We interrupt our regularly scheduled narcissism…

… to bring you something completely different.

I’d like to introduce y’all to my friend Julie. I’ve known Julie for… hmmm. About 9 years, I’d say. We met on an infertility support board before there were resources like that on every internet street corner, like there are now. Back then, there weren’t a lot of places like that to hang out. We were a small, fairly tight-knit group, and although I joke about my friends inside the shiny box, Julie has truly become one of my dearest friends over the years. Friendships born in times of adversity are all the sweeter when life gets better, and that much stronger when times get tough again.

Julie’s son is just a few months younger than Chickadee, and has an affinity for vacuuming in the nude. (I know this because I’ve seen pictures.) Somewhere on Julie’s harddrive is a picture of the time Chickadee unrolled the entire roll of toilet paper while she was sitting on the pot, and then while she struggled to decide what to do with that enormous wad of paper, her butt fell in the toilet. (That’s a good blackmail picture, too.)

This summer Julie was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I’m still angry.

I’m angry because she doesn’t deserve this. I’m angry because it’s not fair; because she has enough to deal with; because her son deserves a mother who is healthy; because after all she fought through to get to him, she deserves to enjoy him without worry. I’m angry because chemotherapy is poison. I’m angry because I (gently) made fun of her very 80’s hairdo for a looooong time and she’d finally cut her hair short and sassy and modern and gorgeous, and then it all fell out. I’m angry because I live too far away and there’s too little I can do. I’m angry because when she found the lump and was scared I told her that it was probably nothing and she should try to enjoy her weekend.

I’m angry because she’s my age. I’m angry because it could just as easily be me. I’m angry because more and more young women I know have had to face this. I’m angry because when this happened I panicked, because the phrase “it’s probably nothing” will haunt me for a long, long time.

I’m tired of being angry. I’m tired of feeling helpless.

A few weeks ago, I saw a commercial for this on television. I spent some time thinking about whether I could possibly manage such a thing. I’m not in very good shape. I spend most of each day sitting at a desk. I don’t particularly enjoy exercising. My idea of a workout is digging into the back of the freezer for more ice cream.

After about a week, I asked a friend of mine if she might want to consider doing the 3-Day with me. We talked about what it would entail; we downloaded the sample training program from the website and tried to calculate how many hours we’d have to spend working out to get ready. We spent some time talking about whether or not we could each afford the $90 registration fee and whether we thought we could each raise the minimum $2,200 to participate.

We were still undecided when I had my own little breast adventure about a week later, and the first thing I did after I saw the doctor was come home and register for the walk.

Why? I don’t believe in a God who micromanages, but I do believe in messages and sometimes little nudges arriving in interesting ways. I think I was being nudged.

So that’s the background. Here are the particulars: This August, I will be walking 60 miles over 3 days to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I’m doing this in Julie’s honor, but really I’m doing it for all of us. I’m doing it because I can. I’m doing it because breast cancer sucks. And because I don’t want to sit around being angry and doing nothing.

Over the next 6 months or so I will periodically update on my training and fundraising progress. As I mentioned, to participate a walker has to commit to raising at least $2,200. I’ve set my fundraising goal at $5,000 because I’m a little bit nuts and also because this really matters. I cannot tell you how exhilarating it was to raise over $500 in less than a week. What a wonderful confirmation that I made the right choice.

If you feel moved to donate, you can visit my secure page on the 3-Day site and do it right online, there. If you’d rather not do it online, there’s a form you can print out. IF YOU WORK FOR A COMPANY THAT DOES MATCHING CHARITABLE DONATIONS, please please PLEASE consider donating even just a few dollars and then having your company match it (as your dollars will go twice as far).

I’m doing what I can do. And TRUST ME, I will be doing it kicking and screaming all the way. (I have already called up my walk buddy twice this past week to say, “Wait now… what? I signed up to do WHAT?”) But for me, it feels right. And I hope that some of you–more of my friends inside the shiny box–will help, too. I thank you. Julie thanks you. And your daughters and sisters and mothers thank you.

I think it’s going to be an amazing journey.

39 Responses to “We interrupt our regularly scheduled narcissism…”

  1. 1
    Sheryl January 22, 2006 at 9:21 pm #

    Good for you. Special kudos since you don’t even want to do it, now that’s some tenacity I can get behind. I will put up a permanent link on my side bar for you, and will put some $ in the kitty too..

  2. 2
    Nothing But Bonfires January 22, 2006 at 10:04 pm #

    Amazing! I willl link to you and plug you as much as I can. As soon as I stop crying. Seriously.

  3. 3
    Sharkey January 22, 2006 at 10:18 pm #

    Yay, Mir! I was diagnosed four years ago (at age 32), and even I can’t bring myself to make the 60-mile commitment. Good for you!

    I predict you’ll have no trouble reaching your $5K goal, probably before the end of the month. I’ll definitely be throwing some money in the pot.

  4. 4
    z. January 22, 2006 at 10:29 pm #

    What you are doing is great. Maybe you are interested in reading this:
    http://www.hannahbeth.com/blog/archiveswc/2005_09_01_archive.htm#112808690623779874

    I cry every single time I read that story. And I know you will have an amazing experience too.

  5. 5
    Nothing But Bonfires January 22, 2006 at 10:50 pm #

    Okay, done.

  6. 6
    margalit January 23, 2006 at 12:02 am #

    You did it again. You made me cry. I’m SO PROUD of you. My closest friend was just diagnosed with breast cancer. She had her first chemo a couple of weeks ago, and the next one is coming up next week. She’s got at least a year of chemo. She’s already had surgery, and then radiation that will follow the chemo. Her hair is gone, and she’s feeling pretty lousy.

    But the kicker is, her husband is dying of stage 4 colon cancer and they have a VERY emotionally disturbed 15 year old son who is autistic. Can you even imagine anything worse? It’s like God is rampaging against her family and it makes me so angry I could just scream. In fact I have, many many times.

    I’m disabled, and there is no way I could do the walk but every time I see that commercial I think how much I’d like to. So will you walk for Iris as well as Julie? And for all the other women who don’t have anyone to walk for them? I’ll definately donate soon. And huge huge hugs to you for doing this. You are my hero.

  7. 7
    Gretchen January 23, 2006 at 2:06 am #

    Hi! First time here, but I see from your blogroll we have people in common — screw Kevin Bacon and that six degrees stuff. I am sad and angry for Julie and for you, and will completely throw my support behind you. Ask Coleen over at Hussified — she fights the good fight like you do.

  8. 8
    Lisa January 23, 2006 at 8:20 am #

    Yea for Mir! Strange thing, I have been feel driven to sign up too! There has been this little spark pushing me to do it! My biggest setback is the $90 registration fee right now, but as soon as that is taken care of, I’ll be joining you! Well, I’ll be walking in Nov.

    I know one person, an aunt by marriage, who has been affected by breast cancer. But I fear that this will change some day soon.

  9. 9
    Angela January 23, 2006 at 8:51 am #

    God Bless YOU, dearest Mir. I will surely donate just as soon as the paycheck hits the account. I did the walk back 2002, back when I was fairly fit and before Nathan came along and I, apparently, said “To hell with staying in shape…let’s eat everything that moves!!” It is an amazing experience, and it is SO helpful to be a part of a good training program to get you ready. About mid-day of day two, for a couple of hours, you will want to kill everyone who speaks to you….but trust me, it passes….and when you finish, your heart swells within your chest in such a way that you will be the grand envy of romance novel heroines everywhere.

    And now, I’m pissed at myself ….and I think you may have just kick started my desire to do it again in 07.

  10. 10
    Victoria January 23, 2006 at 9:30 am #

    Hey there!
    Delurking to say: WOW! What a story. How amazingly wonderful of you. I believe God’s little nudges certainly do arrive in interesting ways. I donated and I hope you don’t mind if I link back to this entry on my site to make sure the message gets out there. I so believe in your cause. Good Luck! May you reach your goal within weeks and may the 3 Days be an adventure like no other.
    Peace,
    Victoria

  11. 11
    Amalah January 23, 2006 at 9:40 am #

    August will be the one-year anniversary of when my mom kicked breast cancer’s ass.

    Thank you for doing this and for giving us all our own kick in the ass to help out.

  12. 12
    Cathy January 23, 2006 at 9:45 am #

    Mir, I wish I could donate more than I did. I’ll hopefully be able to contribute a little bit more before August. Every dollar helps.

    I really respect your dedication to a cause you believe in. It is nice to see someone trying to help change the world in their own way.

    The best of luck to you, and your friend Julie as well.

  13. 13
    Aimee January 23, 2006 at 10:25 am #

    What a great thing you’re doing, Mir. I’ll donate later this week, and now you’ve got me thinking about doing the San Diego walk in November.

  14. 14
    dad January 23, 2006 at 11:02 am #

    I’m kvelling here.

  15. 16
    Stephanie January 23, 2006 at 12:26 pm #

    Looks like you’ve almost already met the minimum. I admire your courage and dedication. I’ll be rooting for you!

  16. 17
    Cele January 23, 2006 at 12:27 pm #

    sorry it didn’t post the link the first time. So much for my html skills…

    http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects/CTDSites

    please click often it doesn’t cost you anything.

  17. 18
    Cathy January 23, 2006 at 1:07 pm #

    Wow! When I first read this entry a few hours ago, the donations added up to $800ish dollars… now it is already more than $2000! Way to go!

  18. 19
    alyson January 23, 2006 at 1:40 pm #

    I came to laugh and instead I cried. Good for you.

  19. 20
    AuntieRob January 23, 2006 at 1:51 pm #

    Blessings to and prayers for your friend Julie. I lost my oldest niece to breast cancer. She fought as hard a a person could, chemo, radiation, mastectomy, and a repeat course when it came back. It ultimately sent tumors to her brain. No peaceful into that dark night for her, kicking, screaming and swearing all the way. I was very angry also, angry that she was so young, angry that she had two children to care for, angry that her mother (my sister) is a drug addict she abuses her body on a daily basis and has done so for years, yet her health is fine. Cathi fought to get out of that hellish life with her mother and became a wonderful woman with two wonderful children of her own and yet she lost her life. It is all so unfair. Everytime I read another story about how this insidious disease has struck again, the anger flairs up. I don’t think I will ever stop being angry. I am proud of your commitment to walk, I too signed up to walk this year. Hug your children and peace to you.
    Robin Young

  20. 21
    Liz January 23, 2006 at 2:36 pm #

    Good for you! Done.

  21. 22
    Dawn January 23, 2006 at 3:18 pm #

    Mir,
    Read about you on Chookoloonks. Here’s wishing the very best for Julie. It was my pleasure to support this very worthy cause. Thanks for stepping up (literally).
    Dawn

  22. 23
    liz January 23, 2006 at 3:21 pm #

    Yay for you! I walked the 3-Day in Chicago in September and it was an awesome, life-changing event. If I can do it, you can do it. I started training and fundraising in June and raised almost $15,000. My motto was “From zero to 60 in one summer” because I had not been exercising at all. I walked for my best friend, Kristie, who was diagnosed in May. She’s done with her treatment and doing great now. You can look at my pictures if you want at http://www.pbase.com/lizbrunson/breast_cancer_3day_2005 and e-mail me if you need any advice.

    “No bikes, no scooters,
    we’re walking for your hooters!”

  23. 24
    Maria January 23, 2006 at 3:56 pm #

    Best of luck on the walk and best of luck to your friend. My brother’s wife has stage 4 breast cancer. 2 1/2 yrs ago she found a lump and couldn’t get a dr. to prescribe a mammogram b/c she “didn’t fit the risk factors” – She too went through infertility and has 3 children now 6 and under thanks to invitro. I cannot tell you how unfair it is. I too live 1,000 miles away (they used to live here and moved back to be near my family – I miss them lots) and feel helpless. I feel for her, but mostly I feel for my brother who I hope is equipped to raise his beautiful children alone if it comes to that and I know the world already misses her obnoxious laugh that just doesn’t come as readily as it used to. She is full of energy and determination.

    Sorry – this is about your friend not mine. Good luck with the walk. You write wonderfully.

  24. 25
    mo January 23, 2006 at 3:58 pm #

    Delurking here. Been reading for a couple of days and have laughed so hard I cried. Now I cried so much I had to laugh. Julie is very lucky to have you in her life.
    p.s. – potato peelings inside your bra work great at drawing an infection out. Seriously.

  25. 26
    distel January 23, 2006 at 4:12 pm #

    This is SO shitty! Hy, I’m here beause natertatersmom told me about it… I wish I could help, as my mom has got cancer as well, but the blood cancer and a very unknown form of it as well. I could have screamed as well!!!

    I wish I could donate something, but I just don’t have the money. I’m still in school and such stuff. But if there is any other way I can help you and Julie, just ask! I’d do everything!

    *damn cancer*

    love and lotÄs of luck

    distel

  26. 27
    Nancy January 23, 2006 at 6:54 pm #

    Good for you! I’ve done the three-day twice with my mom-in-law (a three-time breast cancer survivor). It was really life-changing to be part of such an amazing group of women (and men) and hear the stories and photos inspiring each person’s decision to walk. And the volunteers are totally stupendous.

    I’m a cynic by nature (the one saying some smart-ass comment under my breath there in the back), but almost losing my MIL made me pretty earnest about this fight. Kudos to you, best wishes to Julie and happy walking!

  27. 28
    Cyndi January 23, 2006 at 8:39 pm #

    I blogged about you, and this. I heart you, Mir. You may have a ‘hapless boob’, but you got guts and spunk.

    You got me thinking about San Diego, too. Just thinking, so far. But that’s November, so I will send my two readers over here to pledge for your walk. And of course, I will too.

    Can’t wait to read about all this coming up…it’s gonna be classic Mir. *rubbing my chubby hands together with glee* Yay!

  28. 29
    Lin January 23, 2006 at 8:40 pm #

    A perfect way to fight for your friend. I well know that the support of friends makes the work of beating cancer that much easier. Without my friends and their constant help, chemotherapy and the resultant emotional toll would have been so much harder for me. Family and friends…a winning combination.

    Train hard and stay healthy.
    (Dotty Nana, aka Lin)

  29. 30
    mamaPajama January 23, 2006 at 8:54 pm #

    Yes, put some link on your site so we can be reminded when we have more cash. I’ll be there next week to contribute.

  30. 31
    moxiemomma January 23, 2006 at 8:59 pm #

    normally a lurker, but now i want to say YAY for you!! i’m doing the avon two-day walk and wish i had known about the three-day walk before i signed up for the two-day. i’ll put julie’s name on my t-shirt too. you’ll have no trouble raising the dough–i was afraid of the $1,800 for the avon walk but i’m already over $1,200 in just over a week. the whole thing is incredibly inspiring. there’s just something so tangible in walking and walking and walking for an important cause like breast cancer. best of luck!

  31. 32
    Bob January 23, 2006 at 10:41 pm #

    This morning I read your post, and this afternoon I learned that my aunt lost her battle with breast cancer today. my mom had a lump removed from her breast last fall that turned out to be cancer. she finished radiation therapy just before christmas. I am in your debt for what you are doing. I tried to pay a portion of that debt by making a donation in support of your walk.

    thank you.

  32. 33
    Heather January 24, 2006 at 11:48 am #

    It is wonderful that you are doing this. I participate in the Relay for life for the American Cancer Society every year. My mother’s work does it as a group and we all take donations and walk. It is a 24 hour walk (it use to be 48 hours) and someone from your team needs to be on the track at all times. It is something that both my mom and I enjoy doing together and feel good about doing. Last year our team raised almost $20,000. We hope to up that this year. It is such an important cause. I have lost someone very close to me from cancer and my aunt is very sick right now with cancer throughout her body. Thanks for joining the team to help with the fight against cancer!!!

  33. 34
    Bonita January 24, 2006 at 2:21 pm #

    Just had to share this friendship poem.

    Friends
    by L. Crocker

    We’re friends
    You and I
    We share
    Secrets
    Feelings
    Wants
    Needs
    Hurts
    Pain
    We’re friends
    You and I
    We love
    Cry
    Laugh
    Smile
    Need
    Care
    We’re friends
    You and I
    I’m here
    When you need me
    We’re friends.

    Hang tough!

  34. 35
    Meramoo January 24, 2006 at 4:19 pm #

    I put in a plug for you on my page, too. Hopefully some people will bite.

  35. 36
    The Cake Lady January 25, 2006 at 11:00 am #

    What a wonderful thing to decide to do. It truly is unselfish and is something for ALL of us! Who says one person can’t make a difference? Good luck!

  36. 37
    Heather January 25, 2006 at 2:54 pm #

    That is FABULOUS, Mir (that you are doing the 30Day, not the whole breast cancer thing as a whole. *cheers*

  37. 38
    Mary January 30, 2006 at 5:25 pm #

    What a fabulous way to support your friend. Good luck. P.S. You have Miss Jenn S. to thank for getting me over here.

  38. 39
    Coleen February 7, 2006 at 10:16 am #

    My heart just stopped when I read Z’s post – that link was to my story. The 3Day was the single best thing I have done with my life thus far, and I cannot wait to start training this year so I can do it again. This year, I will be better, faster, more determined than before. And I will be thinking of you as I walk. Feel free to email me anytime – I’m planning to start a 3Day Blogger loop, and I can add you in if you like.

    I am so proud of and excited for you that I could spit.

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