Pen…


Here is my 3 Day story…
August 7, 2006, 11:07 pm
Filed under: Breast Cancer 3-Day

Well, I did it….well, most of it anyway!  I got home last night from the 3 day walk, and I wanted to share some of my experience with you.

Day One brought a lot of rain as we walked 22 miles through some lovely towns…in Wellesely, the sky opened up and the wind picked up, but it kept the temperature down, and kept the swelling down in my hands and feet.  The last 2 miles of the day were uphill, and seemed like 200 miles, but I did it.  The reception you get when you arrive back in camp is amazing.  Crew cheers you on, other walkers cheer you on, people driving by cheer you on!  I went to the medical tent to discover 4 blisters on my feet, no doubt created by the fact that my feet were wet all day.  Bandaged them up and off I went to dinner and fast to bed.

Day Two was bright and sunny, and much to my surprise, I could actually stand.  And put one foot in front of the other.  I “repackaged” my feet, and off I went.  The course on the second day was in the woods, up and down rocky hills with uneven footing.  About 7.5 miles in my left knee got VERY angry with me for putting it through this sort of test and decided to give out.  Which really pissed me off.  But I made the decision not to push it that day and take a van back to camp, because it was important to me to be able to finish on Day Three.  Nancy met me at the van, and I started bawling.  Partially because it hurt so badly, and partially because I was mad.  So, back to medical I went to discover 2 additional blisters, and for the sports medicine people to wrap my knee up in pretty pink tape to try to “stablize my patella”.  It certainly was not to my advantage this day that I was born without cartelidge around both my knee caps.  I would start a foundation for people like me, but no one would be able to complete the walks (ba dump dump…here all week folks).

Day Three was bright and sunny.  And with my wrapped up knee, and my wrapped up feet, off I went.  About 18 miles to do this day.  I took it one pit stop at a time.  At pit stop 3 (about 9.5 miles in), I called Dan because I needed a pep talk.  Avery got on the phone and said “Mommy.  Keep walking so you can come home tonight”.  I started bawling like a baby, but it got me to lunch.  I turned on my phone when I got to lunch, and there was a text message from my friend Candi.  We texted back and forth a bit and her encouragement played a big part in me finishing.  I took off from lunch and we walked along the ocean in Quincy.  It was 7.1 miles to the finish, and it was the longest 7.1 miles of my life.  I contemplated taking a van the rest of the way several times.  But then I thought of my mom, and that got me to the next pit stop.  4.1 miles to go.  There were so many people along the way cheering us along-truly amazing.  At 2 miles to go, I was ready to quit.  My knee hurt, I couldn’t feel my feet, and I was pretty sure that my right pinky toe had exploded somehow.  But then I met Paul and Elle.  They found me getting up from a small rest, and saw that I needed help.  Paul is a member of the group Men with Heart (www.menwithheart.org) who are the most wonderful group of men.  He was in a fair amount of pain himself, but the three of us talked about whatever we could to keep our minds occupied until we got to the finish.  Nancy greeted me there, and I cried again.  Paul’s group greeted him, and Elle walked on alone.  I hugged Paul, I found Tom, who was a member of Nancy’s crew and hugged him, and I found these 3 folks that followed us all 3 days over the walk and hugged them too.  And then there was Bob.  He was the guy that stood at the end every day and hugged every single person that came through.  Amazing.  I am crying right now thinking about it.  We were held in the Boston Expo Center until all the walkers came in-it was cool in there, and I was happy to get my shoes off.  I found 2 more blisters (one that actually doubled the size of my left big toe.  Ewwww), Nancy helped me wrap them up so I could walk through Closing Ceremonies, she got me several bags of animal crackers and some Gatorade and then I went to cheer the rest of the people coming in.  You have never heard anything like 1700 some odd people cheering at the top of their lungs for complete strangers.  The last walker arrived to deafening cheers, and then we lined up for Closing Ceremonies.   Oh yeah…the deafening sounds of the cheering crowd inside the Expo center?  Nothing compared to the silence when the survivors that walked came in.   I cannot imagine what they have gone through in their lives, and I am in complete awe of them.  I met several of them along the way and I was humbled to be in their company.

The 1750 walkers raised 4.6 million dollars in the Boston 3-Day.  4.6 million dollars.  85% goes directly to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and 15% goes to the National Philanthropic Trust-a small 12 person organization who is a main partner of the Komen Foundation that is in existance to give money away.  Nice work if you can get it, huh?

So now I am home.  In bed right now with my legs elevated to reduce swelling!  Back to the real world.  But I am not the same person.  I don’t mean the blisters or the busted knee (although I had no idea that one person could actually have this many blisters!); my brain has changed.  I have witnessed 3 days of good.  All good.  There were some very sad instances-people that really hurt themselves, pushed themselves too hard and paid for it- but they all did it for a good reason.  And I am going to do what I can to keep that feeling going in my everyday life.

Thank you to all of you that have supported me.  Thank you to Dan, Jack and Avery, who let me train, and let me leave for 4 days.  Thank you to John, for dinner the night before ( I love an excuse to carb load!!).  Thank you to Jackie for being there for me as I set off on my journey, and thanks to Nancy for being there to welcome me home from that journey.  Thanks to the people I met along the way that touched my life in some way…Tom and Bob and Paul and Elle and Kathy and Nicole and the nice lady from Wild Women, and Julie and Chris on bike patrol who convinced me to get in a van on Saturday and save my knee, and the people in the medical tent that put me back together, and also taught me to do it myself!  I can wrap a blister with the best of them! 

I have already signed up to participate in 2007.  I think I am going to work on the crew.  Nancy and I want to drive a van.  🙂  I love you all.

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I told you before but I’ll tell you again…I am so very proud of you! You did an awesome job sister! I love you…

Comment by Nancy

I second that emotion… You ‘done good’ sister-friend.

Love, Jackie

Comment by Jackie

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends–
It gives a lovely light!
Edna St. Vincent Millay
I always knew that you were going to make it. Incredible women accomplish incredible things…way to go Pen…

Comment by Nancy pants...




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