Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.
He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.
Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."
I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.
I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."
Monday, May 25, 2009
Memorial Day 2009
Happy Memorial day. Can’t we just turn this into a happy memory day? We could make memories of all kinds and not just memorialize the dead and passed, but make memories with their family and loved ones.
That’s what I am planning on doing if my body holds up and all can hold all that belongs inside in, like my food waste.
No one wants to see that coming out at the community BBQ.
Actually, today is a field dedication to a long time family friend and loved one, Dave Detore.
Our family, The Detore’s, and The St.Martin’s all grew up together.
I guess the three fams banded together early when they all realized they had daughters the same age.
Those daughters were Heather and I, Katie, and Nicole. The St.Martin’s added two more subsequent children, Jamie, and Elizabeth while Nicole remained the one and onl child of Dave and Deb.
Our family also added Patrick to the mix who was a little younger than Jamie, so we all had quite the crew to get together for important, fun, family holiday dates like New Years Eve were sparklers and firecrackers were required.
Then of course there were the yearly camping trips to Maine with the three families where we’d enjoy roasting marshmellows over the fire and stories from “The Moose Callair” with raging sound effects and the whole nine yards.
Of course here were always meals with the options of Tabasco sauce, hot, hotter, and burn your face off to choose from.
Generally, we girls stuck to the beach and watched the fine boys pass by.
We have lots of pictures, and lots of memories, from exploring Maine togther all those years.
We were taught how to eat a lobster, properly, and not allow any portion of it’s precious meat and juices to escape.
We were told to suck every last once of goodness out of those tiny ctustacean legs they have.
I can easily say we may have eaten our way through Maine one weekend every summer throughout our childhood.
We also were able to run around the coast like tourists checking out the best, and the worst, that Maine had to offer.
Yes, Maine is beautiful with its rocky jeddies and sandy beaches full of wildlife and wonder, but the concrete and streets are just as much as an adventure.
For a country girl like me, it may come as a surprise, but I was always a little more fascinated with the human species than what could be found in marine biology.
People watching, sitting on the bench, looking over the ocean, the breeze knotting my hair, bathing in the sun with a book or just thinking, was always my favorite pass time.
Maybe this is all where my innate need to go antiquing or bargain shop for beauty began.
But I do remember one time very clearly when one Maine Tourist because very unhappy with my mother over a parking spot.
Awww, yes, a parking spot, I think everyone in America can relate. You’re in an area too populated for its own good during it’s most populist time and there are ten different cars strolling carefully row to row just hoping they are going to be THAT CAR that comes upon someone pulling out so they can sneak right in and get on with their sightseeing.
While, in our incidence, there were two cars that found the one spot where the car was just trying to leave their destination, and guess who beat the other driver to the spot.
You guessed right, my mother. Go momma!
The two mom’s parked the minivan and the six kids came bounding out the door ready to start our adventure when this man driving the losing pick-up pulls up, blocking us in (like we didn’t want to be there, ok, buddy), and starts cursing and hollering at my mother.
Excuse you, Mister, I don’t think so. Where is his mother and who taught him those manners.
This was a pretty clear example of where chivalry was absolutely dead. Not only did my mother have rightful access to the parking spot, but she was also touting around two families, which included six kids all under the age of ten.
But he just had to make a scene, because he was a big man and his ego had been bruised by a better driver in a minivan that was making him wait an extra 20 minutes to find a parking spot so he could chug some more beer.
You can probably see where this is going.
He threatened my mother. He threatened to slash her tires. He threatened to smash up her car if she didn’t move, and like my mother was and always has been, she laughed at him, said “just try it” and walked away with all of us and the kids.
You can imagine how that went over with big macho, not to be outmanned by a mom driving a minivan, which did I mention had 6 kids in it under the age of ten?
The parking lot bully tracked us down while we were leisurely window shopping and having a grand old time. He cornered my mother and got up in her face like he was king of he beach and ruler of the parking lot. His arm was in the air like he was going to hit her. . . . in front of all 6 kids.
What a nasty monster.
I remember standing paralyzed not knowing how to address the situation when Heather stood up and stepped in the middle of this raging man and my mother.
I know what she was thinking, “What, exactly, is this angry man going to do in public to a ten year old?” and that is exactly what she based her actions on.
You go, Heather, you have always been one tough chick standing up for what you believe in, even at ten when a nasty man was trying to hit our mom.
I don’t remember exactly what she said to him, but it I think the presence of a petite, preteen, a complete stranger, feeling the need to physically protect her mother completely unnarmed him.
Woman beaters are cowards. I can’t imagine anything scarier to a cowardly woman beater than the next generation of women in the form of a cute, 80lbs. soaking yet child stepping up to kick his ass if that is what it is going to take to protect her mother.
He backed off really quickly, and Heather was a big hero.
Two ice creams for her that day
I hope that man remembers her and knows she is all grown up now with friends who are just as strong and courageous as her, willing to stand up and fight for what is right and decent.
As bad as that childhood memory of Maine my sound, it wasn’t.
It was more of a turning point. It was a right of passage.
We traveled to extend our surroundings, our boundaries, and therefore our culture and understanding.
This is why I continue to enjoy traveling today and bring Xander and Alexis along as often as I am able.
I want them to experience the world under the safety net of a family and family events so they can learn that outside their immediate surroundings are not so different.
I want them to know that though mountains, borders, barriers, and oceans may separate people we all have some basic, fundamental, human intricacies that we share under the realm of humanity.
Our trips to Maine continued through junior high and began to peter off in high school when sports camps took over our August free time, but the memories and the lessons are still there.
Since those days, life has happened. Both Dave and Peter have passed away. Charlestown Primary School's softball field is going to be dedicated to him today for his years of work and loyalty to the school and sports in our area. Peter lives on through his boisterous personality we swear has taken over my parents cat, Oliver, and in the good deeds of his children, Katie, who just graduated from Keene State College a couple weeks back, Jamie my favorite computer tech support man (beside you Jon, of course.), and Liz, his youngest who was only 13 years old when he passed of cancer.
Liz has been a wonderful help to me in my advocating endeavors providing never ending support and having helped make the basic design frame for Baldies' Blog.
We are so lucky to still have them all in our lives today.
Here is to making more happy memories. Happy Memory Day.