celebrating my dad

photo

It’s my dad’s birthday, he would have been 83.

This picture of him with open arms, his crooked smile is just how I remember him. He greeted everyone with a hug and a smile.

How lovely. How simple.

I miss him.

He loved his birthday.

I will be donating $83 to Dana Farber today in his honor.

Please consider smiling, hugging or donating today. http://www2.pmc.org/profile/HH0034

Thank you

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Have I allowed cancer to take both my breast and my outlook?

2/14/08

2/14/08

5 years ago today, I woke up looking just like this picture and then later that same day I woke up again, not at all looking the same.

This picture was taken on Valentines Day 2008, the day before my mastectomy, by a very kind and dear soul. It’s me, physically whole, with two breasts and cancer (the lump below my right pinky finger).

It has taken me five years to face looking thru these photos. Not sure why I haven’t looked earlier, perhaps I forgot or it was plain avoidance. For whatever reason, I finally faced them, maybe waiting, for just this moment to push me once again to commit to the Pan Mass Challenge.

I was startled though for unexpected reasons. It was a combination of flash back and seeing something for the first time. Was that a gasp shock or a sigh of relief?

What struck me was the clarity and lightness in my eyes not my long lost breast. I don’t look frightened, or anxious. My expression and posture look like one of gratitude not one of grasping. How was that possible? As I remember it, vivid lucidity and affected numbness reigned in those days of diagnosis. Yet I don’t remember how the “look” feels, that confidence and understanding.

Have I allowed cancer to take both my breast and my outlook?

Please do not take this the wrong way; I know I am one of the lucky ones. Most days I celebrate but not everyday as my reaction to the photo so subtlety reminded me. It’s a potent reminder for me to find that expression again AND to help so that others do not have to face before and after cancer.

So, in celebrating having 5 years under my bra strap I once again have committed to participating in the Pan Mass Challenge.

And so it begins…

PS  hurray for my sweet friend and her “it’s not cancer” result!!!

Click here to DONATE

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its not about the money or the miles though its not too late to donate

Well, its days later, actually over a week and I am finally sitting down to write about the extraordinary event I was so very privileged to participate in, The Pan Mass Challenge. Probably what has kept me from writing anything about it, first, it means it is over and done, second and more to the truth is my emotions and thoughts can not be gathered in black and white, put in order and kept short and precise to entice anyone to take time to read it.

Maybe and probably that is why it is so magical. It hits so deep with such strength yet appears to sneak up from nowhere.

I have been choked up with tears off and on from pulling in to Sturbridge on Friday to a sea of people and bikes, all with one purpose yet different reasons. It is both celebratory and somber, inspiring and sobering all the while quite intimidating.

At once you are part of “a movement” (that is what Lance Armstrong called it) though it very personal and specific to each individual. The weekend seems neither about the money raised or the miles to ride.

Over 5,000 riders and 2,500 volunteers participate in memory or in honor of someone as do the thousands of people whom stand on the route to thank and support us all.

One mother with her survivor 6 year old daughter followed the route to thank each rider individually over and over, a bagpiper played all morning at the top of a steep hill (and if that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes!), a lone man sat in his front yard with a handmade sign thanking us for the extra years he had with his wife, a teenage girl held up a sign thanking us for her life, an entire street, Cherry Street, ties ribbons and signs around the trees thanking each of us, at most intersections along with an officer to help us along people gather cheering, thanking and ringing bells. This is just a minute sampling of the magnificent participation. All the while I carry a picture of my dad on my back and my cancer scare on my front.

It is more than enough to nourish me, encourage me and to make me commit for another year. The swirl of goodwill, devotion, appreciation and love is crazy beautiful so much so that the word sublime comes to mind.

The start

Lance

1st water stop

My oncologist, Dr Andrew Wagner. Somehow in the sea of 5,000 riders we run into each other, furthering the comfort of him always being there for me. He is what is so good and true about Dana Farber
Another waterstop!

My fan club, my daughter, my sister, my dear friend and my mother.

My dear dear friend Jane joins me to ride the last route to the finish. True to who creative and thoughtful Jane is she donates $365 for everyday we are all alive!

The finish at Mass Maritime, 110 miles done!

and if you have sometime and you want more inspiration watch this, or just skim it. Lance is good, Tym Rouke a father of a young cancer survivor is great and of course, the president of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Dr Edward Benz Jr.

************CLICK TO DONATE, thanks**********************

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me again

watch it or not

read it or not

donate or not

BUT please know I will keep sending, keep asking and keep hoping and maybe keep blogging.

Thanks to all who have helped me over the $20,000 mark for 3 years!

Never to late to donate!

donate here

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Happy Father’s Day

while searching for new words i found this older post…i miss my dad. i miss how he loved me and my daughter. he was my champion and cheerleader and would have been my most boisterous supporter for my ride. he would have told everyone he knew and those he didn’t.

i miss my dad.

and i added this…and my dad loved my daughter’s dad.i miss them both.         GO CELEBRATE YOUR DAD!

and thank you to more of you that have so generously given to my cause, Vicky, Eunie & Everett, Betsy & Ted, Micheal and Andrew.

click here to give

 

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sucking wind

i love my bike, i love my dad and i love my life

thanks renee, sarah, brendan, shannon, emily, tyler and steve for helping me reach $1875

here’s how to donate link to donate on line

or

send a check made out to PMC to Hobler PO Box 5 Mattapoisett MA 02739

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IMUA

Paddle for Life Super Six

Anela & Ellen my paddling coaches

our hosts performing Hawaiian Chants

paddling out

after the huli (capsize)

Imua is the Hawaiian word meaning to go forward. It is used to signal the first pull of the paddle into the water when outrigger canoeing. The sport is seeped in Hawaiian tradition and culture combined with healthy dose of competition.

Ever since the first time I paddled in an outrigger canoe my appreciation of foundation, support and respect have become clearer. Imua became more than just moving a boat forward.

I had the honor to sit “seat 1” for the Paddle for Life Maui crew in a 6-man outrigger canoe sprint race. From the command imua, seat 1 sets the pace and keeps the pace. We raced in the Paddlers Open, the regatta opener for the 6-man race season. Our crew was a powerful group of cancer survivors and supporters. We may have been older (I was also one of the youngest) and maybe not physically as strong but were all together making us smooth and fast. We certainly gave the younger crews a run for their money!

One of my coaches, Kaleo, liked to sing to us.

all together,

our paddles go into the water together,

go thru the water together,

come out of the water together,

all together

Listening to that chant not only lightens the load and thrusts the boat forward but also allows each one of us to rely on the team along with holding our own. Paddling certainly has shown me more than just giving me a work out; it somehow mirrors many of life’s messages.

Another powerful illustration of these principles came a few days later.

I had the fortunate experience to work with a group of young cancer survivors on Maui. These 9 survivors along with a group of dedicated volunteers were the first participants in Athletes for Cancer/Team Duke Surf & SUP Survivorship Camp. They came to Maui to learn surfing and stand up paddling (SUP) and just be together to soak in the magic that Maui so effortlessly is.

On the afternoons after their time out on the water, I led them in a yoga practice. With both eagerness and nervousness I drove to their camp questioning what I had to bring to the table. My confidence in what I knew escaped me. Even though excitement ran abuzz thru my body, doubt drained my confidence. Could I actually instill in them any of the comfort yoga has given me? Would I crumble at the sight these young warriors? I, too, was a survivor, though cancer is not so much a surprise to someone of my age but these guys were young, that was not suppose to happen.

And then Kaleo’s chant came to me. All together, we would do it all together. Breathing in and out together. I was sitting in seat 1, setting the pace yet they were lightening the load and pushing us all forward. Each one crept deeply into my heart as they as they folded into poses on beach towels that first afternoon I met them. Maybe I could teach them something though I was the recipient of something much larger than I could have ever bestowed.

On Sunday, the camp came to the north shore to experience some Hawaiian culture and more time on the water. Some of my Paddle for Life Maui group along with a delightful group of local high school students brought them outrigger canoeing. The teenagers and their coach, Anela, began the day with the history of Hawaiian canoeing and singing chants celebrating the tradition and the elements. There was a sense of genuine humanity as we all stood in a circle on the beach. The teenagers beamed with pride, the campers shined with excitement and the volunteers stood strong for support.

It was a typical windy and wavy day on the North Shore making the canoeing exciting. Just getting the boats off the beach was a challenge. These are 400-pound boats propelled by only 6 wooden blades. Though again, the unity of the excitement and the sense of this extraordinary experience lifted the boat up and forward. The boat I was in even hulied (capsized) adding to the thrill.

Each and every person involved, camper and volunteer, showed fully up to each and evey event, eyes and hearts wide open. These were young vibrant people. They were willing, joyful, and bright. Most of them had been to hell and back. Yet they showed no evidence other than scars. Truly, I was taken aback by their tremendous spirit and commitment to each other and whatever event they were participating in.

Being involved with Athletes for Cancer/Team Duke Surf & SUP Survivorship Camp reinforced the importance of working with others for me. I loved being a camp counselor when I was young and now, I see I haven’t outgrow that affection. Again, I have been fortunate enough to be shown what it is I want to continue doing. Not only the raising of funds but to be involved in helping others cope with cancer and life.

All together or one by one, I am in.

And for those campers who so touched my heart,

Imua Na Koa – go forward warriors!

all safely back at the beach

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