Trek Women
September 25, 2008

Can I Use My "Phone A Friend?"

Telephone I've been busy preparing for the Trek WSD Breast Cancer Awareness Ride on October 11th.  At the shop I have been put in charge of the whole thing (how's that for trust 3 weeks on the job?)  So, while it was easy for me to deal with things like flyers, website promotion and food ordering, creating routes for a 10 mile and 25 mile ride has been a little intimidating.

The area surrounding the shop doesn't have the most "cycling friendly" roads.  And, because the ride is meant to be casual and welcoming to everyone of all abilities, I want to ensure that everyone will feel comfortable (and address all those "how many hills?" questions I've been getting.)

So, yesterday I came into the shop with my bike and then headed out to scope out some roads and tentative routes.  Twenty-one miles later I had experienced roads that dead-ended (geez Google Maps - you coulda told me!), roads that were entirely too trafficked, and roads that were just not that scenic to ride.  In my frustration with the routes I thought would be fine, I made a key error in judgment.  I decided to explore additional areas, not necessarily knowing where they would lead.  Twenty minutes later I was completely lost.  I should have known better - some of the housing developments in this area are notorious for circular streets and confusing layouts that leave you turned around without clear direction on where the main roads lie. 

I had no map, I had no fancy GPS device.  What I had instead was my lifeline  - the phone-a-friend.  I always carry my cell phone when I am out riding.  It slips easily into a jersey pocket and you just never know when you might have that sudden weather, flat, or mechanical issue that you just can't handle.  Luckily, my phone address book is chock-full of friends who work with or near readily available computers to help navigate me and (this is key here) not laugh at me or question why I need them to Google Map me out of somewhere.  It only took two calls for me to find a friend at their computer who could lead me out of my mess.  Turns out I was less than a mile from where I needed to be but the phone-a-friend lifeline saved me another 30 minutes of riding in circles. . .

-Jen

PS.  The phone-a-friend also works when you need advice on why you just can't seem to get the stinkin' pedals off your bike.  (I speak from experience!)

September 23, 2008

What Women Want

What women want - what a totally loaded blog title.  I know, your minds are already reeling so let me give you some focus.  Today, Scott, the owner of Bucks County Bicycle will head to Las Vegas for Interbike.  Interbike is North America's largest bike trade show.  If it's part of the biking world it will be at Interbike.   Scott will be looking at all the latest and greatest in the cycling world, from bikes to clothes and all the parts in between.  He will be making decisions that will affect what is stocked in the store for the coming year. 

Okay, so what does that have to do with what women want?  Well, I've already told Scott he needs to think and shop like a woman if he wants to become a store that is woman friendly and can cater to the woman's cycling world.  Women look for different things, shop differently and expect stores to be friendly to them.  How many times have you gone to a store and immediately made a snap judgment based on the look or layout of the store.  So, my job here (or at least I've decided it will be) - to be outspoken about how to create a woman-friendly bike store.   Anyway, here's your chance to have a say. . .   What types of products, tri or otherwise, clothing or gear do you wish the "perfect woman-friendly bike shop" would have?  We all know that there aren't local tri-specific retailers on every corner - make that hardly any corners - so we are all used to the Internet shopping game for our gadgets, gear and a lot of times clothes (how horrendous is that when you have to order a bunch of stuff based on a size chart and then do the frustrating "try on, send back" game).

So, ladies, have your say.  Close your eyes and imagine your perfect bike/tri store. . . .  What do you want?  From little to big, to colors or designs, tell me what you want. . .

-Jen

PS.  I'll be passing the comments on to Scott - especially as he will be figuring out what clothes to stock for the coming year.

September 20, 2008

Triathlon Pet Peeve #2

I heard it again just last week in the bike shop - Triathlon Pet Peeve #2.  It happens when someone inquires about triathlons and what I do.  They don't know much about it (sometimes they think it's a marathon - see Triathlon Pet Peeve #1).  They inquire about distances.  And then they open their mouth and out it comes. . . "Oh, so you've done a mini-triathlon."  NO, NO, NO. . . .

There is nothing "mini" about a triathlon.  There are four classic triathlon distances:  Sprint, Olympic (sometimes called International or Long Course), Half-Iron, and Ironman.  None of them is called "mini."   In my mind, referring to my Sprint races as "mini," somehow implies that they are something less than what they are and have required no effort - a whim, something I just decided to do on a random weekend morning  .  Let's face facts people - triathlon is an endurance sport requiring training in three different disciplines.  The sport has grown tremendously in recent years but still, if I were a betting girl, I would say that over 95% of people couldn't do one, sprint or not.

When it comes to sprint distance, it may be shorter, but I am still actually trying to sprint the distance.  Given our couch potato society, anyone who covers the distance, at any speed deserves MAJOR (not mini) kudos for the effort involved.  So, whenever I hear the word "mini" associated with my races, you will be sure to get a "mini" lesson from me on race distances and triathlon terminology. . .

-Jen

PS.  I would never even call a kids triathlon "mini" - the distance and effort is still huge, and appropriately scaled, for a kid.

 

September 19, 2008

Bad Mood: Race Report Part II

Img_3329_2 At the end of the race I told a friend that, before the race, in addition to my number on my arms, they should have written "BAD MOOD" across my forehead.  I was in a bad mood at the start of the race and it didn't change much throughout.  Whether or not that mood was evident in my race performance is up for debate.  My incredibly long race report follows. . . .

The previous day had started in a frenzy, in part due to my procrastination and in part due to the discovery of a partially inoperable front derailleur on my bike.  It was moving, just not enough to help shift me to the big ring.  In a sweaty flurry of last minute packing I sped to the bike shop for a quick adjustment.  I thought I knew what to adjust but, as always, was worried that if I touched a screw, the entire bike would fall apart in a heap.  After a quick 5 minute adjustment I was on the road to the Expo.  An hour plus into the drive,  my car dashboard lit up in a myriad of lights.  Three hours, ten phone calls, and one tow truck later, my friend Amy who was also racing,  met me at the Honda dealership with her bike rack.  Um, no.  My tri bike geometry wouldn't work on the type of rack she had.  So, I was stuck trying to devise a way to get my tri bike in the back of a Chevy Cobalt rental car, which felt like trying to compress a Monster truck to fit in the back of a Smart car.

Amy kept me calm and I got to the race Expo with 45 minutes left to get my numbers and chip.   I knew that mentally and emotionally I was teetering on an edge - the edge where the crisis has passed and then comes the breakdown.  It was then I discovered that the race course had been changed. . . .  The new course had a transition area that was 1/2 mile away from the swim course - a half mile along a poorly paved, slightly pitted and gravelly road.  The run course had been altered as well.  My mood worsened.

After a pasta dinner with friends I settled in at the hotel to organize my stuff and get some rest.  Rumor had it that water temp was in the mid-60's so I knew I would use my wetsuit even though I had only the brief swim practice in South Carolina in June.  I had zero speed wetsuit-stripping practice so the thought of me tripping while hobbling around like a penguin, wetsuit stuck at my ankles, trying to transition seemed like a distinct possibility.

Race morning dawned muggy when we headed out.  As we entered the National Park traffic came to a standstill.  I called Amy and I joked that she was the only one I could call at 4:40 in the morning.  Turns out the parking volunteers hadn't realized that Dunkin Donuts wouldn't be open for coffee as early as need be because we all drove around in circles before someone showed up able to point the way to parking.  In trying to remove my bike and reassemble it, something became off - suddenly my wheel was rubbing and seemed out of true.  I consoled myself with the fact that my Trek Demo girls, Lindsay and Chris would fix me up. 

I got set up in transition and then had Lindsay and Chris fix my bike.  When I got back to my spot people were still waiting to get into transition and the announcer was already asking people to head down the road to the swim course.  The bike rack was jammed and so I found a new spot which required dragging all my stuff from one location to the next.  I then liberally, very liberally (thanks to Lori for the advice), applied BodyGlide to my ankles so to ease wetsuit removal.  I got zipped in and felt aggravated.  I was simply in a terrible mood.  I just wanted the race to be over.  I couldn't find Coach Tom or my friend Ronni - both of whom I knew would at least make me laugh.  When I went to call Ronni to find out if they were stuck in spectator traffic I found that my cell phone was missing from its holder on my tri bag strap.  AGGGHHHH.  My mood worsened - again!

Finally, I was standing at the swim start, departing 1 minute after the elite racers.  We had a running start from the beach and once we hit the water I was so glad for the wetsuit.  A small pack took off fast and I quickly knew there was no way I was going to keep up.  As I swam I kept telling myself the lead pack had to be 19 year olds - found out later they were around 16 or 17.  Fairly quickly I had a Michael Phelps-like wardrobe malfunction that let a small amount of salt water in one side of my goggles.  This left me breathing only to one side so that the salt would stop swishing back and forth as much.  The bay was more calm this year and I finished the swim not nearly as sea-sick feeling as last year.  I came out of the water in about 14 minutes and began the long run to transition.  I was wearing my watch and as I got to transition I saw that it had taken me 3 minutes to get there.  I was able to get the wetsuit off and cycling gear on.  It was then I started wrestling to unrack my bike.  For some reason, the racks were short this year - really short.  In order to get my bike racked initially I had needed to tilt my bike sideways quite a bit to get it under the rack.  (Other racers agreed that we did not have abnormally tall bikes - it was the racks that were to blame.) Now, given how crammed the racks were I had no sideways play.  A volunteer, clearly sensing that if I didn't get my bike out soon, a lot of other bikes would go down, ran over and helped me.    The bike course was empty - the elites were far enough out and I had been in the second pack of swimmers in the second wave.  This was the one leg I mentally had prepared to master.  I really wanted to hit that 20 mph avg bike leg.  Within 2 miles I knew it wasn't going to happen.  I was getting headwind and my legs felt like lead - I wasn't sure if it was because of the barefoot 1/2 mile run.   The turnaround was very narrow and once I made that I started hoping for some serious help from the wind on the way back to transition.  What I got instead was traffic on the course. . . .

The return course has a very slight downhill to it so I was improving my speed.  Then I started yelling, "On your left. ON YOUR LEFT!"  The course was still empty of other racers.  Instead, if was now filled with spectators walking in from some far away parking lots.  I veered around a single file line.  Then I veered wider around a double-wide jogging stroller (yes, double-wide).  And then, a woman with a walker - yes, a walker,  decided to cross the street - SERIOUSLY (I couldn't make this up if I tried).  I felt like I was in some cross between triathlon and that Frogger video game from the 80's.

I was actually excited to get to transition for the run, which given my usual feeling about running would seem odd.  But, I knew that the run was it and I would be done soon.  I knew I wasn't having my usual fun with a race.  I transitioned fast - so fast that volunteers were actually clapping and yelling, "Great transition!"  (And yes, this was still with tying my laces - next year Lace Locks, I swear.)

The run course was fairly empty, save the sound of my heavy breathing.  I spent at least a half mile using all the mental energy I had to calm my breathing and relax my muscles into the run - a tough bike/run transition was my doing - I had barely done any brick workouts all summer.  One mile in - my slowest mile - an elite racer passed me.  A few steps later, another elite.  What was going on here?  Was I actually beating some elite racers?  I thought I was at the time. In reality, I later figured out that they were on their second loop of the 1.5 mile run course while I was on the first.  But, mentally I didn't know that at the time.  I got around the first loop back to the spectator area and saw Coach Tom.  He yelled at me that I was in the top ten racers then and I should get a move on.  Again, a slight misnomer when you consider the hundreds of racers with their own chips starting behind me but mentally that was what I needed.  I picked up the pace. . .  As I rounded the second loop I started yelling at the volunteers "FINISH LINE, FINISH LINE. . . ." as they were directing most people around the same curve toward the second loop that I had been on previously.  ( I REALLY wanted to be done and not end up on a third loop, charting my own special race course).  I made a left turn which took me toward the finish.  I was able to pick it up but not catch the girl that flew by me (darn!) and I crossed the finish line to the sound of my name and Ronni and Tom waiting for me. 

My times were decent.  My run pace improved so I was pleased with that although I still have some disappointment in my bike leg pace.  This race doesn't have a finish line clock so, while my watch told me approximately what my finish was I wanted actual results.  It took awhile but eventually they were posted and I was shocked to find that given the mood I was in and what I felt was a mediocre race for me that I had placed 12th in my age group.  So, did the bad mood work for me?  I don't think so.  While I feel I was still able to race well given all the challenges of the weekend, I don't do this for cash, prizes or age group placement (well, not exactly).  I still want to have fun when I race and the fun was absent for me that day and that disappointed me most.  So, I know I will do this race again next year and I hope for  a few things then 1) a working car  2) a more enjoyable race and 3) that elusive 20+ mph bike leg and 4) perhaps cracking the top 10 in may age group. . .

-Jen

Final Time:  1:17:12
Swim:  14:03;   T1: 4:21   Bike:  29:52 (19.0 mph)   T2:  0:38  Run:  28:15 (9:06/mi)

And here's the kicker, given my mood:  12th in my age group!  (125/1517 overall)

PS.  If you've gotten this far I must tell you that when I got back to my rental car my cell phone was sitting on the roof.  It must have fallen off near the car and some nice racer put in on the roof.  Thanks to whoever you are. . .

September 17, 2008

An Omen: Race Report Part I

Let's start at the end:  The Danskin Women's race director says to me, after the race, "Is this the third thing?"

Now, let's go back to the beginning.. . .

1)  Rushing around on Saturday morning, I take my bike up and down the street before loading it on to my bike rack and find that my front derailleur isn't working.

2)  On the way to the Expo to get my race numbers and chip (and hang out at the Trek booth), my 2008 less-than-a-year old car breaks down and I am stuck on the side of the road.

3)  Race morning I lose me cell phone, on the ground and in the dark,somewhere in 2,000 women racers and 5,000+ spectators

And this is all before I get to the starting line. . . .

-Jen

September 13, 2008

Cheerleader

Cheerleader_4 I was never a cheerleader.  The splits, the jumps, the dancing coordination - not in my repertoire.  But, increasingly I find myself in that role for my kids (minus the splits, jumps, dancing and pom-pons).  Sometimes you have to be overly enthusiastic about something (say, playing soccer in the rain) to get your kids on board.  Last week, during the first week of school exhaustion was just such a time.  Sports programs decided that practices would start last week as well, adding further chaos to the routine.  It was only the third day of school and the exhaustion of the new routine was weighing on all of us. The new bus driver got lost - twice - on the way home and the boys were 30 minutes late.   In my best mommy-sing-song voice I hugged them, asked about their day and then started cheerleading about  needing to leave for soccer in 20 minutes.   Brendan burst into tears.  "I'm NOT ready for it to be soccer yet.  I'm NOT excited.  I am NOT pumped. . . "

I know how he feels.  Tomorrow is my final triathlon of the season - the Danskin Women's in Sandy Hook, NJ.    Right now, I am NOT ready.  I am NOT excited and I am NOT pumped.   Between the shingles, the vacation and the start of school and new routines this triathlon feels out of place and an aberration to the new schedule.  September always feels like the start of the year to me - my own personal January 1st.  It seems like the time to plan for a new year, set new goals and adjust to new routines.  In my mind, summer is the time for triathlons and summer definitely feels over.

I realized that while I do a good job of cheerleading for my kids, it doesn't mean as an adult I don't need the same thing.  So, I called a couple friends yesterday and confided my flagging enthusiasm.  They focused me, made me laugh and reminded me of the fun I've had at this race the past two years.  We all need friends like this - the ones who no matter the situation can pick us up and find the way to cheerlead us through our stuck points.  This race is the same race where I experienced my first triathlon finish line and many of my friends who raced with me two years ago will be racing again tomorrow.   So, this morning I am packing my  stuff, loading the car and am looking forward to laughing and catching up with a bunch of friends at 4 AM in the dark tomorrow.  And somewhere in all that we will swim, bike and run and people will cheer for us.  The energy of 2,000 racing women WILL make me pumped, proud and once again amazed at what I can do with this body.  See you at the finish line . . .

-Jen

September 12, 2008

Black and White with Spots

Dalmatian   What is black and white with spots?  No, this isn't the start of a joke.  The correct answer is my scan.  Wait!  Before you gasp (like I almost did), let me explain.  I was in to see my oncologist for the 3-month, as you all know.  She had what I'd like to call  the look - the look that says we're going to have the talk.  Turns out she's exhausted, her daughter hates her kindergarten teacher and she'd just gotten a call from the school nurse.  Momentarily I was brought back to reality that yes, oncologists are people too.

Turns out that my scan and its results are not as black and white, pun intended, as we originally thought.  In my mind, it has always been cancer cells light up, regular cells don't.  Apparently, there is some subjective analysis there.  Darn!  I like the clear cut, no cancer here, definitive stuff.  Some cells lit up in my neck - the subjective analysis being that it is right where I had the huge reactive lymph node due to the shingles on the face.  So, the good news is that I am still being declared in remission!  The not so great news is that my Immune Deficiency Report - don't you love that name?  It sounds like I am being sent to the Principal's office - show that my T-cells (thereby a huge chunk of my immune system) are still low.  So, here we are a year and a half since that last drop of chemo and my body still isn't whatever "normal" is.  That's the price you pay.  I'm being kept on a short leash and will report back to the scanner 3 months from now on my birthday weekend - the one that will remind me that this has been almost 4 years and will last well beyond that.

Hopefully by December my oncologists daughter will love kindergarten and the smile on her face will exude the joy of another scan declaring remission!

-Jen

September 11, 2008

Fifteen Years

Img_3326 Fifteen years ago I was eighteen years old and headed to college convinced that I had "the plan" for my life all worked out.  I was determined in my pre-med major for college and felt I knew exactly how it would all work out. 

Here I am fifteen years later and I know that my former, younger self would laugh if asked to consider the possibilities of where I am now.   (Perhaps it all started when organic chemistry and I just couldn't get along.)

Fifteen years later I am a woman who has been happily married for ten years to my best friend, I have two wonderful boys who keep me constantly on my toes with their questions and curiosities - on my best day I learn at least five new things from them and for them, I have listened to a doctor tell me that I have cancer - twice, I have become a triathlete and challenged my body in ways I never knew possible and I have become a Woman Who Rides for Trek.    The list of changes, challenges and even sometimes defeats that I never envisioned goes on and on.  (And while I didn't become a doctor, let's just say that I'm an active part of the medical community!)

Change continues to occur for me and for our household.  Back to school last week brought change for all of us as we started a new year with some new routines and different challenges.  I too am part of that change.  For the first time in 9 years I am working where someone gives me a paycheck (For the past 9 years it has always been a struggle to find the right answer when I get the question, Do you work?  My answer has varied but most often I settled on, Yes, but no one writes me a paycheck.)  So, what, you ask, am I doing?  Drumroll please. . .I am working for Trek Dealer Bucks County Bicycle.  When owner Scott and I got to know each other last year before the Trek WSD Breast Cancer Awareness Ride, I never  thought that almost exactly a year later I would be working for a bike shop on event planning and learning the volume of things that I don't yet know about the world of cycling.

I am quite rusty at the concept of going to work and it makes me laugh when Jeff or the kids ask me, "How was work today?"  Funny how that was never asked before.

I won't sit and lecture you  - or me for that matter - with the platitude that "change is good."  Not all changes are.  Sometimes they just stink.  Cancer more than stinks but in the evolution of what has happened since then I have found changes that I couldn't have imagined but so many of which I am now grateful. 

None of us really like or welcome change.  We might say we do but we are programmed to be wary of that which we don't know.  It's just how we're built.  Change is challenging and well, most often, we like the easy, not scary way.  The amount of times I have said, "Um, I don't know in the first two days of work at the bike shop has got to be some kind of record.  I don't have the right words or perfect phrase that can encapsulate an attitude or life philosophy that can incorporate leaving room, in both mind and daily life, for openness to the unknown and the sometimes scary.  Maybe it's about the willingness to leap into the unknown.  What I do know is that I wouldn't have been able to know or say that fifteen years ago. . . .

Off to work. . . .

-Jen

September 8, 2008

Portland is____________

Fill in the blank. Portland is________. If you answered bikes you are correct! When Jeff and I flew to Portland, knowing only that we like the Pacific Northwest and that Portland has been ranked by Bicycling magazine as the #1 cycling city in America, we had no idea.

We got our rental car, because a few days later we were going to make the 3 hour drive to Seattle. We headed to downtown Portland to try and find a bite to eat and just get a feel for the city. Even though it was dark we quickly knew we were in a bike mecca. Cyclists were everywhere on the city streets. While Jeff drove I became the de-facto cyclist spotter, mostly for safety reasons. We are so unused to bike lanes where we live that we felt it best to have one of us watching the bike signs and lanes while the other drove.

The next day, Jeff and I joined the locals and we rented hybrid bikes to cruise the city. Armed with a bike map that seemed to have more places to ride than drive we headed for some key tourist stops that were recommended by the bike shop.  We rode up to Washington Park and stopped at the International Rose Test Garden.  Holy cow!  We now knew why Portland is called the city of roses.  We are not rose gardeners but anyone could appreciate the beauty of fields of roses of all varieties.  Rose varieties all get tested here before they are approved for commercial growing. The entire garden is kept that beautiful with only two employees - the rest is done by volunteers.  We then headed further up the hill to the Portland Japanese Garden.  We had read that this was the best Japanese Garden representation outside of Japan.  The five gardens within it were amazing and we did walk around in an almost zen type state admiring the horticulture of the place.

Later, we rode back into the heart of the city and headed across the Hawthorne bridge to go to Mount Tabor Park, site of a former volcanic cone.  We found more interesting bike signage for crossing the bridge because there were actually bike "on ramps" depending on which direction you were traveling.  We got to Mt. Tabor Park and I was pooped and chafed from being on a rental bike.  I grudgingly committed to riding to the top because I was really intrigued by the concept of former volcanic cone.  I pedaled up those hills and got to the top to find. . . . some grass and trees.  Someone sold me a bill of goods on that one.  I expected to see something that looked, well, volcanic.  The only thing I had going for me at that point was the knowledge that it was all downhill to get back.

On the way back, prior to getting to the bridge, we suddenly started spotting big groups of riders.  The funny part was it was immediately clear that none of them were really together.  No one was in "bike clothes."  Then I looked at my watch.  Bike rush hour home!

We had a terrific day exploring Portland but there had been something bothering me all day long.  It was the nod.  Here at home, we have something I call "the nod."  It's that quick knowing nod of the head when two cyclists pass each other on the road.  It's a silent acknowledgment of sorts to how great cycling is and the thought that as cyclists were looking out for each other because our numbers are relatively small - especially in comparison to the monster-SUV's.  In Portland, no one nodded at me.  I smiled, I gave nods and hello's.  It took me until seeing the bike rush hour to realize that Portland cyclists don't do this because there need be no acknowledgment of their small number.  Their numbers aren't small.  In Portland, its not special or unique to be out on a bike.  You're not part of a small select group.  Everywhere we looked people of all ages and sizes were on bikes. Bike lanes were everywhere, special green painted boxes for cyclists to be up front at traffic lights were on a number of city streets, bike racks were on every corner, all buses had bike racks, and the light rail had hooks for anyone to wheel their bike aboard and hang it up.

The next day we headed out to the Oregon coast and the Tillamook Cheese Factory where I had the best homemade ice cream I think I've ever tasted.  (I'm still lamenting there was no way to bring any home).  Jeff and I then headed to Seattle and spent a couple of days there, including biking around Bainbridge Island.  I couldn't figure out why it seemed the bike rental guy was mocking us with phrases like, "Here's Bunker Hill Road - it'll be interesting to see if you make it."  Then I rode around Bainbridge Island - they have a road named Toe Jam Hill for a reason.

Bicycling magazine cites that Seattle is really annoyed that Portland, their neighbor city to the South is ranked #1 in cycling cities.  Seattle would really like to unseat Portland's #1 spot.  Having spent time in both cities this trip I can say that both cities are far and away more bike friendly than where I live but I think Seattle has its work cut out for it.  Portland may be named the City of Roses but if you go there you'll find that Portland IS bikes.

-Jen

September 5, 2008

A Force and a Stand

Header_logo I have keen cancer super-powers. I can spot a scarf-covered or baseball cap covered head, bald from the effects of chemo, at local malls, pools, or parks. I can give you a rough estimate of the number of people in a crowded area sporting LIVESTRONG yellow bracelets. And for every person I meet who learns my cancer story, without fail I learn their own personal story of how cancer has touched their life.

Maybe I don't have superpowers. Maybe I notice these things because they are becoming a much greater norm than not. Cancer is everywhere. Since I was first diagnosed with lymphoma three years ago I have come to know so many cancer survivors. Our numbers get bigger everyday.

For those keeping score, another 3 months have passed and today I headed to the hospital for the scan.  I dutifully fasted, missed my morning coffee, fought rush hour, watched the metal cylinder protecting everyone else from its radioactive contents cover the injection tubing snaking into my arm, drank down my additionally radioactive barium, waited, and then laid on that narrow metal slab for an hour.  All for the pleasure of knowing whether my body is failing the war inside: cancer vs. no cancer.

Sometimes it just feels like enough is enough.  And yet, cancer patients and survivors march through the days of treatments, side-effects and after effects hoping that someday, sooner rather than later, some doctor will look them in the eye and say, "We know how to cure this."  At least that's what I tell my doctor - "just keep working.  Keep doing whatever you need to do to put me in remission again and again until you can fix this once and for all."

Well, I am feeling that tonight we all are ready to say enough is enough.  An organization called Stand Up To Cancer has been founded to do just that.  Tonight at 8 PM ET/PT (7 PM CT), ABC, NBC and CBS networks will simultaneously broadcast, commercial free, an hour of over 50 renowned names in entertainment, sports and music to raise funds for cancer research.  The funds raised will be administered by the American  Association for Cancer Research who will work to identify and build "dream teams" of researchers working on cancer problems and work to eliminate bureaucratic obstacles in the way of real progress to the end of cancer. 

The Stand Up To Cancer Mission Statement begins:

"Here we stand, on the verge of unlocking the answers that will finally conquer the devastation that is cancer. . ."  and later continues with,

"This is where the end of cancer begins:  when we unite in one unstoppable movement and Stand Up to Cancer. . ."

These words are incredibly moving to me in their clarity and simplicity of purpose.  As I tune in tonight I am hoping that all of us touched by cancer will feel less alone in our quest for a cure and we will become the one united force that will fulfill this mission.

-Jen