“More Birthdays”

I get it.  Sometimes it takes a bit – but I get it now.

I mean, I understood in theory what the American Cancer Society meant when they came out with this slogan, but today it really hit me.


Today was it – the “take two” for my little girl who was shut out of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in September because of a fever.  This was her chance to walk with Mom and Grandma.  She even got the added bonus of having Dad with us this morning.

My Inspirations!


Living where we do, an event like this seems to bring out just about everyone, and it was hard to take two steps without bumping into someone we knew.  It was also almost impossible to look anywhere and NOT see one of those pink survivor sashes.  I saw them on women of ALL ages – from the frighteningly young, to the admirably old, and it got me thinking.

More birthdays…

Before my mom had her cancer, she could have sometimes been caught cringing at the sound of “50.”  After a double mastectomy, 6 months of chemo, and in the middle of 5 years of tamoxifen – she embraced 50 with a smile, and slid gracefully past 60.  “Beats the alternative,” she often says.

More birthdays…

We waited with a group from Meghan’s school for a while, and it was hard not to read some of the “team” T-shirts.  A large group gathered right next to us was commemorating a young lady who apparently died of breast cancer in 1994.  Her birthdate was listed as 1971.  What her family probably would have done for more birthdays.  I can’t even imagine…

More birthdays…

As I stood there, I thought about the “previvors” I have “met” on the internet and from this blog.  They have courage of a type no other can quite get.  The courage to undergo a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy is not to be understated.  I am impressed at the maturity of  the very young, and the wisdom of those closer to my own age.  But, I was struck, somewhere in between the quick math that left me knowing the young lady on the T-shirt had been 23 when she died of breast cancer in 1994, and that my own girl will be 23 in 14 years.  Suddenly it didn’t seem that long, and I was afraid.

More birthdays…

My little girl will grow to be 95 I reassured myself.  With the power and knowledge we have – she will know lots more birthdays.  But the reality that my mom had cancer at 48, and I had it at 38, and the current screening recommendations are to screen 10 years before your closest relative had the disease, well – it made it hard to breathe for a few minutes.  Then my husband reminded me that she has ALREADY been screened – twice.  We will be vigilant.

More birthdays…

And then I thought about my own.  I will turn 39 next month.  That is the age some people like to stay at forever.  NOT ME!  I want MORE BIRTHDAYS!

My beautiful cousin Meghan died of Leukemia in 1991, on my 18th birthday.


More birthdays….

My cousin Meghan was a brave soul.  She was diagnosed with Leukemia when she was 2.  She fought for 4 years before the disease took her from us.  She got her wings the day I turned 18, and every birthday since then has been bittersweet.  We had a connection that I still find it difficult to describe.  My love for her was deep enough, that I needed to name my daughter for our “Angel Meghan.”  Meghan did not have enough birthdays.  This may be the year that I look at mine a little differently.  Maybe its time to use my birthday as a time to celebrate BOTH of our lives.

More birthdays…

We left the walk a little early this morning.  We had to head out to Long Island.  My nephew Luke was celebrating his 9th birthday today.  And as the kids played, and the candles got blown out on the cake, I found myself really sure that I understood.  As my sister said just an hour or so ago… It’s not about the gifts.  It’s about the people you celebrate with.  We celebrated Luke’s birthday with 3 GREAT grandparents, and 4 of his grandparents.  It’s easy to fight for more birthdays when you are this blessed.

I get it…

Race for the Cure (minus 1)

It won’t be nearly as much fun without my biggest fan!

Tomorrow morning I will gather in Central Park with some 25,000 other runners and walkers, survivors, and friends and family to support the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.  This will be my first race in a pink “survivor”  T shirt, insisted upon by Meghan, my biggest fan.

This was our year.  I registered Meghan as a “real” walker.  She got an official race day T shirt, and a number too.  She was so proud to be walking with her Mom, and Grandma – two “survivors.”  She was thrilled to be registered, and wear a number.  She was looking forward to waking up super early. 

Except, she won’t be coming.

At 6:30 tomorrow morning my Mom will pick me up.  We will each wear a special banner designed by Meghan.  We will pick up our friend, another survivor, and we will head to Central Park.  The car will hold one less this year, and if I might say so myself,

I thought it all day.  I thought it to myself.  I even hid in my room and cried a little, ok a lot.  I had quite the pity party going for my girl.  Asking over and over WHEN she is going to get a break, and WHEN is something going to go her way, and WHY can’t she seem to just have some fun when her HEART and SOUL are ALWAYS looking out for other people.  And, not to be surprised, she never said once all day that it wasn’t fair.

She encouraged me to go, even without her.  She said she was sad, and disappointed, but we made a date for the American Cancer Society walk on Staten Island in October.

She is asleep on the couch right now with 102 fever.  She woke up great this morning.  By noon she was developing a fever.  She was complaining of a headache.  By 2 PM she had cleared 102 and we headed out to the urgi center.  After an OBNOXIOUS 3 hour wait, we left with the diagnosis of  (“It’s probably”) strep, and (maybe) and ear infection.  I sometimes wonder if they train to be meteorologists, and end up as doctors – probably…maybe… UGH!

He second dose of Clindamycin will be at 11PM.  By noon tomorrow we will know if it was bacterial or viral because she should feel much better, and the headache – that always scares the CRAP out of me, should be gone.

By noon tomorrow I will be home.  Back from my race.  Full of conflicted emotions.  I have been to this race almost every year since 1998, but Meghan kept calling it my “first” race.  I will be glad to be with my mom and my friend, but really, what good is any race or celebration without your biggest fan?

Race for the Cure Logo