Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Walk To Remember

My sweet family wearing pink
and showing me love & support.
Photo by Nicolette Jean Photography
I have received several sweet “how you doing” & “are you okay” messages in the past few days as I have been pretty quiet lately. So sorry to be in hiding… I am just ridiculously tired. I’ve had so many people that have not had cancer, go through chemo or do radiation treatments assure me that radiation would be a breeze, but contrary to popular belief, it has kinda been like a daily beating. I’ve heard from a few people who have gone through radiation (without chemo) that the symptoms usually associated with radiation start to appear during week three – which is what my doctor told me to expect. Yet, I have spoken to three other women who went through chemo and radiation (like me) and they have confirmed what I am feeling… that the fatigue hits in the first few days. I am so tired it is bizarre.

Additionally, for me radiation has been a very emotional and mental fight. I have actually been surprised by this reality. Even though I am usually in and out of the radiation center in less than 15 minutes, almost every day there has been some sort of emotional exchange while in the facility. On my 1st day of treatment, I laid on the table for about 45 minutes as they re-aligned my ink marks with the laser beam. My ears were full of tears that had dripped down my face as I oozed emotion through my tear ducts. Because I could not move, the tears just pooled up. You feel so vulnerable lying there naked as this enormous machine encircles you working its magic. A Survivor Sister shared the following verse with me, which she said she would meditate on during radiation as she prayed for protection from burning, pain, and radiation going anywhere besides where it is supposed to be. Psalm 121:5 “The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.” I have found great comfort in these words… but still, some days are hard.

10 treatments down... 23 to go!

But enough about that… I need to share about how awesome the Relay For Life was! First off… thank you to so many of you for your donation to the American Cancer Society. Together we raised $2, 956!!! I am proud to share that I won the award for ”Most Money Raised By An Individual” – but really the winner is American Cancer Society and the cancer patients, future patients, families and research that will be done as a result of your amazing generosity. All I can say is that being completely obnoxious about fundraising totally paid off! I know many of you made donations in memory of loved ones – it was my honor to walk for them and you.

The Survivor Walk
The day was great. I got there at 7:30am for the Survivors Breakfast - they really did treat us like royalty. Then after the opening ceremony I walked arm in arm with two Survivor Sisters that I have come to love as we strutted our stuff around the field in the Survivors Lap. My husband and kids came out to cheer me on and as I got up to join the other survivors on the track, my little Nathan hollered, “Have fun Mommy!” It was fun. When we got back to the start he wanted to know if I won. With tears, my answer was “Yes.”

I had made a challenge to
take a lap in high heels.
Well... I did my best. 
There were booths set up around the track with raffles and stuff to buy to help make money for ACS. I was able to personally decorate the luminary bags that had been donated by my friends/family in memory of a loved one. Some friends came to visit and walk with me, there was a special Survivors lunch, special music and all sorts of activities throughout the day. Oh… and I walked 6 of the half hour blocks around the field as part of our relay team. Was I tired? Yes. Was it a good day? One of the best.

As the sun began to set, they lit all of the luminary bags that lined the field. There was a special Luminary Ceremony and then everyone in attendance walked a lap in silence in memory of those lost to cancer, which was followed by a lap where bagpipes played Amazing Grace. It was a somber, humbling experience. Seeing all of the hundreds of bags, each representing a life stole by this nasty disease. I think I experienced every possible emotion while walking those laps. As Eric held my hand tightly, I cried tears of sadness and joy. I felt angry and saved. So many thoughts crossed my mind… what an experience.

The morning belonged to survivors. The day to the fight. And the night belonged to those lost. It really was a beautiful event.

Look at my fancy paper certificate.!
Woot - Woot
I camped out over night with my team and hung out until and 9:00am for the closing ceremony and to participate in the final lap. I’m so glad I stuck it out. After winning the award, I was able to get into a conversation with the coordinator of our local ACS events. I ask her how I could volunteer for the ‘Making Strides Against Breast Cancer’ walk that is held in October at the capitol. She looked at me and asked, “Do you want to volunteer that day… or serve on the committee?” Well… since she put it that way, I chose to join the committee. Our first meeting is in a few weeks so I don’t yet know what I got myself into, but I do know that I have been asking God what the heck he wants me to do with this experience, so maybe this is the beginning of something exciting.

I know I can say it a million times, but I do not know that you can all truly comprehend how much I appreciate your support in this. Being part of Relay For Life was bigger than me or my story… which was cool. It was a way to give back to an organization that helped me personally and helps so many others on a daily basis. This was an important mark in my journey and a huge step toward hope and healing… thank you!

 ***As a community, the Elk Grove Relay For Life raised a tad over $85,000! 

I want to recognize so many of you that added to the success of this event. 
Thanks a million!

Challenge To Donate - Businesses
Whiteley Photography  (Donated 3 Portrait Sessions)
Cupcake Cuties Bakery (Donated 6 Dozen Gourmet Cupcaked)
Ammin Nut Company   (Donated an Almond Butter Gift Basket)

Luminaries Donated In Memory Of:

Joanne Clark
Jan Irey
Dan Angeloni “Big Papa”
Julio Torres
Luann Larson

Thank you for your donation to the 
America Cancer Society. (In no particular order…)

In Memory of Joann Clark
Andria & Rob St. Evans
Rosa & David Magana
Lynell Cuthberson
Ed & Donna Monroe
Deanna & Mike Lockhart
Ken & Stacey Hisey
Barbara & Tom Sisson
Rhonna Dra
Al & Carroll Amator
David Key
Holly Cybuski
Joel Archer
Sally & Bob Finkbeiner
Ryan & Megan Marcroft
In Memory of Jan Irey
Anna Schwiesenger
Pam Robertson
Emily Brown
Pat & Bob Montgomery
Gaye & Tom Bone
Heather & Chris Bendinelli
Nancy & Bruce Lofgren
Camryn Thomas
Bobbie Lewis
Louisa Bwers
Lori & Scott Bergenstock
Susan & Tim Jones
Jennifer Buwella
Liz & Tim Driessen
In Memory of Dan Angeloni
Joni & Glen Kelley
Bradi Lomack
Candice Morton
Gregg & Candice Stetzer
Kim Key
Stu & Christal Kapicka
Gary Perkowitz
Phillip & Emily Ramey
Frank & Shirley DeLange
Kelly & Rodrigo Rodriguez
Faith Conley
Jennifer Brooks
Rebecca Hainz-bBxter
Melissa & Toby Van Horn
In Memory of Julio Torres
Kyle & Rebecca Bruns
Heather & Aren Bazzocco
Shannon Anderson
Gayle Calderone
Shandela & Dane Brooks
Signe Weeks
Glen & Debbie Brasel
Amy & Michael Erwin
Elisabeth & Joel Walsh
Clay & Francine Whiteley
Nancy Fiole
Julianne Christ
Danielle & Jay Joost
Kristen & Jason Fullmore
In Memory of Luann Larson
Eather & Ron Marcroft
Tom & Debbie Ramsay
Leslie & Bill Randall
Rebecca Erickson
Michael & Brooke McClimans
Sommer & Eric Horn
Gary & Kris Randall

*** If I forgot anyone I am so sorry. It would not mean that your donation didn’t go through… it would have been my error in tracking emails. 

My Survivor Sister Jackie & I flashing our medals!
The "Hope Wall"
Yes... Eric and Leah are sword fighting.
Nathan signed the "Hope Wall"
Little Missy and Mommy
Self Portrait
"Time To Get Some Rest"


  1. Hey Kelly - Sunday they showed a VBS video from last year and when I saw your picture, all I could think was how we never know what God has in store for us. Prayed for you right then and there. We barely got to know each other (one day working in crafts together) but I am blessed to be part of your prayer network! Hang in there sister. While I may not know what is in store for anyone, I confidently know God is not finished with you yet - I know for sure. Blessings.

  2. Thanks Debbie...but what a crazy 1 day that was! Thanks for your incouragement. We have plenty of friends in common... I know we will meet again.