Archive for acs

10lbs, drugs, politicians, money, boots and music – it’s probably not what you think.

Posted in cancer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2015 by runmyssierun

What a day! What a week! What a month it has been! Too much awesomeness for me to write about in full detail and you know how I abhor vague, cryptic messages!!!

So here’s the summary:

Lost 10 pounds. 10 more to go to fit and perform best in my wetsuit and run light for Ironman.

Sissy’s anniversary was miracle driven. <—ok, so that’s cryptic. Sorry. Not Sorry.

Because of a new job, traveling back and forth (insert a myriad of flamboyant excuses here including the Pope’s visit to America) I have only been able to train with the TEAM on weekends. I have good days and bad days, decreased my caffeine intake and heart rate levels, increased my distance and endurance times. pace is still pathetic and no longer publicly posting my workout paces because I feel extremely awkward when being compared amongst people I thought were my friends. I am not your competition. You are not my competition. I am MY own competition.

The halls of congress are busy with activists begging legislators to co-sponsor the CANCER DRUG COVERAGE PARITY ACT to ensure that cancer patients can afford to receive treatment. I’ll post a letter at the end so that you can copy, paste, sign and send to your representative in Congress.

The above is a result of this happening in the cancer treatment industry (I was one of the lobbyists that was part of the movement last year talked about in this article):

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/09/24/why-big-pharma-hates-martin-shkreli-too/

I had a meeting this week that started out business and ended up being almost three hours long with some of the most phenomenal women in the Valley who have beat cancer and a couple of others who have dedicated much of their lives and talent to help others beat cancer. I should have taken a selfie of the group. There I was, sipping lemonade with Sylvia Fortuin, Fran Prukop, Melissa Smith, Stacy Madden and silly ol’ me. With all that these women at this table have endured and conquered, something as trivial as the enigma of world peace could be strategized, executed and pinned perfectly on pinterest by next Tuesday without a single hair out of place if given the challenge. We talked a bit about cancer but spoke mostly of God with smiles on all our faces. Interesting, huh?

And the grand highlight was being honored at the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron’s Ball for the promise I made to Momma and Sissy. Every single emotion a human being can have was experienced there in that ball room but I exited with only one… GRATITUDE.

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But the really cool thing was that the opening band, COSTELLO, came back after the preview party a few months ago and DONATED themselves as a musical entertainment act for the cause after hearing my story.  Which goes to show that all of us can do something, anything for the cause because we all have value. I may not be super rich and be able to buy a cure and I may not be super smart and be able to invent a cure but I can run, albeit very slowly, and I can swim – or at least float or dog paddle any crazy long distance, and I can ride til the sun sets… and in some cases, til the sun rises. This is what I can do to make a difference. It may not be much but if you put together the little that I can do with the little that you can do and the little that everyone else can do.. together, we can change it all. For good.

So with that… I have to share with you COSTELLO‘s newest single and video that was just premiered a couple of days ago! it’s also available to download for free on their website! Thank them for their kind gesture by giving them a listen, d/l’ing their song, and requesting them on your local country music radio station like KTEX-100 and liking and following them on social media!!! @Costellotxmusic

Momma would have been over the moon! Thank you all for helping me keep my promise to her.

TO BE AN ADVOCATE FOR CANCER PATIENTS CLICK HERE TO EMAIL YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

Her last wish: She said “Run for me”. So I did and I never stopped.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2015 by runmyssierun
Some runners measure their success in time, others in distance... mine was in keeping a promise.

Some runners measure their success in time, others in distance… mine was in keeping a promise.

Last night I was asked to tell my story at the “kick-off” party for ACS’s annual Cattle Baron’s Ball. From the moment I walked up the stairs to the event, I felt a gush of sweat trickling down my back. I was a big ball of nerves. I hate crying and I knew that by sharing my story to this group, I would eventually burst out into sobs… and not those Hollywood glamorous slow motion tear drops gracefully gliding down a single cheek… I’m talking full blown Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer blaring red neck with slimy boogers gushing outta my nostrils and the black mascara smudged down my face kind of train wreck. So as I approached the microphone, I apologized in advance. I hope it was sufficient for them… because all the above happened. I told my story… skimmed through some parts… forgot others.. purposely didn’t talk about that…and wrapped it up before I made a complete fool of myself in public… and then walked off stage. Dad was in the audience. Knowing he was there made me nervous and safe at the same time. George, the chairman for the event announced that Mark Chesnutt will be performing live for the Cattle Baron’s Ball with Costello opening up for them.  The band then performed some songs for the group there and closed with “After that speech, we’ve decided to donate the portion that we are being paid to perform back to the cause!” 11391191_10155671548305068_5516012634173941912_n costello cattlebarons 11391747_10155671362385068_2101660274164910459_n 11392989_10155671361745068_5148268348846252956_n I was floored!!! Lack’s Furniture donated $25,000.00 to support transportation services for those who need assistance getting to and from treatment. And so many others also stepped up to do what they could… This evening my cup runneth over. This… this is what Momma prayed for. It’s all coming together.

A Starry Night

Posted in cancer, Mom with tags , , , , , , , on May 15, 2015 by runmyssierun

I got a text on my phone over lunch… “call me at your earliest convenience”

Hmmm…. in the business of my business, this means “Call me NOW” in the most polite way possible. So I called immediately. It was from the American Cancer Society office. Miss Lovely advised me that there were some changes in the event, program and promotion of Cattle Baron’s Ball…

She sent this link to me

https://www.yumpu.com/en/embed/view/6RpGflRqG09WOht5

Wow!

This is really happening. This is REALLY happening!

For two days now, I’ve been getting the most incredible emails, texts and phone calls from people of decades ago that she helped find jobs when the Levi’s plant closed down when she worked at Texas Employment Commission or from those she helped find financing for their first home that they bought when she was a Realtor or from those she prayed for in their time of need with Catholic Daughters. This is it. This is when it all comes together.

The journey so far has been on a winding caliche unpaved road.  I am now at an elevator and all I have to do is push a button. But if I’m not careful, it can also all come crashing down.

I’m so excited and scared at the same time. I hope I get it right for her and for all she hoped for.

   
         

Cattle Baron’s Ball Shocking Honoree

Posted in cancer, Mom with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2015 by runmyssierun

A short while ago, I got a message via facebook to meet over coffee from a good friend. While sipping coffee at Starbucks, she ever so gracefully mentioned honoring my mother and I at this year’s Cattle Baron’s Ball. I’ll admit, I was stunned and didn’t know what to say or do other than keep the coffee from spurting out of my mouth and onto her impeccably styled self and just nodding my head up and down.

Cattle Baron's Ball Trifold Yep, that's my family in there.

Cattle Baron’s Ball Trifold
Yep, that’s my family in there.

A few years ago, when Momma was first diagnosed with cancer, she was named REALTOR OF THE YEAR by her fellow Realtors and members of the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors.  I remember her hanging her head low shortly after accepting the award and shared a rare moment of doubt with me.

“They feel sorry for me because I have cancer. That’s why they voted for me,” said whispered to me.

“Momma, this wasn’t pity. We all admire you. Not everything is about cancer.”

She forced a smile on her face and gave me a hug. I knew I did an awful job of convincing her that it wasn’t pity. I wish I could go back in time and tell her something else… something eloquent, profound and full of wisdom, poetic and strong enough to have made her believe what I saw and admired in her.

Oh how hindsight is so 20/20!!! How I would do things differently if given the chance.

Momma was an officer for GMAR (Greater McAllen Association of Realtors) for several years and was President elect the year that she was diagnosed with cancer. No one told her to – but she removed herself from the position to tend to her treatments. She was never the type of person to not give %110 and she thought that her treatment away at MD Anderson would diminish her effectiveness as a leader for this organization that she loved so much.

She did an awesome job of teaching me by example to never half-ass something important to you. You do it %110 or don’t do it at all until you’re ready.

What Momma either forgot or didn’t realize at the time was that this group of Realtors, friends and co-workers had all admired and trusted her enough to make her their leader even before cancer was in the picture. And I failed to remind her of that fact.

Dad, Momma, me and hubby at the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors (GMAR) Realtor of the Year awards

Dad, Momma, me and hubby at the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors (GMAR) Realtor of the Year awards

She was Realtor of the year, Rotarian of the year, Woman of the year (and many others)… and in the back of her mind, I think she doubted whether she deserved all these incredible awards by merit or if they were given to her by cancer pity. And I think I did a terrible job of convincing her of her true worth and value to her community. I should have done more when I had the time to do so.

So now here we are in present day and I find myself in a similar situation and guilty of feeling undeserving of this honor.  See, I’ve never HAD cancer. I live a healthy life. I don’t suffer the effects of chemotherapy, radiation and surgical removals of organs and body parts. I don’t have to miss work or family time because I’m away at hospitals being poked and prodded for experimental treatments. I don’t have to schedule Real Estate open houses and viewing appointments around the times I know I’ll be vomiting. I just have to run or swim or ride a bike. That’s all. Why does that make me so special? I’m really the under achiever of the family.

I mean… I’m not even one of those amazing athletes that qualifies for Boston. Or Kona. Or… anything worth qualifying for.

They should have picked someone else for this award. And cancer should have taken me instead.

Yes, this is how I truly feel.

BUT… these last few years really have changed my outlook and I refuse to let myself mope around in my dramatic pity parties. Regardless of how I feel on the inside, these last few years and experiences have taught me that although honors AND criticisms are directed towards me, much of them have little to do with me. I was chosen for this because of the love I have for my mother, the admiration I have for her and all that she went through and all that she did when she could. I made a promise to raise awareness and funds for a disease that I am not stricken with and being noted for it. I made a promise to do my best to take care of the health that I was blessed with and not take it for granted and I don’t do it alone, I am led, pushed and followed by countless others….

So in essence, who is really being honored here is not me but my mother, my family, my friends, my community, my teammates, my supporters, donors, sponsors and especially the victims of cancer, their families and caregivers who know all too well what it is that my Mother saw and desperately wanted to remedy.  Little actually has to do with me and so much has to do with everyone else.

I bow down to you, the deserving – the ones who have loudly and silently confided, cried, comforted and competed with me. I bow down to you, the fighters, the lovers, the haters, the cheerleaders, the sick and the healthy… for YOU are the ones that I’ve always wanted never to endure what we did. It was her wish and it is my promise. And neither of us are quitters.

I will accept this honor on my mother’s behalf and bow to you… because we are all deserving to live in a world without cancer.

For more information about the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron’s Ball this year on September 19th at the Boggus Ford Event Center in Pharr, TX, would like to attend and/or sponsor it, please call the RGV ACS at (956) 682-8329. Once they update and finalize the website, I’ll post a link here.

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On the Seventh Wave

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2015 by runmyssierun

Much time has passed since my last blog update. Much more has happened… good and bad and many decisions as a result of them.

Today is the first day of March. March is Colon Cancer Awareness month and I would be remissed if I went without asking everyone I knew if they knew what was up their butt. So, What’s up YOUR butt???

Unfortunately, as I checked my facebook feed this morning, I found that my Fraternity Phi Sigma Kappa Big Brother, Joey Soto, has rectal cancer. This is proof that cancer IS prejudice. It picks the best people on Earth. See, in college, Joey was this handsome, gentle, funny, debonair, green-eyed cowboy that all the girls swooned over on campus. I was president of Delta Zeta Sorority and my college boyfriend was a Phi Sig. Joey was his big brother and because it was in his nature to go the extra mile, he looked after me as part of his duty, as well. I never got into trouble and no one messed with me. I think a lot of that had to do with people knowing never to mess with a cowboy from Central Texas.

That's Joey. The one with the green eyes and dangerous guns!!! These guys showed up at all our DZ events, protected us and always  infused an overdose of fun and giggles into everything we did together.

That’s Joey. The one with the green eyes and dangerous guns!!! These guys showed up at all our DZ events, protected us and always infused an overdose of fun and giggles into everything we did together.

How he shared his news to the world via facebook was one of the most incredible posts I’ve ever read. I’ll share just a little part of it (I hope he doesn’t mind):

So I was talking to God last night. Yes, we talk often… Most of the times, it is about you guys. We have a good laugh and then move on to other topics, but he started telling me last night some things that he wanted me to share with you. He also told me to remind you that I am sick right now so you HAVE to Listen.
He said:
1. Take time every once in a while for those you love. Maybe, once a week, do something they really want to do. Whether that be go walking down the Riverwalk on a Saturday afternoon? Or go to a Plant Nursery? Just let the world stop every once in a while and smile. You will realize how beautiful it is sometimes.
2. Take care of your health. He told me that I am very lucky that he has given me the OPPORTUNITY to fight this and not just be gone one day. For that I have been given a chance to fight. AND I promised him I WILL FIGHT !!!!!!!
3. Talk to him. Yes, he is the Big Boss, the CEO, and all that, but his door is always open. He said he even had the door removed from his office so it is always open and he is ready to listen.
That is all he really told me last night. That OOHH and also not too worry at all. He’s got this for me and I will be ok.


I celebrated my 45th birthday this week. OMG!!! Did I just say my real age… out loud for the whole world to see and scrutinize and judge???? YES! YES I SURE DID!!! There was a time, not long ago, that made me cringe each time my birthday came around. Now, today, I no longer take my birthday for granted nor can I afford to ignore the blessing of another birthday… because the alternative is just something that I nor my family can handle right now. I am FORTY FIVE and am more blessed now than I have ever been before and I thank GOD and the world for allowing my silly age issues to annoy them this long. Won’t happen again. A lot of people don’t get to live this long. A lot of people who do live this long haven’t lived as well as I have. I honestly feel better now than I did at 25 and 100x better than I did at 35!!!!

My birthday wish was for people to donate $10 to #TEAMSARAH and the blood cancer treatment grant that our local LLS chapter is hoping to have named after her instead of posting a facebook birthday online for me. I had almost 1,000 social media birthday wishes and raised just over $500 in birthday wish donations from it. BEST GIFT EVER!!!! Thank you!!! Most people don’t have 1000 facebook friends so for me to have this many people send so many good vibes on my special day AND donate was validation to me of how awesomely I am blessed. Words can never thank everyone enough. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and love.

I was also contacted by the American Cancer Society this last week. They told me that they wanted to honor my mother, Mimi Cardenas, my family and what I have done in her memory by naming me their honoree at Cattle Baron’s Ball this year.

Geez!!! Does this get any better????

Yes, but I’ll leave this for another post.

And now the bad stuff but with the silver lining… because that’s how I do things.

About a month ago, shortly after my last post, three of my teammates were cycling and were hit by a drunk driver. Two are recovering well and the third suffered a traumatic brain injury, a broken back and a tough struggle to come back to a normal life again. This was the morning that we were all supposed to go ride in memory of Eddie Arguelles who was also hit by a drunk driver almost a year ago now.

The silver lining? It’s this: I wish you could have seen the waiting room at the hospital that morning with all our teammates there. Holding hands in prayer, we became more bonded and unified for Christina and for our cause that we are so passionate about.

However, I did make the personal choice – after much discussion with my family – that I would step away from Team in Training this season. I will NOT be participating in Ironman Victoria this June. I WILL CONTINUE TO FUNDRAISE AND I WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT LLS, TEAM IN TRAINING AND ALL THINGS THAT SUPPORT CANCER AWARENESS AND THE DREAM I HAVE TO LIVE IN A WORLD WITHOUT CANCER. And yes, I’ll post more about this later in another blog post.

In the mean time… the training continues. And the support is overwhelming!!! If you are planning on participating in the Capital of Texas Triathlon #captextri, or Oceanside Tri, I ask that you please pick me as your Ambassador when asked how you found out about the event in the registration form. LifeTime Triathlon will make a donation for each registration that chooses me in support of helping me live in a world without cancer. Come on! Give it a TRI!

Choose Myssie Cardenas-Barajas as your ambassador and LifeTime Triathlon will make a donation to help #TEAMSARAH and support me in my journey to live in a world without cancer.

Choose Myssie Cardenas-Barajas as your ambassador and LifeTime Triathlon will make a donation to help #TEAMSARAH and support me in my journey to live in a world without cancer.

 

Until then… find me on the seventh wave.

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