shoes. I can tell you that the reason I’ve only worn the shoes so few times is that the back of the shoe rubs a nice little blister by the end of the day. And my black satin shoes with silver trim? Yes, the buckle digs into my ankle quite nicely, thank you very much. And then there are my versatile blue strappy sandals that look great with skirts, pants and jeans; however, my pinky toe suffocates by the tightness of the strap. Did I know all of this prior to handing over my credit card to the store clerk and brought these treasures home with me to live for eternity?
Well, yeah! But I was willing to sacrifice my comfort for the sake of fashion.
I said all of that to say this. I turned thirty last year, which is supposed to be some milestone birthday for women. It’s supposed to be the “all downhill from here” birthday for us females. I had a few moments of “gasp” when that big day got closer and closer, but for the most part I feel I handled it quite well. In two weeks my numerical age will increase by one. I will be IN my thirties. To top it all off, I’ve been shopping for orthopedic shoes. At first, when my physical therapist insisted that I get them, I resisted with everything in my being. They are ugly. There is no way I have any outfits to go with these practical and practically ugly shoes. They are not cost effective and will never wear them after all of this plantar fasciitis hoopla is corrected. Those thoughts quickly began to disappear like skywriting in the clouds. With each painful limp, I began to think that investing in my comfort was not such a bad idea.
I initially encountered my purchase like I did any other shoes. I was going for style. After a couple of hours in these shoes, I realized that the trendy Mary Jane style was hurting the top of my foot and I would not be able to just suffer through the pain. As I was in the store exchanging my “cute” ugly shoes for “ugly” ugly shoes, I thought about the verses that our pastor touched upon this Sunday morning. 1 Peter 3:3-4 states, “3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.” A beauty survey commissioned by the British beauty brand Nephria found women spend almost three years of their life getting ready to leave the house, according to Marie Claire magazine. And that doesn’t even include the time we spend shopping for the “perfect” outfit, make up, and time at the beauty and nail salons. Where are the statistics that show how much time we spend on our inner beauty?
That’s a different subject, and maybe blog, altogether. What I have learned in my old age is that comfort has now become way more important to me than beauty, style and trends. Practicality has a bigger emphasis on my buying decisions than admiration of the product. Don’t believe me? Look at the horrendous boats that I call shoes. And I’ll let you in on another little secret… I’m actually eyeing another pair of orthopedic shoes that aren’t even that cute either.
Friday, August 7, 2009
I was so excited all day that she was coming home. I have missed her terrible. She has spent roughly two weeks with me all Summer. So, the transitions that she is to make have been delayed until now. I had prepared my self for the worst when she finally came home... You see, she is in that "tween-ager" stage. The mind of a child, and attitude of a teen. I was expecting the "I hate my life." speeches and the rolling eyes when I welcomed her home. I was pleasantly surprised.
When she walked in the door, she immediately gave me a hug. She squeezed me almost as tightly as I squeezed her. She told me how happy she was to be home. I was so happy to hear it. I continued to hear her say it for the following three hours. And it never got old. Each time she said it with such excitement that it made my heart smile. Regardless of the adventures and gifts she had experienced during these past months, she still was happy to be home. Home with her stuffy old mom and bratty little brother. Even the bald guy that took her away from her comfort zone because he had the audacity to marry her mother.
We sat and talked about the events of her Summer as I painted her nails. Then she told me that she was happy that we moved, because she hasn't seen me happier. She discussed her fears that caused her to rebel against the move. She said that she knows that we won't be moving again because she sees how happy I am. It made me proud to hear her talk so candidly with me.
I cherished these moments because I knew that as school starts and rules are enforced, it would not be long before I heard the "I hates" once more... I hate my life, I hate you, I hate school, etc. It also reminded me that I need to grasp and not let go the moments that we can share as mother-daughter instead of enemies.