Sunday, April 28, 2013

Survival means moments like this

When I think back on my journey away from Cancer, I think about the things I would have missed. Susan G Komen did a project where survivors were asked to send pictures and stories about what they would have missed (I assumed to fashion into an ad). I sent my recording citing the many great moments I have had in my life since I was given a diagnosis of Metastatic Breast Cancer, NOW 18 years ago. The list was long, weddings, Christmases, graduations, adventures, but I hadn't had one of the greatest moments yet... the birth of our granddaughter Alexandra.

While looking at Alex I see so many moments from my past. I see my Mother and grand parents. I remember Glenn and I as we learned how to be parents and care for a wee one. I remember my own childhood and the birth of my siblings. I guess there is probably more remembering going on now than in any other time in my life. But there is also dreaming. I am dreaming about Alexandra's life and her parent's lives.

I see her as she starts to crawl - cuts her first tooth. I grab a mental photograph of the first time she eats strained carrots as the orange puree streams down her face. I see her stand holding on to chairs and tables. I smile with understanding as I see Allison and Chris consul her after she has skinned her knee. I hang her drawings on my refrigerator and share each tiny detail with anyone who shows an interest. It's with pride and excitement that I imagine her sailing on the bay with her grandfather and our friends.No where in all this dreaming do I have a place for Cancer.In my dreams for Alexandra and me, we have moved beyond Cancer to a place where skinned knees are the biggest owee you need to think about. To a day where pink is just a color again. Maybe her favorite color not because of what it stands for but because it is the color she likes best tied in the ribbons of her hair.18 years ago. I didn't think I could have these dreams but now I do. Now I don't only dream these things I believe them because I have to. And I will do whatever is in my power be be sure these dreams become reality. I will walk and raise funds until we find a Cure. I want every woman to experience the joy of holding their granddaughter in their arms and imagining years and years and years of moments of joy.

CELEBRATE with me the world we are creating for Alexandra - Donate to my walk. 75% of all net proceeds goes to research, the rest to education and community support.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Welcome Alexandra Joyce Katherine Welch - Her beginning.

To life, there is a beginning, a middle and an end that is in sharp focus for me today.

My 60th birthday is a week from today. I have been living my life with a fullness and richness that is enviable. My career is well established, my marriage is solid and lasting, my children have established their lives. I am in the middle of what has been a blessed life.

I received word from my siblings my father is not doing at all well in the rest home he has been in since Christmas. He is hard to rouse, somewhat confused and very very tired. They say "this time it is different." We know his journey through life is nearing its end.

On April 16 at 6 in the morning I got a call from my daughter Allison saying she thought she was in labor and may be headed to the hospital. A later text said, "this may be happening." What was happening was the beginning of a life. The arrival of our first grandchild and Allison and Chris' first child. I finished a small bit of personal business and hopped a plane. I was convinced I wouldn't arrive in time for her birth, but miraculously (and perhaps to the chagrin of Allison and Chris) delayed... and I was sitting in the waiting room when she was born by C- Section at 10:32 PM ETA.

I saw her a few hours later. But first their "Doula" (which is akin to a birthing coach) got to take a picture for me. Trust me I was impatient to see her, it felt like an eternity and I began to wonder if coming out so quickly might have been overstepping.


But as soon as I was allowed to see my granddaughter I was immediately in love and sooooo glad to be there. She was perfect. A bit of a cone head to be certain - she and Mommy had tired valiantly to be born the "natural" way. From the moment I held her, I could see how very strong she was.

8 lbs.9 oz and 20 3/4 inches long. I noticed a couple of traits that we can track as she grows. 1. her CHEEKS are very full. She seemed to be longer than wide. She also seems to have narrow long feet. The immediate temptation is to compare her with every family member we know on our side of the family. When looking at her dimples in those chubby cheeks I saw them to be quite distinctive. When I saw a picture of Chris' Mom later in their house I could definitely see that similarity.
They let me know her name which until then had been a secret. Alexandra (Defender of the people) Joyce (Chris' Mom's middle name) and Katherine (which was my mother's middle name and my great grandmother's name and my name with a different beginning) Welch.... Big names - strong names - names that resonate by holding onto the past while looking forward to the future.


Mother and Daughter
 Sleepy girl
 Tired but happy girl
 More sleeping
Daddy wishes he could sleep.
But is so proud of his daughter
 Dark blue eyes, brown hair
Not unlike Allison when she was born
 Meanwhile Glenn was finishing up some work too, so he could board a flight to come and see his granddaughter.
 At last they meet
 And he is very proud and happy
It gave Glenn the chance to share some sage advice.
Mom and Allison getting Alexandra ready to go. I had run down to the Fairfax Mall to buy her a going away outfit. It was size 0-3 months. I lean toward the 3 months, because it was a wee bit too big for her. But she did look styling in her perfectly perfect baby pink outfit.

 Some how fitting we left the hospital in the midst of a tornado warning.
But everyone was thrilled to be home sweet home.

Alexandra is doing well, learning what this living thing is all about. Allison and Chris are showing just how loving and caring they will be as parents. I am glad to be able to be here - seeing the progression while I think, here in the middle of my life, there are few things more precious or life affirming than watching this journey.
I am truly blessed.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Make it happen

There is a mountain of busyness in my way. It is like Everest and at times I think I don't have enough oxygen to make it to the top and back again. Training for the 3 day take time but more than that, it takes the determined effort to find time, even when there is none.
My partner and I have so much business happening and that is a good thing. I am planning to fly off on a moments notice to go see my grand baby when she decides to make her entrance. I have to be as ready as I can to walk away from several listings and an escrow. It is great knowing Myriam is more than able to handle more than the average Realtor... but for us this is pretty busy.
The past I have tried to focus on lining things up. Guess what fell off the to do list... yup training. So when agents were calling me to see a listing today, I politely told them it would have to be tomorrow. I realize when I am back East my opportunity to walk distances will be less than ideal (and I wouldn't really do it differently). But now... today.... I was determined to get in a long walk while I could.
So this morning around 8:45 I put on my walking gear and a new hat and headed to San Rafael to walk around China Camp. This walk would be at least 4 miles longer than my longest this season.  Take some time to see the beautiful place I call home!
 Old tunnel soon to be opened up again for light rail in Marin/Sonoma.
 My new hat
 Parallel to 101 heading north
 Dead Oak
 Roses and Wisteria

 California Poppies
 California Poppies
 This duck and his girlfriend decided to cross a busy street. I stopped traffic so they didn't get squished. A woman in a car thanked me.
 China Camp State Park now run by volunteers since the state stopped funding.
 It was certainly busy today with several groups hiking and biking
 I had gone about 7 miles to get to this sign.
 So glad we can still use this resource
 Wild flowers
 Creek running out to a duck blind (I think)
 Wild flowers
 China Camp Village Pier
 Rock Quarry
 Deer crossing the road. I alerted traffic again!
 Marin Island
 Water and mud
 Mc Nears Brick
 Map of Marin County Parks
Back to Glenn's Office where he was working on a Tax extension.
By the time I was home it was around 1:45. Time enough to do some business on the computer, get ready to look at an offer on a property and get ready to go out to dinner. Some times whether there seems to be the time or not, you have to make it happen. Some things are too important to ignore.
We lost a warrior April 4. There is so much left to be done to end Cancer. I made a promise I would walk 2 walks this year despite the busyness to try and get it done. Now, I mean to do it.
Will you help me? Will you fuel my passion with a donation?