So, maybe you've read about my 40-by-40, and noticed I mention a lot of people by name. Who are these guys? People who have been with me on my survivorship journey, and reminded me along the way of who I am, what I can accomplish, and how important I am in their lives. Here are a few of their stories.
Go to an Oprah show with my friend Loren Madden.
I met Loren while interviewing for a property management job. She has reminded me time and again to be myself, follow my dreams, and never even entertain the thought that I will not beat cancer. Whenever I start to doubt myself, Loren checks me, and GOOD! Add to that, she is an amazing singer and so funny I have practically peed my pants in her presence laughing over some observation she has made about people. Of course, she is the biggest Oprah fan I know, so I had to add seeing a show with her to my 40-by-40!
Finish the Napa Tri with my friend Kristy Lundy.
Kristy has been a friend since high school, and we have been through some amazing challenges together. She has a husband and two wonderful daughters, is one of the "greenest" moms I know, and she got into triathlons a few years ago. Before I was diagnosed, we talked about doing the Napa Triathlon someday - it's one that we've actually both done before separately - together, and we could not do it last year because I had cancer, or this year because she had to have major surgery herself. Now that she is doing great, we are both excited for next May, when we'll be side by side (well, maybe... her legs are way longer than mine so I may be several feet behind!) making two dreams come true.
Go on a Chocolate Tour of Paris with my friend Anne Barrow.
My friend Anne is a food blogger and amazing writer (here is her blog: The Kitchen Mirror) and cook. We both share a love of good food, and she turned me onto David Lebovitz's blog and books, which chronicle his life in Paris. Paris is the only city I've ever been to in Europe, and although I've dreamed of going back (for the food alone!), when I was diagnosed, there was a part of me that thought, "Well, you can kiss that dream goodbye," because of the financial burden I was facing paying for treatment. I don't know how or when, but going on a David Lebovitz chocolate tour of Paris with Anne would definitely be on a Bucket List even if it wasn't part of my 40-by-40, and it would definitely give me proof that having cancer can't take away any dream, no matter how big.
Skydive with my friend Ian Fuller.
Ian is a wild animal trainer I met while he was Couchsurfing in Kaua'i. I put him and his friend Ryan up for a few days, right before I found out I had cancer, in fact, and we have kept in touch ever since. He is definitely one of the coolest guys I know, and not just because he has like 300 friends who also train tigers, dolphins, and sea lions. He skydived when he was in Oahu and told me I should definitely do it, so I'm hoping we can get together next year after I run the Honolulu Marathon and share another adventure! It's important, when crafting your survivorship, to build a life that you can look forward to, and challenge the idea that something is unavailable to you because you've had cancer. Being in Hawaii again, recovered and healthy and strong, with a friend who was there when I was on the precipice of everything falling apart, is a deliberate memory I'm looking forward to making, because ten or twenty years from now, I will know that no matter how bad things get, they always get better. Whenever I see Ian, I remember where I was, and am reminded of how far I've come.
Do a Muddy Buddy event with my friend Katie Birkholz.
I met Katie when I was doing my 30-by-30, while she was working in our office in San Francisco. She is from Georgia and at the time, was dating her now-husband. I have seen Katie transform from a girl to a wife and a mom, thanks to Facebook, even though we haven't seen each other in person in nearly ten years! Her brother-in-law has been battling cancer himself, and when I was putting together my 40-by-40, I remembered how fun the Muddy Buddy we did in California was, and knew I had to add one for this round, if only to pay a long-overdue visit to an old friend.
I'll update you more on my events as they happen - if you'd like to join me for a 40-by-40 event, tell me your story, how it's inspired you, and we'll make it happen!! :)