Well we tried our best to start out the morning early but things just happen each time to delay me further. My intestines started to go beserk and the painful anal spasms which were accompanied with the severe vomiting started at about 8:30am (the time we wanted to leave). I was literally grabbing keys, packing the car and then having to spend 1/2 an hour on the Sitz bath dealing with the pain. Poor Amanda was frustrated but patient; she understood my pains and having to deal with them. We finally got to leave at 9:20am (Survivor breakfast 8:30 - 9:45am). We barely made it for the breakfast and it was pretty challenging to find good parking; but we did it!
Some friends of mine whom I haven't seen in up to a year (they just had a baby 3 months ago) arrived with their little survivor "Franchesca". We honestly didn't know if Franchesca would make it through her ordeal being diagnosed at just 1 year old. She went through several surgeries, chemotherapies, and even radiation. She fought hard for 2 years and is now cancer free at 4 years old and she was also the youngest survivor in the whole survivor lap. Here she is getting ready to do the survivor lap (the littlest one) of which her and Amanda held hands during the whole lap; it was very cute to see. I couldn't get good photos from behind and having to move but I did get a few during the survivor lap. Me and Blue Belle were in the middle of the whole crowd of survivors walking. What a beautiful smile this little girl has and so much spirit and inspiration.
She thoroughly enjoyed Blue Belle's presence and it seemed Miss Blue Belle was much more popular than myself just hearing her name being called at various times during the event. I would hear "Look there's Blue Belle!", or "Blue Belle!", and few other references. It was so cool! She would hear her name too and with her ears back, she would turn around to look at who called her name and it was mostly people my husband knew from the neighborhood; and who forgets a face like this?
We were sitting inside of our tent for the "Caped Cure-Saders" where I dropped off my boxes of love. I had put together 3 boxes of spa products that I had left over from dissolving my business a month ago. It seemed perfect in order raise money for this important cause.
My honey arrived a little after 11:30am well after the survivor lap but we at least got to go around the track a few times holding hands and to check out all of the other booths; some even had touching photos of those who had already passed but in all it was evident that this horrible disease has touched so many lives.
We had a good time just walking around checking out all the booths and Amanda even got to decorate a luminary just for me! I got a photo of her with it further down in this very post. Yes, I took tons of photos and will be putting them all into a video with a special song for my family to show that I got to go and to be a part of this special event. I hope next year I can post the video prior to next year's event. I'm so glad that the American Cancer Society does this all over the world; because it is special.
I even got to speak with several survivors as we walked around together. Amanda had to check out all of the displays where candy and toys were involved. Sometimes it took a little bit to find Amanda (I had a few stressful moments) but we all (my husband, me, and Amanda) did have a nice lunch together as we watched so many colorful people round the track including this cool lady in her pink gear. There were so many colorful personalities out on that track. I had a few in wheelchairs stop me to love on Blue Belle. She sort of just provided her own pet therapy to anyone who needed it. It just seemed that way from all the smiles we got from her just being with us!) It was also nice to just have Blue Belle on the track with us during the day as she got her exercise (she needed it!). Oh the smiles she brought!
Here is a photo of me writing "Why I Relay." I want there to be a cure one day and for less people to suffer as I have. Perhaps a combination of all of my experiences can help inspire others to keep on fighting this disease and never give up hope. Life has been fully and totally worth all that I gone through but it would be cool if life were a lot easier and I didn't have so many pains and / or suffering or that I didn't have to keep on with chemo for the rest of my life.
When someone hears the words "You have Cancer", I can't even begin to imagine how much their changes right there at that moment. It would be nice to have a cure so that so much suffering and emotions are not involved but it just seems it might always be that way. Cancer is so different in so many bodies and it is ingrained in DNA that makes it so different for so many and why some treatments work for some and don't for others.
Well at 1pm we finally decided to go home for a little while; I was exhausted so I took a nap and then me and Amanda went out for a bike ride. Now she doesn't really know how to ride a bike very well and her confidence level had been quite low, but she got it and it was quite fun! We had an absolute blast with me on my huge "Old Lady Bike" and her on her customized recycled bike. It was small enough that she could ride where I couldn't ride and make hair pin turns that there is no way I could have made.
After all of the bike riding fun, we started to get hungry so when it finally got dark enough, we had dinner with my honey and then we drove up to see the "Luminaria Ceremony" where we got to see all the lit up luminaries. Me and Amanda went up together to see the ceremony but the parking was very hard to deal with. I made the mistake of letting Amanda out to see the ceremony while I hunted for a parking spot.
It was very hard at first to find Amanda but after about 5 or 6 laps around the track, me and Blue Belle finally found her. Two phones can really make a difference and she forgot her phone!(
I was getting kinda stressed that I couldn't find her and time was approaching that I needed to have her home and to pick up my honey so that we could do our walking shift. It was a miracle when I spotted her and there were a lot more people there in the evening than during the day. Me and Blue Belle didn't have too hard of a time rounding the laps because most of the people were at the center of the track and only a few were left walking as we were. It was easy to do those 5 or 6 laps.
Well Blogger was having a time indeed uploading some of these photos so here finally is the photo of Amanda's finished work of art "the Luminary she made for me". I kept getting error messages and have tried at least a dozen times to upload it. It wouldn't upload the best photo, but this one will have to do. We stayed until about 9:15ish and then I had to go drop her off at her home and then pick up my honey so that we could do my 10pm -11pm shift of walking.
Well we got there but made the mistake of bringing Blue Belle. It was far too dangerous to bring her on the track this late at night. We noticed lots of kids just running around dangerously and bumping into others and even saw one kid get knocked them down (lots of kids just rough housing on the track), it was quite crowded, it was dark, and Blue Belle was tired and she was smelling anything and everything on the track floor while trying to eat things that were also on the track. It was frustrating trying to pull her instead of her leading like she should have been and then people behind us that we were holding up. Kids were riding bikes kinda fast in the wrong direction and nearly clipped her and me several times. We had to be on our toes at all times with her. I tried to approach my teams tent and almost got clipped by a bicycle; he missed me by a hair; it was so scary and I felt so lucky that I didn't get so seriously hurt.
For the first time in 3 times of doing Relay for Life and only doing it at night; I started to get some anxiety and so did my husband; we did a few laps, but then just stayed on the side of the track and watched others as they rounded the track while we absorbed the excitement and then we decided it was time that we went home and it was well before my shift was over. I felt bad, that I was cheating but we just couldn't help it. There were so many people still walking out on the track - several hundred at least and it was quite overwhelming for both of us as we both felt guilty for putting Blue Belle through all of that.
She is a service dog but she is also our pet and family member. We just can't put her through that kind of danger and I didn't even think about this at all; just thinking that she would get an hour walk which I felt she really needed but today she will get more than enough exercise to continue her diet of loosing at least 5 lbs and me gaining 15 lbs if possible!) Well yes more fun exciting adventures on the way!
Overall if was still a great Relay for Life. It was my first one in Campbell (I had done two in Los Altos) and always did the night shift which was very, very peaceful; but I didn't have Blue Belle. This was pre-Blue Belle times and when I was on medication for depression. Now I no longer need it!)