About Me

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I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin & a best friend. I am a poet, a lawyer & a survivor. I've learned that God will give you a second chance.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Goals

I have never made New Year resolutions because I know they are never kept. However, I like the idea of setting goals. This year I find myself setting goals throughout the year. In January I set the goal to walk one mile a day, six days a week on my treadmill as part of my “training” for the Avon Walk. I also set the goal to write one blog post a week. Last year I had set a goal to lose weight, which I did. So I set another weight loss goal. I also set the goal to keep track of the books I read this year.

What is interesting about setting those goals is that later on in the year I found myself setting other goals. I set the goal to read a Psalm a day.

So how have I done? Well, in the short-term perspective I have failed. And failed miserably. But today I took inventory and this is what I found.

In January I walked a mile (or more) a day on my treadmill; six days a week. I accomplished my goal, but at a price. I developed plantar faciitis and have had to modify my “workout” routine so that I do not reinjure my heel. In the short-term I have failed. However, upon reflection I now easily walk two miles at a time so I’ve been increasing my cardio level. Rather than going for longer distance I’ve increased the pace or incline. As a result, when I recently took a hike with some friends I found that I did not tire or get winded as I have in the past. I was able to thoroughly enjoy our walk, while chatting about various things in our lives and observations along the path.

I have also continued to lose weight, which gives me more energy. I have worked in some yoga routines, which have improved both my flexibility and my core strength. No, I’m not walking a marathon every weekend. And I’m not following the Avon training guide. But I know that I am physically more fit this year than I was last or the year before. In fact, my fitness level is better than it was when I was first diagnosed with cancer.

I haven’t posted every week, but sometimes I’ve written two or three posts in one week because I have something to say. As it turns out, I’m right on track for writing 52 posts (or more) this year.

I’ve been keeping track of the books I’ve read this year on Goodreads. I’m a slow reader, but so far I’ve read 13 books this year; I’m almost finished with #14. I’ve read some fantastic books. And I’ve read through the Book of Psalms. I will confess that I didn’t always read one a day. Sometimes I had to make up for a missed day or weekend by reading two a day. I kind of lost track, but I stuck with it and now I’m reading Proverbs a chapter a day.

I’ve learned that setting goals is a good thing. It helps keep me on track. But I’ve also learned that I should not be hard on myself if I don’t reach my goals in exactly the way I set out to accomplish them. The truth is: I will get there. So set some goals, and don’t be afraid to fail. After all, courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” [Mary Anne Radmacher].

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Romans 8:28 or Why I Walk, Part 2




I am walking, again, in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. This year the team is walking in San Francisco. I had thought about journaling my training and sharing it here, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t be very inspirational. You see, I have my ups and downs when it comes to training. I’ve been attempting to make my training more “official” by following a plan. In fact, I started January with walking one mile a day, six days a week. I walked 30 miles during the month of January. And developed plantar fasciitis.
So I took some time off from the treadmill in February and March. I ended up in my doctor’s office because while the heel pain went away after not walking, it came back ten times worse the first time I attempted a mile on my treadmill. I had tried everything; softer setting, new inserts for my walking shoes, slower pace. Ultimately, I just needed to stretch more before and after.
As I approached August, I calculated twelve weeks out from the Avon Walk weekend, downloaded Reebok’s 12-week training schedule (they are an official sponsor of the Avon Walk and have some great training material available to those preparing to walk), and decided I would try their recommendations. I didn’t get very far. But I haven’t given up.
You see, back when I “trained” for my first walk in 2011 I walked on my treadmill some, but mostly kept with my gym routine of dance and indoor cycling. I did some treadmill work, but not much in comparison. I thought I was in pretty good shape. Plus I had only committed to 13.1 miles each day of the walk. I was successful.
Last year when I started “training” about all I was able to accomplish was three miles a week on the treadmill. Along with some yoga, I felt that I was in better shape than the year before. And again, I only committed to 13.1 miles each day. Right now, in August, with five weeks before Event Weekend, I’m walking six miles a week with a little yoga thrown in. Since it’s San Francisco, I’m only going to commit to 13.1 miles each day.
However, the trials of my training schedule, or what appears to be a lack of training, is not what the Avon Walk is all about. It’s about community and fundraising. The money that the Avon Foundation raises at each of these events goes to breast cancer research and helping low-income and uninsured or under-insured women and men get the care they need. Most of the money stays in the communities where the walks take place. The remainder goes to underserved areas across the country and the world. Yes, the world.
When I first received that phone call from Molly, and my heart said “yes,” I knew that I had been called to a purpose. When I get discouraged or feel that I can’t do this (physically) I remember the adage that God does not call the equipped. He equips the called. Many times I have heard myself say, “Well God, you better equip me, because I can’t do this on my own.”
So, I walk in memory of my friend Jan. But I also walk because I am called. I walk for the over 230,000 women and over 2,000 men in the U.S. who will be diagnosed this year. I walk for those battling this disease. I walk so that someday, in my lifetime, there will be a cure.

If you would like to make a donation to my fundraising efforts, you can do so at my personal page.
If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Why I Walk

Many of you know my story because you’ve been here right from the beginning when I launched this blog. You understand my struggles and why I named my blog The Reluctant Survivor. You also know that I walk in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer with a team. But do you know why I walk? I’m guessing that most believe that the reason I walk is because I am a breast cancer survivor. That has become one of the reasons that I now walk. However, it is not how it all started.

I am not an athlete. Even before my diagnosis I was never one to participate in some athletic-type event to raise money for a charity. I was always the one to write a check. I’m happy to support my friends with their endeavors for some very worthy causes. Once I became a survivor I was invited to participate in several events. My answer was always no. I couldn’t do something like that but I was glad to make a donation.

In 2010 a friend and law school colleague died from sarcoma; a soft-tissue cancer that was caused by the radiation treatments for breast cancer that she had received eleven years earlier. Another friend from law school called me with the idea of doing a walk in Jan’s memory. Before the gatekeeper to my mouth was engaged by my brain I heard myself saying “yes.”

During the weeks of planning I shared a little about my own journey and the team decided I should be Team Captain. (It is also not my goal to be a leader with such a focus on myself). Over the past three years we have become a close-knit group, with members from all over the United States. I have learned more about my own diagnosis, as well as about breast cancer and cancer in general. I never really thought about what I was doing except that I feel called to share my story and participate in this walk. That is until recently, when I described walking with the team as my professional hobby.

I am sad to say, I have lost friends to cancer. I have a friend who is battling Stage IV (metastasized) breast cancer. I have become part of a community of breast cancer survivors, both on-line with “strangers” as well as through friends. I did not intend for this to become personal, but my reason for walking has changed slightly. Still, my number one reason for walking is to walk in memory of Jan. But now I also walk for a friend that I lost to breast cancer, and the friends that I will lose. I walk to honor those who have survived. And I walk to celebrate my life.

You see, when I was first diagnosed I did not fully understand what it meant. I have learned the hard and scary truth about triple-negative breast cancer. I now understand that I was given the gift of healing; the gift of life. And I must do something with that life. So I will walk, and I will share my story, and I will be a friend to those in need.

 
This year the team is walking in San Francisco on September 28 &29. If you’d like to make a donation toward my fundraising goal, you can do so here.



If you enjoy my blog and would like to follow me on Facebook, I can be found at The Reluctant Survivor.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Song for Sunday

My friend, Melinda writes the blog Musings. Every Sunday she has a "Song for Sunday." Sometimes it is from her Church service. Sometimes it is a song that has special meaning for her. Sometimes it is a song that has been on her mind or that she really, really likes.

This past Saturday I had the privilege of attending the Joy Gathering at my mother's church. It is a fellowship time for women held the second Saturday of each month. It is for all women, regardless of the church you attend. Women from several area churches were in attendance.

The speaker this month was another friend of mine, Jodi. (Jodi writes the blog This and $2.50). At the beginning of her talk we sang two hymns. One was There's Just Something About That Name. I immediately thought, "This is a great song for Song for Sunday." So, borrowing from my friend Melinda, and being a bit late, I give you A Song for Sunday.