About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day Two

Our home away from home
Mom and I slept pretty well in our pink tent. It took me by suprise, actually.  Usually when I'm in a new environment, the first night is not very restful, especially when I'm camping. I was concerned that the little camp pillow I borrowed from Olivier wouldn't be comfortable. On top of that, we were literally right next to our neighbors. Mom had brought some earplugs and they did the trick!  We woke up around 5 a.m., met dad for breakfast and then were ready to get going!

Having been at the back of the pack the day before, we wanted to get an early start and be in the front. Our third teammate didn't camp with us, so had to arrange to meet. The route opened between 7 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. Carylee got there before 7, but needed to stop at the medical tent to get her ankle wrapped.   By the time we got onto the route, it was 7:15 a.m.  Right smack dab in the middle. That was fine with me. At least we weren't in the back.

We had heard rumors that Day Two was the hardest. The theory is that on Day One, you are pumped with adrenaline. On Day Three, you are almost done. But on Day Two, you just have to walk. And walk. And walk.  The mileage on this day was actually a little less than the day before.

The route that morning led us though parts of Mission Bay, Ocean Beach, and Point Loma. It was a really fun route. It took us through areas that I was unfamiliar with. I particularly enjoyed Point Loma and some of the custom homes that overlook the Pacific Ocean.

Like the previous day, we were met with hundreds of supporters along the route. Many were in costume, but others were not.  Even some trainers from Sea World were out in their wetsuits to take pictures with walkers and show their support!

On the route, there are rest stops every 3-4 miles.  They all have porta potties and water/sports drink. Actual "pit stops" have these amenities as well as a medical tent and snacks.  In between these stops, we increasingly ran into tables set up by everyday people who would offer us all kinds of things, from stickers, kleenex, candy, to mimosas (or "mamosas" as they were called).  As the day wore on and we walked through Mission Beach, we ran into tequila shots and Jell-O shooters! 

One of the bright spots of the day was right before lunch when some girls from Isabelle's girl scout troop had a cheering spot. We had just crossed over a bridge from Mission Beach to Mission Bay and there they were!  I had purchased some pink cammo rubber bracelets from a lady who had set up a stand in Point Loma, so I gave each girl one. I gave her leader, Nicole, a "survivor" tattoo like the one I had put on that morning.  Nicole was the first woman in my circle of friends to be diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of years ago. After she fought it, then I was diagnosed.  We sat down on a little wall and the girls gave us shoulder massages! We were definitely envied by other walkers as they went by us. Many even took our pictures! 

At the end of the afternoon, we stopped at the last pit stop. We were tired, but we also had gotten separated from Carylee, who had stopped to check something out along the Boardwalk in Mission Beach. (There was a LOT going on there!)  After we started on the last mile and a half, I saw a familiar face among the crowd of people cheering us on. A friend of mine, Donna, was there with her daughter's brownie troop. I got a burst of energy and ran to give her a big hug. It was so neat to see a familiar face! It really meant a lot that they came down to cheer us on. As Donna and I were talking, I saw another familiar face sitting about 10 feet away.  I had to do a double take....it was my dad! He had walked out to meet us and walk us in. I didn't recognize him at first because he had a hat on!  It was nice to finish the day up with the fourth member of our team!

At dinner, I was happy to run into a survivor friend, Marcy, whom I had met doing the 2012 3-Day commercial shoot.  I still had to find Nancy. Other than her, I had seen or talked to everyone that I met that exciting day.

We took a seat next to the charging stations. I was hoping to be able to plug in my iPhone as well as my Garmin GPS watch. Unlike the night before, every single outlet was taken. But unlike the other walkers, I had an in with the crew! Dad took my devices and charged them off the battery of the gear truck he was in.

We watched a little bit of the Saturday night show. I learned that the national spokeswoman for the 3 Day, Dr. Sheri Phillips, not only is a breast cancer survivor, but she lives with lymphedema like I do. They introduced a man who was walking ALL 14 of the 3-Day events this season. San Diego was his last. I honestly don't know how you can get your body to withstand this 14 times. But he did it. Not only did he walk all 14, but raised the minimum amount of $2,300 14 times. Wow.  They also introduced us to a group of teenagers who had been around helping, the Youth Corps. They were volunteers, but had to raise $500 to be able to work! I was blown away. Each kid introduced themselves and told us why they were working. When one girl introduced herself, she said that her mother had been diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. I swear, I heard everyone draw a sharp breath inward all at the same time. Her mom was there, walking with us.

We didn't have it in us to stay up for the dance party. We went to the shower trucks, took care of business, and went to bed. 40 miles down, 20 to go.

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