Although I have always been adverse to putting my own business “on the street” by blogging about my personal life and loved ones, I can no longer avoid my own experience with cancer. It has been the impetus for my involvement with this “Ride for the Relay” cancer fundraiser and why I am traveling with 85 bikers down Route 66. This past March, I underwent 6 weeks of fractured radiation treatment for a benign but rapidly growing menengioma near my pituitary gland. It was a grueling ordeal which has left me with some lasting side effects. I am grateful I was not fighting for my life but instead forestalling potential crises down the road (early dementia, seizures, migraines). But the experience destroyed my blithe illusions that I would live forever and my good health was a given. From now on, being healthy is a daily commitment supported by diet, exercise and attitude. The lazy passivity of my youth towards my health was no longer an option if I wanted to feel in control of my life.
I chose to partner with MaryAnne Erickson during this journey because she is a tireless entrepreneur. Unlike me, she bounds out of bed at dawn full of projects to accomplish including taking care of her health as well as her other obligations and creative projects. I need to learn how to balance all aspects of my life and what better way than to spend 336 hours non-stop with a human dynamo? It seems the secret to her success is to do a little bit at a time. In the past, I would easily be overwhelmed by the enormity of tasks I had to do that I would end up doing none if them. However the best resort is to break each task down into minute components and just do a few pieces at a time. For example, I had a press release and a newsletter for my new gallery to complete during the time I have been traveling. Rather than take 5 hours off our journey and work on this in the hotel room, Or worse, leave it until I returned and it would be too late, I instead spent 15 minutes with my morning coffee updating an email list, a half hour at a rest stop composing content, 20 minutes after a swim formatting pictures…until the two newsletters were ready to send! This may also have been what my 30 short bursts of radiation have taught me: each 20 minute treatment represented very little but the cumulative result is what accomplished the job of killing the tumor.
Another thing I learned about this project is that it is easy to raise a lot of money for a cause in small increments. Mary Anne and I set a goal of $5,000 and we accomplished our fundraising 5.00 at a time. It helps that the cause is life threatening and anyone you talk to, any income strata, any ethnicity, any gender or age, have had their lives affected by this perverse cellular disorder. But our friends (and friends of friends) gave what they could and these small numbers added up! Our companions on this cross country trip have done the same and our diverse group has been able to raise 35K for the American Cancer Society in time for our 3,000 mile trek across America.
By the way, it’s not too late to donate! Our site is still taking money: http://bit.ly/66fund