Saturday, October 19, 2013

Giving for Team Kea

Please Donate HERE to support Team Kea and the Cancer Research Institute.

Did you walk outside last night to take a gander at that full Hunter's Moon?  I did.

It's hazy until you put down the camera.

At 8pm every evening, I grab my iPhone and turn on the flashlight app.  I walk to the pond and call for Mama.  She keeps a precise Nighty Night schedule.  She puts the ducks to bed just as the sun sets.  If I take too long in closing the door to their pen, she nudges them back across the pasture, out to the pond to keep them safe from predators until I bumble out into the dark to lead them back to dry safety.

Last night, I walked to the pond to find the reflection of the moon but no birds.  I stumbled across the property to the water fowl pen, keeping my neck craned towards La Bella Luna and forsaking the lame dribble of path lighting from my phone.  I poked my head in to make sure that my babies were cuddled together for the night.  There they were, Mama on her nest and her ducky ladies in waiting surrounding her.  I swung the door to their pen shut and listened for the "click" that signals the latch found its home.

I returned to the house as I'd left it, weaving like a drunk as I kept focus on the moon.  I ran into a tree.  My phone fell out of my hand and the faint stream from the flashlight facing up, illuminating nothing really but it did wake me to the fact that I had my phone at hand.  Which meant I had a camera.  I could take a picture of the moon to gaze upon instead of flirting with a future neck ache.

I took 20 pictures, the lens bringing the moon into sharp focus for a  fleeting millisecond.  I stabbed furiously at the "take a picture dammit" button but never managed to capture the moon in focus.

Which led me to remind myself to be thoughtful, to focus on the beauty in front of me without the filtering it through a smartphone.  To appreciate that I was alive to enjoy it.  Never mind the hacking cough plaguing me from my near collision with walking pneumonia that escaped just as I was enjoying the moonlit silence.  I am on a slow mend, not quickly enough to get permission to run the Marine Marathon next weekend but I'm assured that I will indeed be cured in the near future.  Despite my disappointment in learning that I wouldn't be able to run; throughout the fever, the sore throat, the phlegm, I reminded myself that my sickness was momentary and familiar.  That it could be much worse.  And I kept saying that when my husband asked how I was faring as I gasped for air, fighting through a coughing fit worthy of a TB riddled cave troll.  It could be worse.

I've made it a mantra because I know and love people that have it worse.  That have had it much worse and died.  My mother, when she battled colon cancer, didn't have the luxury of Chloroseptic, high octane Sudafed and an army of wadded tissues to see her through.  She had chemotherapy, radiation and pain.  And even then, there was no one to tell her that these ministrations would see her through to a cure.

I think of my beloved friend Lisa, who faces a diagnosis of Stage IV metastatic breast cancer with an honesty and fierceness that makes me love her more every day.  Despite entering into an experimental trial within the next few weeks, not a single oncologist will tell her that she's on a course towards a cure (read her wonderful blog HERE).  And then there are my high school classmates Kea and Irma who were both missed and mourned at our 25th reunion this past weekend.  We've lost both to breast cancer within the past year.  In honoring them, beautiful pictures of them attending our 20th reunion looking healthy and happy accompanied songs and moving spoken tributes.   It's those damn pictures that gut me.  In 2008, they were seemingly healthy, young, vibrant women.  Five years later they were gone.

So I ask if you saw that moon last night because I think of my mother, Kea and Irma and mourn that they couldn't share the beauty of such a beautiful site with us.  I hold out hope that Lisa will see many more full moons to come.  I rejoice that I still have these moments, where I can crane my neck like a fool and stare in awe at the night sky.  I want thousands more of these moments for all of us and that's why I'm raising money for the Cancer Research Institute.

And even though I can't run the Marine Marathon in honor of Kea and Irma and Lisa and Mom and everyone else who is living with cancer and those who we've lost to cancer, I'm still raising money for my team.  Team Kea.  If you are so inclined, please click HERE to contribute to our effort to raise money for the Cancer Research Institute.  As an added incentive, if you give within the next week, no matter the amount, I'm choosing one person at random from those who make a donation to receive a copy of The Runner's World Cookbook  to which I am a contributor .