Three days, one blister, amazing experience...

We're back from another three days of walking and thinking and laughing and dreaming. Of hopes and of aches and of memories and of inspiration. Each of my experiences has been so different, even though they have all been filled with a common goal, and common themes. This year was no exception.

How can one find the words to describe it? How do you come back from three days like we just spent, and while you try to convey the message to someone that wasn't there - there are some things that even photographs can't quite capture.

I lay in bed last night, trying to fall asleep, and smiling at the things that were running through my head. Who knew that peanut butter and jelly on crimped white bread was the breakfast of champions? Short sheets and streakers and former Olympian tent neighbors. Scott's shvoogie patrol and permanent spot in the medical tent and funky tights - always making sure to eat, drink, scratch, and pee. We learned the correct pronunciation of Moushey (Mow-SHAY) and took on a new teammate for next year. Searching for tiny rum bottles in convenience stores without luck. Broccoli after-effects and hording Biofreeze. Savoring the once-a-year deliciousness of Tecate and Cornnuts - as mentioned, some things you simply can't explain. A moment of silence on the Mill Avenue Bridge. Luminaries on a chilly Sunday morning. Remembering those not with us, and loving the ones that were. Greg summed it up on Friday morning...
You cry a little at the beginning, you cry a lot at the end, and along the way you meet the most amazing people and hear the most amazing stories.

This year, that rang true more than ever - and it will take more than this one entry to talk about some of them. The brother and sister who had lost their mother last year. The 35 year survivor that was diagnosed at 28. Alissa, in the shower line, who had just reached the 5-year mark. Barry, walking every event, with his inspiration being that he was simply part of the human race. The Scottsdale firefighter who sees my truck every day. Michael from the MotoCrew who may get an entry of his own. The woman that turned 66 on Sunday and who was a 22 year survivor. The Gear and Tent crew member who gave me an angel last year and who this year told me it had all come full circle. Mostly, the amazing people I had the opportunity to spend three days of my life with. There are so many more stories to tell.

Yesterday, I think we were having a bit of "day after Christmas" let-down. You experience what we have for three days, and then you come back and are sort of... regular again. It's dissipating slowly this morning and I look forward to sharing some of the stories in entries to come.

Meanwhile, I have been mostly distracted from the fact that in a couple of hours I'll find out whether or not my stay of execution has been extended through 2009. I feel good. I feel strong. I know that isn't always a harbinger of the fact that there is nothing growing inside. In a couple of hours, I'll know for certain. Either way, whatever that paper says, whether or not I'm still a miracle patient - we'll deal with it.

We always do.


    On November 19, 2008 at 8:18 AM alyson said...

    baby girl, the experience this year sounds amazing... and I hope this momentum carries through today... whatever today brings.


    Congratulations pumpkin head (no idea why you're a pumpkin head other than it's the season).

    Very proud of you and Greg and everyone who was there.

    xxxxoooo (I'm not copying Aly, see?)