Archive for myssie barajas

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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Mimi’s miles to Ironman

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2014 by runmyssierun

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September of 2011, Sissy lay in her bed at MD Anderson’s leukemia floor unable to feed herself while my mother was a few floors down having nine tumors removed from her brain via gamma ray surgery. She looked me over and said, “You’re gaining a lot of weight with all this pressure on you taking care of us. Why don’t you take up running?”

“Why couldn’t you have suggested zumba?” I joked back to her.

“I’m serious,” she said. “I want you to run for me.”

My baby brother had died in April, 2011. Sissy died two weeks after the above conversation. Momma died on Easter Sunday April, 2012, exactly one year after my baby brother.

Two weeks after her death, I bought my first pair of running shoes from Valley Running Company. It took a month to build up to running my very first mile… ever… EVER… in my life. One month later, December 2011, I ran my first 5k at the Fiesta Marathon.January 2012, I ran my first 10k over the Causeway at South Padre Island. February 2012, I ran my first half marathon in Austin, the LiveSTRONG Marathon. June 2012, I ran my first full marathon at the Rock N Roll San Diego in California. I went on to run a half marathon every month after that including the San Antonio RnR Marathon and the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco and that December returned to my first race, the Fiesta Marathon and ran the full 26.2 miles as my Team in Training teammates and countless other supporters all ran me in to the finish line even though I injured myself severely during the race. I blogged candidlyabout my entire journey, the good the bad and the ugly on RunMyssieRun.com.

January of 2013, I began a new challenge for Team in Training. I learned how to swim and began riding a bike. I hadn’t done that since I was 12 years old. Ten weeks after I learned to swim, I completed my first triathlon, Stanley’s Triathlon. I then joined the San Antonio TNT Team and completely my first Sprint triathlon for LLS at the Capital of Texas Triathlon in Austin, Texas. Four months after that, I earned the very first Triple Crown for the South Texas Team in Training Team by joining the National Flex TNT Team and completing the 108 mile century ride in the mountains of Nevada at Viva Bike Vegas.

January 2014, I returned to my roots to invigorate energy into the Team by helping launch the first RGV TNT Triathlon Team. I went back to CapTexTri in May of 2014 to push myself up to the Olympic distance… but failed. I was pulled out during the swim and was unable to complete it.  So I found a similar race on the same course and attempted the Olympic Distance Triathlon again knowing that I would not stop until I finished this distance. And I did.

So now what? How do I top that? How do I continue my journey?

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I, the outta shape middle aged princess who had never run a mile before in her life before this, will attept to do her best to complete a Half-Ironman in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, for Sissy, Momma and everyone who questions the possibility of someone who loves her family more than the fear of limitations.

In 2011, I witnessed the pain of multiple human loss.

In 2012, I witnessed the pain of agonizing physical endurance.

In 2013, I witnessed the miracle of healing…multiple times.

In 2014, I witnessed how everything above came together.

In 2015, I hope to witness you experiencing all these miracles with me. I hope to find a cure, eliminate the cause and ensure that those currently “dancing” wth cancer have access to affordable, high quality care.

Now, the above only talks about me and the crazy challenges I’ve done in this short time. What you REALLY need to hear about are the people I’ve met along the way, the victims, the heroes, the parents, the grandparents, the doctors and nurses and pharmacists, the coaches, the teammates, the businesses, the elected leaders, the sponsors, the donors, the people who care just because it’s the right thing to do… this is where the story gets good. And that is my journey… a bunch of good people doing good things all around us in a world filled with chaos, fear and uncertainty. Travel it with me.

It takes more than one person to make up a team and that’s why I’m asking you to donate to my TNT fundraising page for TNT!

By participating as a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) TNT, I am raising funds to help find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients.

Your donation will help fund treatments that save lives every day; like immnuotherapies that use a person’s own immune system to kill cancer. You may not know it, but every single donation helps save a life with breakthrough therapies such as these.

Patients need these cures and they need your support.

Please make a donation in support of my efforts with Team In Training and help get us all closer to a world without blood cancers.

This is THE most amount of money I have ever needed to raise. I pray that although I am no professional athlete, a company will understand the seriousness of my commitment and promise to my mother and offer to sponsor me. I am honored that this journey (aka Mimi’s Miles on Facebook) has become an educational resource for the community of people I live in, a source of healing for me (via runmyssierun.com) and a source of empowerment for those seeking a healthier lifestyle.

Join me and my Team and countless people who have been touched by cancer.

RunMyssieRun.com

With all the love in my heart,

Thank you!

Myssie Cardenas-Barajas

Redemption at TRIROCK Austin

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2014 by runmyssierun

“Run your race.
Stay in your lane.
Don’t look left or right and wonder.
Your journey is perfectly yours.”
~Angelah Johnson

7 seconds!!! 7 more seconds and I would have been DEAD LAST in my age group division at Trirock on Monday and I’ve never been more happy or proud of myself. Out of 2100 people who competed at Trirock on Labor Day, only 19 women aged 40-45 dared to do the full triathlon. I placed 18th!!!! Why am I so happy???

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Because I got MY GOAL. Not yours. I reached MY goal. This age group consisted of THE most competitive women of all age groups considering experience and speed. In fact, the person who won the whole entire enchilada of the event was a 42 year old woman, a mother of two and yes, in this age group.

Did I let these women, these facts, this event intimidate me from doing this event or MY very best?

No way Jose!!!

And because I never compared myself to these women (or you), I was able to keep focused on my goal. REDEMPTION

I just wanted to prove to myself that all that training, all those workouts, all those sacrifices I made, all those times I could have slept in, all those times I could have hung out with friends late night with drinks, all those times I pushed away the pizza, cup cakes, chocolate, all my effort wasn’t in vain.

I NEEDED TO FINISH THIS RACE FOR ME.

The self punishment I endured from the DNF (Did Not Finish) at the Capital of Texas Triathlon on Memorial Day earlier this year was harsher than you could ever imagine. I’m very hard on myself. All my life, I’ve done everything at %110. I cannot allow myself to be less than my best. I just can’t. I understand that sometimes my best isn’t good enough and sometimes I make mistakes…. But those mistakes are made with me giving my all and I learn from each failure.

I am no longer a beginner marathoner, cyclist or triathlete. It is no longer cute for me to continue on this journey. In fact, it’s actually become quite “in” to dismiss and ridicule me within the circle that I once used to train with. People now perceive me as a competitive athlete. They are so very wrong.

I’m still just Myssie.

People forget that the only race I ever did as a child was in Kindergarten and I got a white participant ribbon as I came in last. I wasn’t in track or volleyball or swim team or basket ball in high school. I was VP of Home Ec, costume coordinator for drama, a non-officer Sergeanette… And a prissy Miss Edinburg.

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So if it makes you feel better about yourself to compare yourself to me, go right ahead and scrutinize my times, my photos with cellulite and extra tires around my waist. My game is not with you. My medal holder is completely full of all new white kindergarten participant ribbons that shouldn’t mean much to anyone else but me. They are not first place trophies that contain State or Region records. They simply symbolize a challenge outside of my comfort zone that I didn’t give up on – something truly difficult TO ME, physically and mentally, that I accomplished not just for me but for a few people that I love that can never do something like this… Ever.

So let’s get down to business and talk about the TRI.

I roomed with the Ericas at a hotel close by. It was by far the WORST hotel I have EVER stayed at!!! Even though I reserved a room with TWO double beds, they put us in a room with only one double (not even a King) bed. There were more friendlier cockroaches scurrying around than there were friendly hotel desk clerks willing to accommodate us.
“Could you move us to another room with two beds?”
“NO”
“Could you provide us with a roll away cot then?”
“NO”

It didn’t matter what we asked for. The answer was NO.

Fast forward to race morning: I was surprisingly calm and organized. I walked over to transition while the Ericas slept in. (I was doing the Olympic distance and they were doing Sprint so we had different transition set up and start times)

As I made my way over, a young woman asked if I had ever done a TRI before. “Yes, but this ones special.”
“Why?” She asked.
“Because I never finished the last one. I have to prove to myself that I can do it now before I can do anything else.”
“Whoa…. And I thought I was high pressured.” She said softly. “This is my first time. I’ve done sprints before but never this distance..”
“Are you nervous?” I asked.
“Yes.”
“Good! Let it fuel you. If you weren’t nervous, I wouldn’t think you’re normal.” And she smiled.

I entered transition as if I was a pro. My bag over one shoulder and my helmet in the opposite hand with my stickers correctly placed on all items, I stuck out my legs for body marking and announced my race number like a drill sergeant and my age with pride and marched directly to my Mimi.

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There she was, sparkling in the moonlight waiting patiently for me like a good steed. I set up my area quickly, took some pictures with my phone, re-read the text from Xman, sent him back a text and then made my way out. I rubbed the seat of my bike lovingly and told her I’d be right back.

Lisa grabbed me as I was exiting transition. “Come on! We’re going to be interviewed on live TV!”

This motley gang of weekend warriors that I have found myself surrounded by these last couple of years are amazing. Trirock triathlon was NOT a TNT event but they all trained with me and showed up because of what this meant to me… and to them now. All donned in purple kits, I stuck out like a sore thumb in my orange sunflower triflare outfit. But I was still part of the team. The reporter did an excellent job and I wish I had the link to the video to show you how well Cat did!!!

Normally Jeanice leads me in a little prayer before all our events together but I couldn’t find her. She must have gone to the portapotties and got stuck in line. So I quickly grabbed Cats hands, looked up at her and blurted out “I can’t find Jeanice for prayer so you’re my Jeanice now.”

I said a short prayer, gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek and lined up to Jump off the dock. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and opened them to Ben standing beside me with a big hug.

“I know today means a lot to you. You’re going to be fine. Have fun.”

And as I get closer moving like cattle to the dock, I see Anita with her camera. I wave her down making it impossible for her to get a good shot and I jump the barrier to give her the biggest hug ever. Anita was the first person I saw when I was dragged out of the water at CapTex. I sobbed uncontrollably that day on her shoulder. This morning was no different. The entire crowd saw the emotion between us and cheered me on. It must have been a sight because a photographer from a trade magazine asked if I always get this emotional before triathlons.
I responded with “Her daughter has cancer. I lost my mom to cancer. I’m doing this for them. I can’t fail.” And then he started crying!!!

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And there I was at edge of the dock awaiting my turn quickly trying to figure out if I need to have my hand on my goggles or on my Garmin start button….

JUMP!

I should have had my hand on my goggles. I plunged into the warm murky water and went deep… so deep I swear I must have been inches away from the center of the Earth. It seemed like an eternity!!! What in the world??? Seriously, it cannot be THIS deep!!!

Calm down Myssie. Its just your nerves. Grab your goggles. You’re fine. You’re just fine. Wait. Wait.

There.

My head broke the water’s surface and I took a deep breath, adjusted my goggles and calmly began to swim. My strokes were perfectly timed. Slow and steady and strong. I kept my head up and out of the water. Coach W’s superman drills had helped tremendously and I was confidently going straight. My neck was hurting but I didn’t want to risk going a stray on my course and adding more distance than what was needed. 100. Turn right.

“You’re going too slow Myssie! Come on! Speed it up! You can go faster than this!” my evil inner voice yells at me. Hoards of swimmers skim past me and my “no wake zone” filling me with anxiety.

No! Stop it! Shut up! I don’t care who’s watching my time right now, who’s swimming past me nor who’s making fun of how much faster they are than I am. This is MY race and I am going to do everything possible to make sure I finish strong.. not fast. STRONG! YOU HEAR ME?!?!?

Ha! I put her in her place didn’t I? 200. Keep going.

BLAM! Seriously??? A swimmer slams into me.

Stroke. Stroke. Keep those knees tight and ankles light. Stroke. Stroke. 300.

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With my head still up and out of the water, I felt my legs drift down. I knew I was creating drag but still too scared to trust myself with my head down and drifting off course with my drunk swerving swimming habits. My neck was really killing me at this time but I wouldn’t dare allow myself to stop.

“If you stop now, you’ll keep stopping throughout the race. Whatever you do, DO NOT STOP. DON’T YOU DARE STOP!” my inner voice keeps yelling.

500.

Ok, this is where it happened. I was at the 500 mark at CapTexTri when I had my first cough attack. I’m fine now. Keep going. Keep going.

600.

Yes! You’re doing it Myssie! You are doing this!!!

Arghhh!!! Stop it! Stop thinking about this so much! Ok…. then what am I supposed to think about?

700 meters. This is the point where I was removed from the last triathlon I did… on this exact same course.

THATSWHATIMTALKINGABOUT!!!!

As I take my breaths off to my left side, I can see from the corner of my eye people cheering from the bridge. I hear my name being yelled out. What??? Who in the world is that?

DON’T YOU DARE LOOK! Stay focused! You’re doing so well!!!! 800!!!! Right turn.

I felt the change in the current as I made my turn. I saw the 900 right in front of me. It seemed so close!

Come on Myssie! Push it hard now! Yes! Yes! Yes! 900!!! Right turn!!!

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Oh my God! God! Momma! MOMMA!!! DID YOU SEE THAT??? DID YOU SEE ME??? DID YOU SEE??? I felt like a six year old girl making it across the monkey bars for the first time on the playground making sure that Mom saw while she was sitting on the bench nearby.

And just then… right that moment… the sun came out in such a glorious manner that each wave shimmered around me in ripples of gold glitter. I had surpassed my own personal moment of doubt and conquered it… and Momma was there to see me.

“Don’t get all happy now. You’ve still got half way to swim yet you silly girl!” My cocky inner voice never seems to let me win.

Alright, let’s speed things up a bit. BLAM! Dangit! Who are these guys in the silver caps that keep swimming into me?!?!?

I duck my head in and pick up my pace… finally! I sight every third stroke, keeping my form and finally resting my neck a little better. BLAM!!! Ok, seriously. This really needs to stop now. *I’ll bet I rolled my eyes in the water.

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I didn’t even see any of the other marker buoys after that. I only saw the screaming crowd by the finish and all the kayaks blocking me from it!!! What? Why are there so many kayaks there? Ugh! Why don’t they get out of the way??? Don’t they know…..

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ARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!! LAKE WEEEEEEEDDDDDD!!!!! LAKE WEED! LAKE WEED! IT’S EVERYWHERE! OMG! IT’S ATTACKING ME! Grabbing my arms! my hands! crawling around my neck! OMG! It’s trying to get into my mouth! OMG OMG OMG!!!

Yes, I screamed like a little girl. I admit it. There.

And so did everyone else.

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The hydrilla infestation was so thick that you could not swim through it. I sloshed through the icky slimy vicious floating jungle for what seemed like the equivalent of the time I spent in high school and climbed out of Lady Bird Lake looking like the swamp monster. A man came up to me and immediately asked if I was ok.

Yes, I think so.

And that’s when I felt the ickies attack. All those weed leaves that were left on my were moving on my skin!!! Ewwww!!! I must have jumped up and around trying to brush off the ickies when the man tries to unzip my sunflower tri suit.

NOOOOO!!!! It’s a trisuit NOT a wet suit!!!

It suddenly dawned on him that there was nothing underneath it but my birthday suit!!! Good thing I took off towards T1 so that the photographer couldn’t catch him blushing!!!

Ahhhhhh finally! I ran barefoot almost a mile to T1 where I knew my Mimi was eager to get going. And so was I!!!

As I removed my Mimi from her rack and trotted her to the mount line, the volunteers began buzzing about the matchy matchy orange kit and bike ensemble I had.

“Nice Kit!”

“You are styling girl!”

“Wow! I love your trisuit!”

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The compliments were endless the whole time I was riding. But shortly after I was on the course, going South on Congress, I noticed my bike feeling heavy. I couldn’t pin point it. Was it because I had missed so many 5am rides that I lost my mojo? Was it that I hadn’t been to Austin in a while and needed more hill training? Was it the new tires I had put on and just wasn’t used to the new treads? What ever it was, I decided, I was just going to push through it. I didn’t stop in the swim so I certainly wasn’t going to stop in the bike!

Going North on Congress was a blast!!! I messed up my Garmin… AGAIN… by hitting the wrong button so I didn’t know how fast I was going. And again… I reminded myself… today is not about speed. It’s about finishing something I started.

After my first loop, a young female volunteer yelled out for me to stay to the right. I made a wrong turn. I should have continued straight. She apologized the next time I went around but by that time, I had already done an extra loop on my bike route.

Eh, it’s ok. It’s not like I have to worry about someone accusing me of skipping a loop, right?

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After my ride, I jumped off and trotted my Mimi back to her parking space. I plopped down on my towel to spray my hamstrings with biofreeze and looked up. THATs when I noticed that her tire was completely FLAT!!! No wonder she felt heavy!!! (these photos were taken at the beginning of the course… it must have been a slow leak or caused by a little pot hole I bumped along the way)

Eh, nothing I can do about it now. Go run!

I sprayed so much biofreeze that Zilcher park will not have to be fumigated all year long!!! But it made my legs feel AWWWWEEEEEESOME!!! Boom! I took off! Holy Moly! This stuff is great! My pace hasn’t been like this in forever! Goodness I feel great! I feel fabulous!!! I feel…. hot. Holy Moly… I shoulda paced myself. Oh my… I need water.

I stopped. I walked. Oh man… I think I just bonked. Come on. Come on. Get yourself together. Push it! Push yourself.

I grabbed a paper cup of water and dumped it on my head. I had goosebumps everywhere. I was dehydrated. It was almost noon time and it was triple digit heat. I stuffed ice cubes in my baseball cap and poured more water down my back and face.

Ok… let’s do this! Vroom Vrooom!!! Nope. Not gonna happen. I ran/walked intervals for the remainder of the last loop and then cramped up yards away from the finish.

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but I pushed through and I FINISHED. I FINISHED WHAT I STARTED AND THAT’S ALL I WANTED TO BE ABLE TO PROVE TO MYSELF.

As I crossed the finish line, my teammates were all waiting and so were the volunteers who awarded me “best dressed” and gave me my finisher medal.

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I did it. I did it Momma! Did you see me?? Did you see me do it??

And now that I know I can do this… I can continue on to what I set out to do in the first place.

 

*So if you find yourself now at the end of this entry wondering if you can do that thing you’ve been wanting to do, accomplish, discover, create – whatever that thing is – trust in yourself and keep trying. YOU CAN DO IT. YOU WILL!!! Even if you don’t succeed the first time or the second or the hundredth… you’ll get there. You really will. Just don’t give up.

And don’t let what those others say about you stop you either. It hurts, I know. But it’s because in your strength they clearly see their own weaknesses. Let it fuel you.

 

#ideclare4lls – the squeaky voiced lobbyist from TEXAS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2014 by runmyssierun

I spent the last few days in Washington, D.C. with some pretty phenomenal cancer fighters – we made our voices heard on the Hill.  Y’all know that when someone else says it better than I do… I just let them. This post is taken from LLS Interim CEO Dr. Lou DeGennaro’s blog.

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With almost 400 cancer fighters declaring the end of cancer… I figured I would help you find me… I’m at the VERY top of the group. You’ll see three heads (I’ll be the third head) and mine is (if you imagine a clock, I’d be right at the 12) right smack at the top center

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After a group photo on the steps of Capitol Hill, where nearly 400-strong raised our hands and declared Cancer Ends With Me, (#Ideclare4LLS) we all – patients, survivors, families, volunteers, staff – dispersed to meet with our district legislators. Our objective: to urge our legislators in both Houses of Congress to support two critical pieces of legislation that would improve access to therapies for blood cancer patients.

 

One bill, HR 460, would limit cost-sharing for patients who require specialty tier drugs. The other, S1365, would allow a patient on Medicare to appeal if a prescription drug they need is placed on a non-preferred drug tier, meaning it comes with very high out-of-pocket costs. The law would allow patients to appeal to have the drug placed on a preferred drug list with lower coinsurance, if their prescribing physician deems it the patient’s only option.

 

While delivering our message, many advocates shared their stories with the representatives.

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“What’s the point of research if patients don’t have access to the therapies,” Ethan Zohn, star of Survivor: Africa, and a two-time Hodgkin lymphoma survivor, told Morgan Brand, an aide to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).

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We were treated to two more special speakers during our morning session. Sadie Floyd is a 22-yer-old competitive drag racer who was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia when she was 2. She has committed to using her racing career as an outlet to get the word out about blood cancers.

“What LLS does on a daily basis is why I am alive today,” she said.

 

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) urged us on, saying “I love to be with advocates. You have power.”

 

We concluded our three day conference with a special performance at D.C.’s Union Station by Charles “Chip” Esten, a singer and actor, known for his role in the ABC drama series “Nashville.” Esten’s daughter is a leukemia survivor.

 

After the devastation of hearing their daughter had cancer at age 2, Esten said learning that there were treatments with a good chance of success turned their fears to hope. “That hope didn’t come from nowhere; it came from research and it came from funding that pays for research.” Today his daughter is 14.

** BUT Chip did something way more personal for ME, Lynda and Dezma:

 

As we gathered at Union Station, passersby stopped by to visit our Awareness Wall, placing stickers declaring Cancer Ends With Me and signing our petition to support the legislation discussed above.

 

Over the past three days of our conference, “Leading the Way to a World Without Blood Cancers,” we heard from renowned researchers, survivors, families and volunteers and shared best practices. We celebrated a major milestone – surpassing $1 billion in research investment – and we brought our cures and access agenda to the Hill. I leave feeling energized and knowing that all of the participants feel same the same – ready to keep fighting to make blood cancers a story of the past. LLS is making cures happen today, not someday.

My Birthday Wish

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2014 by runmyssierun

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I am very grateful to have so many wonderful friends wish me well on my birthday every year but this year my wish is for those wishes to turn into $10 donations. In exchange for your donation, you’ll receive either a necklace or an orange or purple beaded bracelete with my Momma’s signature “I LOVE YOU” hand sign silver charm. Turn my birthday into someone else’s birthday to beat cancer. Together we can! Anything is possible. Donate online here:http://pages.teamintraining.org/sctx/txtri14/mcardenasb

After every race, I have a photo made with me holding up my medal with one hand and throwing an “I love you” sign with the other hand. That was originally done so that my mother could see my progress on facebook while she was at MD Anderson getting treatment. We always held up our hands with this sign to each other in the same manner that Carol Burnett tugged at her ear after each show for her mother.

It is because of this that our little sign has now suddenly become so popular at our local races… many of us are racing for someone that we love and when we see the photographer around, lots of us show our love to others by showing the sign.

Please continue to spread the love! On Tuesday, my birthday, I have challenged my social media friends to donate $10 instead of posting a HAPPY BIRTHDAY on my social media walls. In exchange, they’ll receive a necklace or bracelet with the symbol that means so much to me… and hopefully will allow others to beat cancer and experience a new birthday for themselves.

Anything is possible. Together we can.

Oh… wait… you’re a guy? Or you don’t like to wear jewelry because you’re always working out??? Well, you must stink. A lot.

(How’s that for a sales pitch, eh?)

No worries, you can still help on my birthday!!! Because all those technical dri-fit jerseys, sports bras, bike jerseys, cycling shorts, etc… in fact… anything that is NOT cotton that you wear while you sweat can use this.

Click on the photo to get WINdetergent to launder your own sports gear and finally get that funky smell out!

Click on the photo to get WINdetergent to launder your own sports gear and finally get that funky smell out!

WINdetergent has offered to partner with me on helping me fundraise in memory of my Momma and Sissy and Rodney and Donny and…. ya, it just goes on and on…

So why don’t you click here http://tnt.windetergent.com/myssie

and you can smell sporty fresh, celebrate my birthday AND help us with the fight again cancer!!! WINdetergent will donate $5 for every two-pack that you buy to my Mimi’s Miles fund with the Leukemia and Lymphoma society… but you HAVE to use THIS link

http://tnt.windetergent.com/myssie

Thanks a bunch!!! You guys are really making this birthday much easier to deal with 🙂

My cancer results came in

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2014 by runmyssierun

RRRRRRRrrrrrrrrring RRRRRRRrrrrrrring RRRRRRRrrrrrrring

I pick up the phone and see on the caller ID that it’s my doctor’s office. Oh God! They have my results from the mammogram and my cancer screening blood counts. If I let it ring and they’re forced to leave a message, then I’ll know, right? I’ll just listen to the message… 

No. I have to know NOW. I pick up the phone just in time.

It’s the nurse. Whew! The moment I heard her voice and didn’t hear her say I needed to come in to see Doc ASAP… I had a feeling.

“Your results came in. You’re normal,” she said. 

I think I may have screamed a little and that may have been what caused her to laugh a bit. 

I admit, I am one of the lucky chosen few who did not receive the phone call with dreaded news, news that would make you drop to your knees, news that would suck out all your tears, news that would empty your soul of all your dreams and leave you empty of dreams and afraid of time.

My good news was kept to myself and ignited a fire within me to continue my path for those who got that other phone call. 

Because the truth is that from the moment you clicked open this blog to read what happened in my day… someone else just got that awful phone call. In fact, every four minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer. 

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Today was our Triathlon team’s first bike practice. We held a bike rodeo at the Convention Center parking lot and was taught how to change a flat tire, clean and degrease our chains, what tools to have handy, etc. by my bike guru, Wally. He had set up a little tent to shield us from the freezing mist. Poor thing had to speak up because it was hard to hear above the chattering teeth and shivering bodies of my team mates. It was then that even in that dreaded dreary cold weather that I saw the faces of my fellow teammates and how eager they were to learn about how to take care of their bikes (or borrowed bikes) so that they could do well at their first triathlon for TnT. They truly wanted to do well….

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Why?

Gosh, I’m really learning to love that question… why.. why?

Just before we got started, Cindy gave us her mission moment. Her honored hero had just lost his battle with leukemia a few days ago. She was quite choked up about it but tried with all her might to be strong and upbeat and positive. 

Katherine posted this on our facebook page: 

So, today was cold. Today was miserable. If we asked ourselves, deep down, did we want to be at practice today or snugly warm in bed? But we got up and showed up, this is what makes us TNT…. We are like postal workers: neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, etc…. we deliver! Cause Cynthia gave us all a sobering reminder as why we have to keep fighting. Why this dreadful disease needs to be stopped…..

We all have our own reasons for being a part of Team. No one reason is greater than the other. Bottom line, we’re all in this together. I feel Cynthia’s pain. It is still very fresh in my heart. 

My prayers go to the Rodriguez family and especially his wife and two very young children.

It is this very instance that breaks my heart as I remember my two nephews. I haven’t seen them in over a year. Sadly, since the death of my baby brother, it will likely be years before I am ever able to see them again.

Cancer and death does horrific things to a family.

If you’re the praying type, keep families like the Rodriguez’s and mine in your heart as you pray. I’d appreciate it.

Thanks. 

Oh! And don’t forget… I’m fundraising again. Please give what you can. Top right corner icon if you’re reading this on a PC. Scroll just below if you’re reading this on a phone.

~much love

Certain things are likely

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2013 by runmyssierun

1554534_10153676217425068_1042486816_nIt was the last weekend of 2011 and I had recently finished my first 5k (at the Fiesta marathon) and right between Christmas and New Years… the perfect time to give up on your fitness routine because of all the parties and temptation and seriously… resolutions start AFTER December 31st, right???

Wrong

This resolution was to be life changing for me at that time and even though I didn’t know anyone running that morning at Bill Schupp park, I knew I owed it to myself and to Sissy to get in as many training races as possible… so I did it.

And I ran it.

And ran it again the last weekend in 2012.

And ran it again this last weekend in 2013… today. But this time it was with my two boys. THAT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY YEAR!!! To know that I’ve made so many sacrifices these last two years, so many lifestyle changes and so many positive impacts by staying true to myself and my running fitness goals that it impacted the lives of my sons… by their choice.

You have no idea how gratifying it is so see this come full circle.

Sissy certainly knew what she was doing. Three years ago, had you told me that my boys and I would be running races for “fun”… I would have laughed hysterically in your face!!!

I do love the new “me” that I’ve fought to become again… again? Yes, again. I am slowly becoming the woman I was a long time ago and was reminded of that just last night when my old friends from high school all came together to celebrate Billy’s wedding.  If you are familiar with 80’s movies, you know who Molly Ringwald is. Well, there was a part of me in every character that Molly played. I refer back to Molly a lot because in high school, my friends were the real breakfast club. And I was Molly.

Of all the characters that she played, I was probably most like Andie Walsh.

I still love the classic Karmann Ghia, shop at thrift stores, sketch designs and am surrounded by music (although not a music store in my real life unless you consider iTunes as the modern day music store) and I’m least like Claire Standish because although I did win my city’s local crown, I was hardly a princess. I don’t think I could do the lipstick trick (I never tried) but I could do the cherry stem trick 😉 and I still swoon over the dark haired bad boy. What is probably MOST predictable is that I married a guy who honestly really did look like Jake Ryan. I’ve been coloring my hair for so long that you’d never even know that my real hair color is copper red!!!

xavmys

I’m rambling

So anyways as my old Breakfast Club reunited (sans a few members) the talk and the realization of who I used to be and who I was becoming were quite similar. THANK GOD!

In my teens and early twenties, I felt like I could do anything I set my mind to. I conquered all! There were no limits. In my late twenties, thirties and early forties, I felt like I could do nothing right.

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Each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal.

My Breakfast Club friends – life long friends – helped make me feel like I could do anything. And I hope that I don’t diminish how special they are to me by saying this next part because NO ONE COULD POSSIBLY BE AS WONDERFUL FRIENDS AS THEY WERE TO ME AT THAT TIME but now I feel like through all these run groups, team in training, Maniacs, cyclepaths, etc….  is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal.

When the original Breakfast Club was together, we were unstoppable. We could change the world if we wanted to in 72 hours. We never realized what we had at the time.

Now, I have a new Breakfast Club. The members are all so very different from each other. Some of us still tear each other apart with misunderstandings and gossip. (Not like my original Breakfast Club) But some of us… some of us are pretty dang awesome. And I’ll bet if given the chance, they could change the world in 72 hours if they wanted to.

I am so glad that I am part of this motley gang of misfit fitness fanatics. I am so glad that I have the family that I do. I am so glad that I was raised by the family that I had. I am so glad that my Breakfast Club reunited and remembered who I was and who Sissy wanted me to be again.

The great thing about Andie, Samantha and Claire is that all those characters went through some crazy drama, she had a few trusteds that she vented with (Yes, I have a “Duckie”, too), but with the help of her friends and the love of her family and a little bit of creativity… she gave up something that was dear to her and gave it to the handsome bad boy

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she transformed the humble gifts that were given to her and creatively combined them all so that she could show the world that they did not break her, and she showed up to the big event and showed them..

In the end, Molly always got the kiss and the storybook happily ever after ending… and that’s where I hope I am now. Sometimes I feel like my whole life has been written by John Hughes. Sometimes, I wish it was.

2014… it’s time to get it right. I know my goals. I know how to get them. It’s not going to be the trite “New year/New me” lingo here… I want the old me back again. So here we go!!! With the help of my friends and family…

WHAT’S HAPPENING HOT STUFF?????

Don't you forget about me. (*Rodney Perez)

Don’t you forget about me. (*Rodney Perez)

To my Duckie…

Taking it back old school so that I can move forward.

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