Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Pooper Troopers

Today I walked five kilometers with Team Rick in the Undy 5000, a fundraiser to benefit colon cancer research. Altogether, we raised $1135. Our team consisted of:
  • my brother Rick, a colon cancer survivor
  • Rick's wife Diane
  • his daughter Mindy
  • his son Mitchell and wife Michelle
  • his best friend David, wife Annette, and daughter Holly

Team Rick in Front of a Giant Colon
David, Mindy, Rick, Me, Annette, Holly, Mitchell, Michelle, Diane

I rode out to White Rock Lake with Rick, Diane, and Mindy, having reluctantly crawled out of their comfy guest bed at 5:45 A.M. Here we are looking relatively bright-eyed and bushy-tailed a little after 7.



The frigid morning (41 degrees F/5 Celsius) reminded me a lot of day one of the Susan G. Koman 3-Day. But I wore lots of layers, and once we got to walking and talking, only my feet were cold. (I wore my Five Finger shoes, of course.)

Mindy managed to take the shot below while walking backward just in front of me.


"Slow down," she said.

"No, you speed up," Rick said.

"I'm walking backward," she protested.

"So?"

"So this is the best I can do." Not bad!

There was lots of slightly off-color humor, all in good taste--enough to make us laugh even at 7 on a Saturday morning. Check out the Nothing Butt Fun team, for example:
Those Are Plastic Booties


And some of the T-shirt slogans were hilarious:
It's Your DUTY to check your BOOTY


Stay in the Clear - Check Yo Rear
 
Everyone was supposed to be running or walking in some sort of underwear; our team wore the standard-issue Dulcolax Undy 5000 boxers. But we saw one man running in just underwear, very little underwear. We all almost got whiplash watching him streak past. I didn't have to wonder long whether anyone else noticed his fine physique. "I look a lot like that, you know," Rick said with a chuckle. "Or maybe I did once upon a time." Yeah, right.
Rick and Me After Race


All to soon we were crossing the finish line together and waiting for Rick to take his place with the other survivors on the small stage. I can't tell you how thankful I am that Rick is alive and well, coming up on his 10-year anniversary this spring. "We'll party until the police come," he said.
"Better invite the neighbors," Diane said.
I'm sure you'll hear about it when the time comes.
After the walk, we headed over to Breadwinners Cafe and Bakery to replace the calories we burned (to quote Mindy). I think we replaced them several times over. The food was phenomenal. And the conversation was even better. What a wonderful morning!
Next year, we will do it all again, and we've already chosen our team name: Pooper Troopers.
Speaking of poop, I can't pass up this opportunity to ask you a very important question. Have you done your duty and checked your booty? Colon cancer is treatable if discovered early. What are you waiting for? Go get that colonoscopy.

Friday, October 5, 2012

It's a Girl!

Here, after six months, is the next chapter of my love story with Bill. Please note that these events occurred in 2006, when I was pregnant with Allyson.

Excerpts from Allyson's Journal
Friday 1/6/06
Last night, Bill was lying beside me, and I was propped on pillows. He was cupping my belly, and he said he felt something. But his hand was too high, and he was feeling gas bubbles. We laughed. He left his hand in the same spot, feeling the movements of my digestion. I felt very loved.

When I rolled to my side, Bill wrapped his arm around me. I suddenly asked, "Was this what you imagined when you thought about marriage?"

He thought for a moment and said, "Yes, I guess it was."

I said it was much better than I ever imagined.

Saturday 1/6/06
I forgot one of the best moments of the Vancouver trip: When Bill was throwing snowballs at Minday and Brandy, he said, "Don't think I won't hit you just because you're sitting next to my pregnant wife!" There was a little pride in his tone when he called me that, and I felt proud, too.

Monday 1/16/06
We went to church, and I was enjoying the worship service. I whispered to Bill that the baby must be enjoying my singing; I'd read that babies at this stage can hear internal sounds such as their mother's voice.

When we were singing "Face Down," I was very moved and began to cry. The song says, "I'll fall, face down, as your glory shines around." I suddenly thought of what the baby might be experiencing. When I feel God's presence, I feel it throughout my body, as if I am bathed in a peaceful glow. I imagined that peace settling over our baby, imagined it shining with God's glory, and I was overwhelmed and almost wept.

Sunday 1/22/06
I'm struggling today with worry. Ironically, I worry about worrying, over the effect it could have on my baby. I've read that babies' personalities might be shaped by their mothers' emotional state during pregnancy and in the infant days.

I worry when the baby has quiet days.... Yesterday I didn't feel a lot of movement, though I did feel some. I was very busy cleaning, and I think all that activity could have lulled Tator Tot to sleep. Today, though, I haven't been overly active, yet I've felt even less movement. That's not to say I've felt nothing, but the movements have been sparse and seemingly less vigorous.... I know with the rational part of my mind that worrying won't help, and that the feelings are normal. (There's a section in my pregnancy book on these fears.)

My heart tells me I can trust God to take care of me and my baby no matter what happens. I know I don't have to be anxious, that I can present my requests to God with thanksgiving, and the peace of God will guard my heart and mind (Phillipians 4:4-9). I also know he has a plan for me, that He ordained all of my days before one of them came to be (Psalm 139). I know that He works in all things for my good, and that absolutely nothing can separate me from the love of Christ (Romans 8).

I'm thankful that God led me to memorize these passages that I need now. But so far, I've been unable to shake this nagging anxiety despite going over my scriptures and praying. I feel frustrated that I can fall so easily into this old trap of worry, the same worry as before, but with different surrounding circumstances.

Lord, I know you carried me through my struggles with fear and worry in the past, and I know you can do that now. Teach me the lesson again, Lord.... Be with me tonight when I share this with Bill. Draw us together, and please encourage me through him.

Wednesday 1/25/06
I had a good talk with Bill after Ethan went to bed. We sat on the couch in the loft, and Bill held my hand as I cried. He said he knew nothing he could say could take away my worry, but he was very supportive. I asked him to pray for me, though I knew that he prefers for me to do the praying. He said a very nice prayer that made me feel comforted and loved. He prayed for me first, then the baby. He asked God to help me feel secure and very loved, that I would know I would be okay no matter what happens with the baby. He asked God to cover the baby and make it grow strong and healthy. And he asked God to make the baby kick now and again to ease my worries.

It was the longest and most heartfelt prayer I'd ever heard from Bill, and I was touched. I realized that a very good effect had come out of my struggle, and I was thankful.

Tuesday 1/31/06
We had a sonogram today. We're having a girl! I can't believe I'm going to be a mother to a girl, then a young woman! I sort of had a feeling it was a girl, but of course I didn't really know....

In the car, I didn't make it out of the parking lot before I started sobbing. I started imagining a little girl in a ruffled dress, a preteen getting her first bra, her first period, her first date as a teenager. I just let the tears fall as I contemplated the wonder of watching our girl grow into a woman.

I must have been crying pretty hard because my cell phone rang, and it was Bill checking on me. He was in his truck, taking Ethan back to school while I headed to the airport for my flight to Chicago. He said, "What are you doing back there?"

I laughed and admitted, "I'm crying." I assured him they were happy tears, and I asked if he was happy. He said very. I asked if he was afraid about raising a girl, and he said, "Of course." He told me to take it easy and not get into a wreck.

I had to call him back a couple minutes later to report that she had woken up and was kicking. During the sonogram, she'd been sleeping, and no amount of jiggling and poking would rouse her.

But she was beautiful! We could see her head, her arms and legs, her fingers and toes, her spine and ribs, and... her face! We had a clear view of her profile, and we could make out her features. She was sleeping with her arms crossed over her face....

Ethan didn't say too much during the exam, but he told Bill later that he'd gotten his wish--he really wanted a baby sister. And when he got back to school, he showed his sono picture to the receptionist.

January 2006
It strikes me as I read my thoughts from six years ago that I am learning the same lessons about worry and trust yet again! And just as I said then, I'm finding that God continues to carry me through my struggles. And that something good can come out of them. Thank you, Jesus!
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