A beautiful day…a lovely walk…

Last Sunday our house woke up to a cool brisk morning air and to a determination to reach out to others in support. It was the morning of the Chicago Marathon but I had a marathon of my own.

The Cancer Support Center in Homewood and Mokena has given me, and so many others, resources and encouragement. I wanted to complete their Walk for Hope. The Walk for Hope was a 1, 3, and 5 mile walk through lovely downtown Homewood. Now I knew I could do the 1 mile. Kevin and I have been walking our circle neighborhood mile all summer, sometimes a mile and a half. I’ve only done 2 miles once since my surgery, so I was hesitate about the 3 mile walk. Also the previous Sunday, I chose to wear new shoes to work. Walking from church to the school and back several times created four blisters on the back of my feet. I have been wearing sandals all week to allow them to heal before the walk. But since my platelets are low, it seems like my blood was not clotting as easily and therefore the blisters did not seem to heal as quickly. Or was it just my impatience? I tried my gym shoes on Friday and they rubbed right on the blisters,” just keep praying, Janet”.

But God knows my heart, He would overcome any obstacles for His glory and I knew that. Some people were concerned the day might be too cold for me or it would be too long for me, but I trusted and released the day into Gods hands. I’ll stop at one mile if I need to and would not attempt the walk at all if it was raining or no sun and too cold. But I trusted.

And He always prevails! Sunday morning was brisk, but the four of us bundled up with scarves and hats. I was most concerned about my neck and the cold. My long hair usually kept my neck warm and I did not want to be chilled because my hat and fleece did not do the job as well.  So I grabbed a winter scarf, which may have been too much, but nothing was not a choice for “bald-headed” me.

Saturday, my sister-in-law called to say she had seen the walk at the Cancer Support website and was walking in my honor. Jaclyn told her we were going too and would meet up in the morning!

So off Kevin, Jaclyn, Zachary and I went. Oh yeah, Jaclyn’s is home this week for her school fall break! The perks of being a teacher!

There were so many people filling the Irwin Center grassy area, close to a thousand people came out in support of this organizations and someone they love. I received my first survivors recognition and a beautiful necklace that shouts “Spirit, Strength, Hope, Courage”. Amazing experience! I filled out my walkers name tag, I walk for “a cure”. And turned around to read the others. Tears flowed to my eyes as I read …I walk for “my beautiful Momma; my wife, the love of my life; my courageous mom; my little sister; my loving sister-in-law”. We asked someone to snap our picture together, as you can see here. Don explained that his fanny pack was not a purse, it was European (for all you Seinfield fans)! It was the joking point of the day! Of course Jaclyn uploaded the pic to Facebook and we saw that my nephew in Denver posted a pic for a Strides against Cancer walk he was participating in for his stepmother’s three-year survival and ME! Another beautiful surprise! I am so blessed!

As we walked, Kevin offered to complete the one mile with me as everyone else finished the three-mile, but God had other plans. The day was beautiful, the conversations we were having were wonderful and the time passed easily. At the one mile turn, I felt great, my heels were not hurting and my stamina was good. And Mindy and I were talking about the great restaurants in Homewood, so I pushed forward.

Seeing that we were walking down Dixie Highway for about 3/4 of a mile, I figured I can always turn back if the walk became too much. As we walked we rotated, I had a great conversation with Mindy, although we laughed at how hungry we were getting talking about restaurants for half an hour…but now I have a new repertoire of establishments to try. Don and I talked of family, friends and work, catching up on each others lives. I spent time in the sun and fresh air with my amazing adult children and husband laughing. I made the three miles easily and with a huge smile on my face! The Lord’s plan worked out perfectly, as always.

After hitting the local Blueberry Hill for breakfast/lunch together, we went home. Well the beautiful morning ended with an afternoon on the couch. My feet were okay, but the walk and fresh air took it out of me, in a good way. My spirits were on a high all day!

My stamina was something to be desired, long gone is the woman who ran 3-5 miles. The knees are older and the body more resistant. But friends who ran the marathon are my inspiration too, I refuse to let this diagnosis determine what I am capable of.

The extra fifteen pounds which chemo, steroids and recovery has added to my body will be shed. A healthy, active lifestyle is around the corner. When the final round of chemo ends, God willing, on October 18, a new chapter begins.

I know, I know, I still have treatments through August 2013, but my hair should start growing and my blood should start rebuilding its strength back and I will begin to strive once again. Fatigue will continue through the next ten months, but my spirit can’t be squashed!

So congratulations to the Chicago marathon athletes, what an amazing achievement. And a heartfelt thanks to my family for helping me with my three-mile achievement!

‘Do not fear, for I am with you;  Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10

Grace embraced through the amazing survivors and supporters that shared a beautiful day celebrating life and the work of the Cancer Support Center. And in a special way through my brother and sister-in-law, my children and my husband supporting and uplifting me all morning!

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