Monday, June 7, 2010

LI 2 Day Breast Cancer Walk

When the world says, "Give up,"
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
~Author Unknown

We completed the LI 2 day breast cancer walk. It was hard but we walked every step! We never took a ride even though they offered a lot of times.

I dropped Julianna off at Rosanne's house at about 6 am. Vanna and I then drove to Smith Point Park. We dropped our bags off at the UPS truck and proceeded to check in and have breakfast. We met my cousins Susannah and Lisa there. I also saw my friend and childhood neighbor Dona Marzigliano Brannigan. I haven't seen her in over 20 years. We talk on facebook . She has done this walk 7 times and she inspired me to do it.

The first day we did 20 miles. We got to lunch after walking about 10. I had a huge blister on my heel at that point. They had a team of podiatrists there. I had Dr. Fryman from Seaford. He fixed it up and I walked the rest of the day. It was hot and humid but there were plenty of rest stops. They had water, snacks and portajohns . The portajohn company had a sign that said "we're number one at dealing with number two". Pretty funny especially to someone whose life is somewhat consumed with potty training.

We were thrilled to get to the end. It was a very long day. At the end they had massage therapists. We took advantage of this and it was great. They also had a really nice dinner. They had hot shower trailers. They were a lot nicer than I thought they would be. It felt great to be clean.

All the tents were set up by volunteers. Our air mattresses were blown up and put inside along with our bags. They had a great band playing but most of us couldn't wait for it to stop. We were exhausted and really wanted to go to sleep. It finally stopped and I fell asleep right away. I couldn't have slept better in the Waldorf Astoria.

At 5:15 they woke us up. Ugggh . I was so sore I had trouble getting out of the tent. We got all our stuff packed up, loaded it on the truck and went to breakfast. At 7 am we started walking. At some points it felt like we were on some sort of death march, but we trudged on.

I was so sore and I had tons of blisters. I am not so sure why I got them. I had shoes that were tried and true, super good expensive socks and I powdered up at every chance. I was told it might be because my feet are still swollen from the chemotherapy. It hurt but I didn't want to stop. They offered rides to the next rest stop or to the end but it was important to me to do the whole thing.

We finally made it to the end where they had lunch. We sat down to eat and they said they were going to do the survivor walk early because they were having a severe thunderstorm warning. So we got ready for that. They had pink shirts for the survivors and my cousin Lisa and I wore those. Vanna and Susannah wore white shirts.

They had a pipe band leading the procession and the whole group walked over a long bridge. When I got almost to the end I saw my friend Rosanne with Julianna and her boys Sean, Connor and Evan. Julianna saw me and started yelling "Mommy, Mommy!!!" I took her and carried her over the bridge. She was really happy to see me but she also loved the band and walking in the crowd.

They had everyone walk in first and then all the survivors walked in last. I walked in with Julianna and my cousin Lisa. When we walked through the crowd they handed us pink carnations. It was really nice.

They had the survivors stand up when they announced the amount of years they were out of treatment. One year, five, ten, fifteen, twenty and up. It was great. It sometimes feels to me as if this treatment is going on forever so it was really nice to see so many people who had completed it. It is nice to see people who finished everything and went on to have happy, healthy lives. I will be thrilled to get there.

I was amazed at how organized this event was. I have done a lot of different group events and nothing ever went as smoothly as this. They had tons of volunteers, police in cars and on bikes, medics in ambulances and on bikes, vans to pick up anyone wanting a ride (very tempting with cute drivers), lots of food, water and toilets at every stop, cheering spots and all kinds of other things. I would recommend this event to anyone.

It did make me realize that despite finishing the chemo I am still not back to normal. I realize my counts are still bad and I am sure that increased my fatigue. I would guess my herceptin infusions didn't help either. But I did finish it!!!!

I am going to do it again next year. My whole team said they will do it again. If anyone wants to do it we would love to have you join us!!

Thanks to all my sponsors, people who encouraged me and everyone who helped. You all rock!

Team Blue butterflies on the first day. ME, my cousin Lisa, my cousin Susannah and Vanna
Me with a picture of my Mom. I carried it with me through the walk.

Dona Marzigliano Brannigan. She has done this walk 7 times. She inspired me to do it.

Vanna at the end of the first day

Team Blue butterflies on the second day.

Me walking at the end with Julianna.

Julianna, Me and Lisa in the survivor area

Izzy Marzigliano (Dona's Mom) on the memory board in the inspiration tent.

Betty Malone (Rosanne's Mom) on the memory board in the inspiration tent.

Elaine Colotti (Vanna's Mom), Virginia Piquet (my stepmother Betty's sister) and my Mom. They were all on the memory borad in the inspiration tent. They are all missed everyday.

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