Friday, April 30, 2010

Queen of Hearts

Tonight we're headed out to Winchester, Virginia to celebrate the Apple Blossom Festival. For those of you that are in the area- it's well worth the drive. I mean who can resist a parade that features Val Kilmer as the Grand Marshal? I can't wait to bat my eyelashes at Iceman.:) This has become a tradition- I take the kids to the three hour parade on Friday night that consists of fire trucks, fire trucks, and more fire trucks- oh and an occasional high school marching band. My cousin Jenny invited me a few years ago, and I keep going back. Jenny introduces me to all kinds of things in life- more than she will ever know.

I call Jenny my cousin like I call half of Loudoun County my cousin- We're related in some way or another.:) Jenny married my cousin Brad years ago, and she's become a mentor to me. Jenny used to be a big girl. As in big, I mean a big girl with a big heart:

Jenny has always lived life- She's constantly tackling new things in life- volunteering in a million different places, going on adventures, traveling, etc. She is just a positive person that lives life to the fullest- even when things don't go her way. It's so cliché- but she really does make lemonade out of lemons. A few years ago, Jenny and I raised money and walked in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Every hour or so, she would have to check her blood sugars because she is diabetic- but this didn't stop her. When you walk almost 40 miles with someone, you learn a lot about them. I learned that she had a deep fear of breast cancer. Every three minutes during the walk, someone would put a sash on a walker to symbolize how every three minutes someone is diagnosed with breast cancer. Jenny was scared to death of these sashes.

Looking back, I honestly feel that Jenny knew her fate. A year later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35.

When you are dealt a bad hand in cards, many people fold. They bow out and give up. Not Jenny. During one of the hardest years of her life- she was dealt more challenges than anyone I know. Jenny was diagnosed with breast cancer, her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time, her dog was diagnosed with cancer and had his leg removed, and two weeks before she started her own chemotherapy, she lost her dad to melanoma. I would have given up. Instead, Jenny showed that you can turn the worst hand into a straight flush.

Jenny decided to tackle cancer head-on. She beat it and during her battle, she had a new lease on life. She continued to follow Weight Watchers and increased her workout regimen. For Jenny, she truly has made healthy living her lifestyle and she swears it has improved her diabetes and energy. Look at her now!

Helloooooo sexpot! Jenny has also started a blog- and I highly recommend checking it out. She could be the most inspirational person I know. She has tirelessly tried helping me with my weight loss, and has never waivered when I don't follow through. My mouth waters when I think of Apple Blossom- They have funnel cakes, ice cream, and everything fried you can imagine. You can literally get a fried pickle, a fried Twinkie, and a fried Oreo. Tonight Jenny, I'm going to try to make you proud for once- I'm packing a picnic that includes sliced pears and oranges.:) No fried foods for me.

When I'm sitting around making excuses for myself, Jenny has a way of putting me in my place. Lack of daycare seems quite trivial to what she's been through. Here's an excerpt from one of her blogs... Enjoy!

When I started chemo I had been running about 2 times a week for approximately 3 miles. And to be honest I hated it. It was hard, and boring. But this all changed with chemo. Chemo leaves you in a state of tired that no amount of sleep brings you out of. You are walking around like the living dead. Along with that for the 3 days around your treatment you are completely hopped up on steroids that you cannot sit still, let alone rest. So, to cope, I started running. Running quickly became my vise. When I got outside, I could feel the blood pumping thru my veins. In my head I could feel the chemo moving thru my blood, killing the cancer. When I sweat, I smelled of chemo. All of this made me angry, and so I ran thru the anger. The anger pushed me farther, and faster. I was angry that I had cancer. I was angry that I had lost my Dad. I was angry that my Mom had cancer. I was angry at the people who kept telling me I looked great with no hair. I was angry at the people who tried to help me, and angry at the people who didn't seem to be helping. Yet if you were close to me during this time you probably never saw me very angry. Running fixed it. Running made it better. Running made me feel alive. I was so Happy to see a sunrise, hear a bird sing, see a flower bloom. Happy to have the chance to live another day, to fight another fight, and happy to be alive. Sadly, the answer to her question was False. But she left that day with a new perspective on how running can affect your emotional well being. Anyone who runs already knows this. Running still makes it better. Two years later I am still running, and I still run to see the beautiful sunrise to make me feel grateful to live another day, happy to be alive.

I run because I can. I am still alive.


  1. thanks for sharing this incredible story -- it has definately helped me deal with a few struggles this morning and overall lack of motivation. have fun this weekend at the apple festival. love me some picnic lunches! :)

  2. wow--what an amazing and inspirational story! I definitely would have folded under those circumstances. I'm going over to her blog to check it out right now.