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03 July 2008 @ 05:56 am
It's been awesome.  I started this journal in April 2004.  Through this journal, I've shared a million of my smiles, funny stories, fears, tears, ramblings, and rants.  It's seen a the end of one relationship, the dawning of a new love, a cancer diagnosis,  a declaration of remission, a presidential election, a march for women's lives, death of two friends, knitted sweaters, three household moves, lots of climbing trips, stories of near misses on my morning commute, and lots of hate for Rick Santorum.  I made so many friends here.  Friends who became real life... and real life friends who have tuned in.  It's been a great experiment.  It's been a fantastic journey for me. 

But things have changed slightly.  I'm not as comfortable  sharing every detail of my life on the world wide web as I used to be.  I've aired out all that I'm willing to share.  It's time to move on. 

I may still post from time to time as lj friends only or I may turn up somewhere you least expect because you are my friends and I need you. 

But for now, it is time for me to concentrate on real life world.  I love you all and will miss you terribly... but I'll still be reading and keeping my eye on you.


I guess I'll close with an ani  difranco  lyric.
sitting in my glasshouse
while your ghost is sleeping down the hall
watching the little birds fly
kamikaze missions into the walls
think i'm gonna stay in today
sit on my couch and watch them fall

life just keeps getting harder
keeps getting harder to hide
darker it is around me
easier it is to see inside
and outside the glass
the whole world is magnified
and it's half an inch
from here to the other side

guess that push has come to this
so i guess this must be shove
but before you throw those stones at me
tell me what's your house made of
if you think you know what i'm doing wrong
you're going to have to get in line
for the purposes of this song
lets just say i'm doing fine
sure, i'm doing fine

trapped in my glasshouse
crowd has been gathering since dawn
make a pot of coffee
while catastrophe awaits me out on the lawn
think i'm going to stay in today
pretend like i don't know what's going on

i guess that push has come to this
so i guess this must be shove
but before you throw those stones at me
tell me what's your house made of
and before you'll know what i'm doing wrong
you're going to have to get in line
so for the purposes of this song
lets just say i'm doing fine
sure, i'm doing fine

sitting in my glass house
sitting in my glass house
14 June 2008 @ 08:33 pm
I nailed it.

And now I'm fucking exhausted.

There were only about 100 people in my tent... but my voice was on speakers through the whole stadium.  A bunch of people talked to me afterwards... but fortunately not for too long because the storm started coming.  The video camera broke so no video.  But I nailed it.  I was comfortable and relaxed.  I didn't freak out when I heard my voice echoing echoing echoing through the whole stadium.  I'm pretty sure I made sense too.  Regardless it's over and I get to relax now with a cup of orange spice tea.  (I already had two beers.)

ps.. preparation paid off.
11 April 2008 @ 02:19 pm
I'm home today...

And I just want to say...


So... turns out that the antibiotics take a few days to start working.  And when it comes to pain management I'm pretty fucking stupid sometimes.
"would you like a prescription for percocet or something like that?"
"nah... I'll be ok"
"you just almost threw up from the pain, and you said the alieve did nothing, you should probably take a percocet"
"ok, just give me two... I don't need a prescription though"

What kind of an asshole am I?????

I took the first one thinking it would last all night.  I felt great.  Until I woke up at 2am screaming in pain.  I took the second one.  It worked for about two hours.  After that, I was in agony.  Simple things like putting a pony tail in, hurt like hell.

Fortunately, Elk got attacked by a cat last year and was given a whole prescription... and they are still good.  I feel fine again.

The swelling is still there.  It is bad, it is really bad.  I'm so glad I went to the ER when I did.  I bet it would have gotten much much worse had I not.  The good news is, I'll get better.  Thank goodness I'm not diabetic or something like that.

I wonder if I got this from the rock gym.  I've read articles about this shit happening to people if they have small cuts.  There are just so many germs on the walls. 

who cares... I love percocet!
16 February 2008 @ 11:22 am

That's right.  I achieved my goal.  I beat last years time, not by 20 seconds but by something like 45 seconds.  When they called my name for second place OVERALL, I was absolutely shocked.  SHOCKED.  My time was 9:25, I was only 5 seconds behind first place!

Last night my brother called and said he wasn't going to do the climb.  He was sick.  This is NOT the kind of thing you want to do when you have a cold.  It makes your lungs BURN.  He must of changed his mind because this morning he got to the house for waffles around 7:30.  Yes, Elk and Jeff ate waffles right before running up 100 flights of stairs.  I ate my oatmeal and green tea at 6:45 and abstained from food after that.  I really don't like puking, had I eaten the waffles I would have been calling for ralph on floor 10.

When we arrived to the event it was already starting.  I was cranky, I wanted to get there early enough to stretch.  Fortunately, they had a staggered start time so we were able to stretch and warm up.  Of course, warming up is futile as they have runners line up outside before you start.  It was freezing.

Here are some warm up photos.

I was the first of the three of us to go.  I went hard.  I ran two steps at a time.  By the fifth floor I regretted approach.  By the tenth floor Elk and Jeff passed me.  I stayed just behind Jeff until I passed him on floor 20 when he accepted some water.  He stayed right behind me for a little while as I did one step at a time.  He was really sick, I am in awe that he finished.  I alternated between two steps and one step.  It was hard.  After floor 25, I stopped looking at the floor numbers.  The sound of my own breathing amazed me.  All you could hear throughout the stairwell was labored breathing.  Another woman and I took turns leading.  I passed her, then slowed down.  I cheered her on when she passed me.  I admired her skinny skinny long legs as I stayed with her.  Then I passed her.  When I hit floor 40, I tried really hard to go hard the rest of the way, but I slowed down again.  It seemed harder than last year.  I thought of the ten pounds I put on over the year and cursed its effects.  I worried I wasn't achieving my goal.  On floor 48, I gunned it.  The pain I felt was unbelievable.  I thought of Liz Dols, I thought of Tom Beckett, I thought of my lungs burning up.

When I got to the top, I heard elk cheering for me.  I couldn't really see, my vision was blurred and I started coughing uncontrollably.  He hugged me.  I pushed him off and sat down on the cold marble floor.  I started to cry a little.  He told me to get up and walk.  I listened, he has a ton of experience at this stuff.  I walked myself right over to a garbage can and started spitting into it and dry heaving.  Not only is climbing up 50 flights of stairs hard, but stairwells aren't exactly known for stellar air quality.  Everywhere I looked people were hacking and coughing.  Elk says when you puke after a race you know you went your hardest.  I didn't actually puke... so that means I've got room to improve next year.

Here are some photos of us at the top of the Tower.

I love that the shirt says February 16th.  February 16th is an important date for me.  Three years ago today I was diagnosed with cancer.  I like to celebrate the day, I call it "Life Day."  It is life day because had I never been diagnosed, the doctors never could have treated me and I would not be alive.  Though three years ago was truly a devastating day, I refuse to think of the anniversary as anything other than a gift.  I'm alive and that is reason to celebrate!  I am as lucky as luck comes.

My brother informed us it was also an important day for him.  Three years ago today Jeff got his Indy Fab bike frame delivered.  We laughed and kept it light and fun.

I came in 2nd overall.  I discovered that the climb hurt so much more this year not because I gained ten pounds (which was really only about 6lbs but I'm being dramatic by saying it's 10).  It hurt this year because I increased my time by like 40 seconds.  Last year I came in 6th overall, this year I came in second.  Elk came in 7th over all and first in his age group.  Podium finishes for both of us.  High fives!  I called Juergan to thank him for the Cross Fit work outs!  I called my mom!  I called my dad!  I celebrated with the taxi driver!  Loda is so happy too, she loves her new necklace!

It was a lot of fun in a weird painful kind of way. 

Next year's goal... to beat my time... and maybe to run it twice.  But before I worry about next year, I've got a duathlon to train for.  5K run, 10 mile ride, 5K run... all in the woods.  That is going to be crazy hard for me to do.  I haven't been on the mountain bike since September.  Holy shit.
05 May 2007 @ 09:28 pm
I just got back from NYC.  I had the most amazing day ever.  I sold some stickers.  There were 40,000 people there supporting women's cancers.

I met up with Tanya!!!!  I guess I had mentioned on her blog that I might show up selling stickers.  She was walking with her family and saw me selling stickers.  They walked past me and when her husband said, I'm going to ask.  This man came up to me and said... "are you with blog for a cure?"  I was confused and said, "no, I'm with HERA women's cancer foundation".  His eyes lit up and said "Do you know Samantha L0ckw00d?"  now I was really confused... "I'm Samantha L0ckw00d!!"  He said "I'm Irvin!!!"  I knew exactly who he was.  I hugged him and said... "where is she?"  I grabbed Tanya and hugged her until I was teary eyed. 

I was so happy to meet her in person.  I'd been following her story on blog for a cure since she was diagnosed.  She is one of the strongest people I've ever met.  Ever. 
We got to go into the special "survivor tent".  They had an arts and crafts table where we got to play with glitter and gem stones.

After crafts we went to chill in the sun.  From there we watched survivors get on stage and introduce themselves.  There were LOTS of ovarian cancer survivors, which was very cool.  You don't see that many of us around.  Most of us die. 

I got up and walked around to sell more stickers.  I was so happy to have someone who was willing to watch my bags.  Yes, I just met these people.  Yes, I left everything I owned with there.  I knew to go with my gut.  My gut said- these are good people.  While we were doing arts and crafts Tanya invited me to go for beers afterwards.  YES!  and while we were in the grass Tanya's mom's friend started complaining about GWB.  YES!

As I walked around I tried to tune out the women and men survivors who were on stage.  I knew they'd make me cry.  I didn't want to cry.  I decided to distract myself by calling elk and to leave him a msg.  As the phone was ringing I heard this.  "I'm a seven year ovarian cancer survivor and I'm five months pregnant!"  then I heard the roar of the crowd.  The emotions of the day all came to a head at that point and I started sobbing just as elk's voice mail picked up.  I don't even know what I said.

Being that I like to cry in private (and then post the details of the tears and sadness on the world wide web, go figure...) I made sure to calm myself down before I rejoined Tanya and her family.  I know, it is strange...

When I joined them, Tanya's mom was encouraging us to get on stage.  We were like, 'nah... we don't need to do that"  Tanya mentioned that she only had stage 1 so she didn't want to go up... I didn't understand this.  She's earned never ending applause.  I watched Tanya's mom try to convince her and realized that we needed to go up so that Tanya's mom could give her some applause.  Or at least that is how I imagined it.  I just met these people and don't want to assume I know what they needed.  What I did know is that some of those survivors needed stickers that said "fuck cancer".  So we went up.  We were the last ones on stage... which meant we were in the front row for all of the photographers.  Yeah, I love having my picture taken so it was fine by me.  Here are some of the photos that Irvin took while we were on stage.

After this, we were off to find a bar.  I LOVE THESE PEOPLE!

While we were walking I hung back with Tanya's mom's two best friends.  They had the most fabulous earrings.
Tanya's mom and her friends are the kinds of women I want to be when I grow up.  Absolutely fantastic people.
Here are some pictures from the bar.

This is Tanya and her mom. 

These are the ladies with the awesome earrings.

I wish I had the words to describe how awesome and fantastic these women as well as Tanya's sister, best friend and husband are.  I don't.  I'm so glad they let me hang with them today.  It was fantastic!

I've never seen NYC look so beautiful.  I'm so lucky to have met these people.
16 February 2007 @ 08:42 am
You have cancer.

Two years ago today I went in for a routine surgery.  I was to have a large ovarian cyst removed.  I was encouraged to have a gyn-oncologist remove my cyst.  I decided it was a good idea.  I was 30 years old and very concerned about waking up with more removed than the cyst.  I wanted to keep all of my girl parts.  The decision to go to a gyn-oncologist probably saved my life and my other girl parts.  When I called the original doctor and told him I had cancer, he said "that is impossible, you are only 30."  yeah.

I woke up high as a kite on morphine.  My father was there.  Elk was there.  Someone told me they removed my ovary and fallopian tube and 'some other stuff'.  I started screaming at them.  "THEY STOLE MY OVARY!  I'M HALF A WOMAN!!"  My mother and father looked at me funny.  I continued to scream.  At one point I had a cell phone.  I started calling people.  THEY STOLE MY OVARY!  I TOLD THEM NOT TO!  To this day... I don't know who I called.  My mother told me they had to because "it looked funny". 

The next day, three doctors came in and told me the news.  It was confusing.  Bottom line.  I had cancer.

Today is an emotional day for me. 

I think about my life before and after that day.  2.16.05  I am a different person.

This day, I want to celebrate it.  If I never got diagnosed on this day or shortly after, I'd likely be dead.  It is almost like a 'life day' rather than a 'birthday'.  I am so incredibly lucky to be alive.  I've had lots of obstacles in my 32 years.  Cancer was probably the most life altering. 

2.16.07 - Today.  This is an important day.  Today I'm at the two year mark.  This is a huge milestone as far as the chances of recurrence go.  Supposedly, since I'm made two years... I'm going to make it.  Two years is very good.  Five years is better... but two years is very good.

I am so lucky.

The past two years have been so full.  I'm in a wonderful relationship.  My body is stronger than it ever has been.  I've summited in so many ways.  I've learned so much about what is important.  I've learned perspective.  I've calmed down.  I'm less crazy.  I can do anything, and I will.  There is more to come.  I am so lucky.

I think about those who are not so lucky.  My dear friend Tom.  I miss him.  Jess's mom.  Jess was too young when she lost her.  Keith's dad.  Ruth's husband.  Amy's dad.  Barb's mom.  Al's parents.  My heart aches for all of them. 

I think about those who are still fighting.  Tanya.  Gemma.  Liz.  I've never met them but I cheer them on every day.

I think about those who, like me are also so lucky.  The ever inspiring Sean Patrick who founded the HERA Foundation.   Frank.  Greg's mom. 

When I was sick, I made a vow to myself.  If I was lucky enough to live, I'd dedicate myself to raising Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Research dollars.

This is my official kick off for 2007. 
Do something excellent and donate here
Become part of the magic and join the team.

Here is a photo that I look at when I want to look back at my accomplishments post diagnosis.  The photo is just me... but I know I accomplish nothing without the support of so many friends and family.  We all summit.
20 November 2006 @ 06:11 pm
I picked up my phone to call to see if it was a good time to visit.
I had a missed call.

Tom died this morning.

I'm trying to stop crying long enough to call and express my condolences to his wife Pat. 

I feel the urge to stay home from work to make meat balls for them or something. 

Fuck.  I can't stop crying. 

This is the flyer from last year when we had our show together.