Tag Archives: relay for life

Is It Friday Yet?

Song Lyric of the Day:

I see a sunbeam comin’ down / I know it’s you by your footsteps on the ground

Oy vey, this has been such a long week. Not long in a bad sense but long in a busy sense. Work’s been super busy, which is good since it makes the days go quickly (not to mention job security), but I’ve been popping antacids like they’re candy as a result. Stress and I go together like Charlie Sheen and hookers: It’s inevitable and will eventually put one of us in the hospital. I was also stressing about last night’s Relay for Life 2011 Kickoff at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, which is a big deal for raising awareness of and generating interest in our community events. It went great and now I can focus my Relay efforts on fundraising (donate to me here), but I wish I could’ve helped with the setup more than I was able to. Work has to come first, though. Gotta keep that leaky roof over our heads.

The rotunda in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

Now that it’s the weekend I can try to relax a bit and focus on spending time with Coraline and maybe — finally — getting some of the hundreds of pictures I’ve taken of her since her birth added to my Flickr albums. Don’t hold your breath, though. My intentions are like my attention span right now: fleeting (Squirrel!).

Really, I’ll just be happy to get some sleep.

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My Cancer Story

Song Lyric of the Day:

I say the comedy is that it’s serious / This is a strange enough new play on words / I say the tragedy is how you’re gonna spend / The rest of your nights with the light on / So shine the light on all of your friends / When it all amounts to nothing in the end / I won’t worry my life away

Jason Mraz / “The Remedy

Anyone who stops by here on a semi-regular basis knows that for the past several years, I’ve participated in the American Cancer Society‘s Relay for Life. I’m pretty sure my first year participating was 2002 (I miscounted somewhere along the way), and since then I’ve progressed from being a team member to a team captain to a committee member to this year’s Event Chair for the Downtown Knoxville event, which is this Friday, June 25, at the World’s Fair Park. Since this is indeed a post wherein I’m angling for donations to the cause, I figure it’s high time I share my in-depth reasons for doing this. I’ve avoided it for years because, even though I’m one of the lucky ones, it’s still hard talking about it. It’s what all of us who participate in the Relay for Life call our cancer stories. It’s your cancer story whether or not you are the one who fought cancer or you are the loved one, friend, caretaker, or colleague of someone who has or had cancer.

By the time October 2001 rolled around, I was a nervous wreck. In the wake of 9/11, my husband had cut me off from watching the news. My maternal grandfather was dying of cancer. I was working two jobs, one of which was making me physically ill. I barely slept. And I was also stressed because a few weeks earlier my mom had called to let me know that her routine biopsy had shown what looked like a spot. She reassured me, however, that her doctor was at least 80 percent confident it wasn’t cancer. And a doctor would know, right? So I was worrying about her for nothing. Or so she told me.

When she called me a few days before Halloween (I think it was Friday, October 26), I was downstairs and Rich was upstairs in our office loft which opened over the living room. He could hear everything I was saying. To this day all I can really remember about that phone call is hearing the word “cancer,” sobbing, and feeling Rich’s arms wrapping around me from behind as I collapsed to the floor and the phone slipped from my fingers. I can’t remember if I talked to Mom again after that; I believe Rich spoke to her a bit. The rest of the weekend went by in a haze for me. I was heartsick and homesick and desperately wanted to see my mom. When I ran into my friend, Sharon, at a store that weekend, when she asked me how I was, I burst into tears and told her about Mom. She hugged me and held me there in the middle of the store until I stopped crying.

Not long after that, Rich scraped together enough money to buy me a plane ticket home. Still newlyweds, we had far more debt than disposable income at that time, so it was a big sacrifice to fly me home. But Rich did so knowing that’s what I needed right then. Sure enough, when I got home, Mom looked fine. She assured me she felt fine, that they’d caught it early, and she was going to beat it. I flew home a few days later, hating more than ever how far away we lived from our family.
I wasn’t there for when Mom’s hair fell out, for when our family finally began to see the physical manifestations that go hand-in-hand with having and fighting cancer. My youngest sister took on the role of primary caretaker since I wasn’t there to help out and our other sister and Dad were in denial. Until Mom’s hair started falling out, that is. After that, Dad stopped calling it “an inconvenience,” although he still believed with all his heart that Mom would beat it. And, thank God, she did.

I made it to one of her chemotherapy sessions over the holidays later that year, and even though Mom received the treatment via an IV (she didn’t need a port), I ended up running to the bathroom to cry over that scary, bright-red liquid poison being pumped into my mother. Until now, my youngest sister was the only person who knew why I’d bolted for the restroom at that moment.

While my mother fought and beat breast cancer, my grandfather succumbed to his cancer in March 2002. Shortly after that, Sharon, who had a few family members with cancer or who were precancerous, told me about the Relay for Life and asked if I’d like to participate. I said yes, and have been participating every year since. Once we moved back to Knoxville in 2005, my family asked me to lead a team here so they too could participate.

I wish I could say my mom and grandfather are the only people with cancer who personally affected me, but they’re not. One of my best friends has lost too many family members to cancer. My paternal grandmother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor. Sharon lost both parents to different types of cancer within a few years of each other. A close work friend is also a breast cancer survivor. Countless friends have lost their mothers, fathers, siblings, and grandparents to cancer. And my very dear friend, Liz, is currently fighting cancer.

Now you know my cancer story. I always say I do this for my mom, but now I also do it so my daughter will hopefully one day be able to ask “What was cancer?”

I encourage you to share your cancer story either via comments or a private e-mail to me (I would never share anyone’s story here without first asking permission). And, even if it’s only a few dollars, please donate to my Relay for Life personal page (or any of my teammates’ pages – the money all goes to the same place). Donations are TAX DEDUCTIBLE. That $5 or $10 you can spare might just be what gets a cancer patient to their next oncologist appointment. Thank you for your support, and I encourage anyone else who has been touched and affected by cancer to look into participating in their community’s Relay for Life event.

For all you locals, please come out and support us this Friday night at the World’s Fair Park (and support us on Facebook). It’s a FREE event (although teams will have on-site fundraisers so petty cash is a good idea) and is a fantastic way to support the cancer survivors in our community. I’ll be the six-and-a-half-months pregnant woman playing in the fountains in between talking on stage.

Celebrate, remember, and FIGHT BACK.

Quick links:
My personal Relay for Life page
Pick a teammate to donate to
Find a Relay for Life event in your community

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Filed under cancer, personal

Downtown Knoxville ACS Relay for Life 2009

Song Lyric of the Day:

‘Til the storms fill my eyes / And we touch the last time / I will love you, love you

Fisher / “I Will Love You

Today’s the big day: the 2009 Downtown Knoxville American Cancer Society Relay for Life! The economy may be bad, but you can help me do some good by joining my team, the Tennessee Purple People Cancer Eaters or by making a donation to help me and my team raise funds to help fight cancer. Here in Knoxville alone, 1,673 people were diagnosed with cancer for the year ending 2006. My mom was one of them a few years ago; I walk in honor or her being a 7 ½ year breast cancer survivor. So please help me make a difference and support our community at the same time. The event starts at 7PM tonight at the World’s Fair Park. It’s an overnight event, but you’re welcome to come by for even a fraction of the evening. The more, the merrier! And don’t let any rain we may get scare you away – most of us will be there for the whole event regardless of the weather.

If you’d like to make a donation to my team, click here. If you’d like to make a donation to my personal page, click here. Times are tough for all of us these days, which is why it’s more important than ever to raise funds to help cancer patients receive the treatment and care they need. Together, we can celebrate, remember, and fight back. Thanks for your support — this isn’t just a cause for me, it’s now a way of life.

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Filed under downtown Knoxville

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Nervous Breakdown …

Song Lyric of the Day:

My head is a box filled with nothing / And that’s the way I like it / My garden’s a secret compartment / And that’s the way I like it / And that’s the way I like it

Ben Lee / “Catch My Disease

Things have been beyond crazy lately. Like I-went-hiking-on-the-Appalachian-Trail-only-to-end-up-in-Argentina crazy. Why exactly have things been so crazy? First, work has been busybusybusy — site redesigns are always fun (cough). But it’s been good — days fly by when you’re busy and when you work with a great team.

The primary reason I’m freaking out these days is that, while this will be my seventh year participating in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and my fourth as a team captain, it’s my first as a committee member. I’m in charge of the Luminaria ceremony, so I’ve been busy writing the speech, meeting with the pastor, securing the bagpipers, and lots of other little things. Yesterday I was even interviewed on WVLT (channel 8 here) alongside the ACS’s amazing Ashley, who has been an invaluable support throughout the last few crazy months. Tonight, though, I’ve been trying to decide on songs to play after the bagpipers finish playing “Amazing Grace.” I chose a preliminary set of songs based on their lyrics, and not only how they affect me personally and emotionally, but also how they can be interpreted by and affect fellow Relay participants. My playlist so far:

“Keep Me in Your Heart” by Warren Zevon

“I Will Love You” by Fisher

“I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLachlan

“I’ll Be There” by Escape Club

“Silent Lucidity” by Queensryche

In between work craziness and Relay prep, I’ve seen my awesome little nephews as often as possible. My best days are now the ones where I get to see either Elliott or Stephen, ideally both — they’re my special little guys.

I’ve also managed to motivate my lazy, stressed, and expanding ass to start semi-regular full workouts again, although I took tonight off. (I’ve learned the hard way to listen to my body when it’s achier than normal.)

I’ve found the time (thank you, TiVo) to enjoy some great TV, too: The Closer, Leverage, True Blood — squee! — and Better Off Ted to name a few shows, about which I will write more once I’m done with the Relay. I’m also really enjoying the 10 little Indians concept of Harper’s Island (and, boy, will I be pissed if Jimmy is the other killer).

Now you know where I’ve been. It’s not too late to donate to the Relay for Life, either. You can donate to my team as a whole (or pick a random team member) or make a donation on my personal page. Oh, and I have some fun news to share about my upcoming big vacation. It can’t get here soon enough.

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Filed under life


Song Lyric of the Day:

So baby, baby / Would you read a poem I penned for you? / Would you think of me / And not some other girl’s boobs?

Priscilla Ahn / “The Boobs Song”

Now that I have your attention … As my 15 regular readers (see what I did? I added a person) know, I’m an active participant in the annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life. I participate every year in honor of my mom, a 7-year breast cancer survivor. This year, following my German blogging friend‘s example (Hi, K!), I’ve signed my blog up to Go Pink for the month. Because, if you didn’t know it already, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And that’s why my normally purple-accented blog is now accented in pink.

One of Rich’s favorite T-shirts. Taken at the 2007 Downtown Knoxville Relay for Life.

While the Relay for Life raises funds to fight all types of cancer, I am especially interested in fighting and finding a cure for breast cancer as that’s the type with which my family has the most personal experience. It’s also the type of cancer I am most likely to get. So won’t you join me and sign your site up to Go Pink this month, too?

And now I leave you with the very talented Priscilla Ahn‘s wonderful “Boobs Song.” Enjoy, take care of your tatas, and Go Pink!


Filed under cancer

When All Else Fails: Eddie Izzard

Song Lyric of the Day:

Go get your losing head / Seeing fire, I’m told it never burns / I want it all, I pull you back. I want it all / Cry baby, cry baby, cry. Soaking down your face / Cry baby, cry baby, and you can’t understand how I could just kill a man

Charlotte Sometimes
/ “How I Could Just Kill a Man

I’ve had a headache bordering on a migraine most of the day. So since I don’t have a lot of energy right now, what should I do? Why, share my love of the British transvestite comedian Eddie Izzard.

Best-known these days stateside for his role on the FX series, The Riches, Eddie Izzard instantly became one of my all-time favorite comedians the first time I saw his stand-up special, Dress to Kill. I mean, he’s a transvestite comedian.
Weirdo or executive transvestite? You decide.

Turns out the bit from that special that ended up being my favorite (aside from saying “sweet Jazzie Chrissie” instead of taking you-know-who’s name in vain), was the bit about learning French. Brings back a lot of memories from high school French class, because, honestly, how on earth were we expected to work some of the phrases we learned into everyday conversation — in French? It’s hard enough working references about monkeys in trees and mice under tables into everyday English conversations.

BBC America recently aired not only Dress to Kill, but Glorious, which I hadn’t yet seen. Despite being heavily edited for television, it was still very funny. One of my favorite bits had to do with “bird strikes.” Now I just need to get the DVD and watch it uncensored and uncut.

In looking for clips from both those shows, I came across yet another special I need to watch, Sexie. Turns out Izzard does a great Christopher Walken impression. Not surprising, since he is also an actor, after all; I still think his Professor Bedlam/Barry was the only truly funny — and memorable — thing in the movie My Super Ex-Girlfriend.

As an added bonus, in finding all these clips on YouTube tonight, I found Lego-animated clips set to some of Izzard’s comedy. I liked the James Bond clip the best.

I also liked the Lego clips about the differences between British and American movies, and B-movies and vampires.

Very much wanting to see Eddie Izzard in concert, particularly on the heels of having recently watched Dress to Kill and Glorious, I clicked on his Stripped tour dates link to see if and when he was performing anywhere close to Knoxville. My joy at seeing a Nashville show listed was short-lived, though, as it’s for next Friday — when I will be leading my team at the American Cancer Society Relay for Life (check out some of my pics from the 2007 event). I won’t lie — I briefly considered being a no-show for my fifth Relay (my third as team captain) just to see Izzard perform live. I’m not perfect, you know. Alas, my obligation to fundraising for cancer research beckons.

So now Rich and I will see if we can’t find tickets to see him in Atlanta a few days after that instead. Wish us luck! (And donate to my team‘s Relay for Life fund if you can.)

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Filed under humor, youtube

Back in the Saddle

Song Lyric of the Day:

These are crazy days but they make me shine / Time keeps rolling by / All around the world, you’ve got to spread the word / Tell them what you heard / We’re gonna make a better day

Oasis / “All Around the World

The saying is true: You need a vacation from vacation. After just over a week home, we’re all finally getting back in the groove of things. When I say all of us, I’m including the cats and dogs in that. Caleb and Snoops are still recovering from days on end of playing with cousins and chasing cats, respectively, while the cats are thrilled to have us (okay, me) around again.

Rich and I are back on the fitness wagon, doing our best to stay faithful to our individual workout regimens. I’m starting to blog again. I got the first set of vacation photos uploaded to Flickr. I backed my laptop up and finally installed Mac OS X Leopard. I’m gearing up for my annual email blitzes to raise funds for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life (donate here). I finally made Brent his welcome home lasagna. And, to top it off, I went on an organizational bender this weekend the likes of which would’ve made your head spin.

Which is why I’m already looking forward to the weekend. I need to catch up on sleeping in.

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Filed under flickr, vacation recovery