Tuesday, June 30, 2015

# 261 Sunny Day and No Rain--Priceless

Did it--swim # 10--a phenomenal success.  I can't adequately describe what happened yesterday at Lake Mendota with slight overcast clouds keeping our boaters cool, north winds pushing us along and the swells of people on the sidelines and in the boats. It was beyond anything I could have imagined.  There were fifteen strong and mighty swimmers taking the challenge of the 4.5 mile swim and so many boaters that I lost count.

It definitely was a group effort as the swimmers waited for a few of us slow pokes to catch up to them at the 1.4 mile mark and then regrouped and tackled the next leg of the swim with gusto.  Several braved the entire trek with short breaks (those tough Ironman personalities) while the rest of us took a mini hiatus on the boat but did manage to swim at least 2 1/2 miles--not too shabby if I do say so myself.

Swimming alongside my onc doc, best friends and supporters of my cause was truly a highlight in this quest for drawing attention to the forgotten disease.  I've said it over and over again, so here goes one more time--THANK YOU... and now let's find a cure. Click here to Donate to METAvivor

Enjoy the random pictures to give a brief look at the day.
The beginning

Pontoon relief

Check out this video--Swimming to the Union

Best support kayakers and boaters
Thanks for reading #261 of 7777.


On a day when the wind is perfect, the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty. Today is such a day.
~ Rumi

Swim day today!  So far the weather looks like we might be able to squeeze the last lake in Madison into our schedule. Stay tuned for pictures and other nonsense  information I plan to post tomorrow on the adventures of the day.

Sailing or swimming across Mendota will be a highlight as we approach the Capitol building and cross the 4.5 miles with the best--shout it loud and clear--supporters by my side both in and out of the water.  This lake is for them as they are the masters of champions by hanging out with me and making me feel like anything is possible...including a cure.

The world will indeed be "full of beauty" today.

Visit www.onewomanmanylakes.net to keep this campaign afloat.

Oh, and if you didn't see it, our Live at Five debut was successful.  A bit intimidating to go live with no editing available.  Good thing I didn't say, "I hate this &(#*$ cancer."


Thanks for reading #260 of 7777.

Monday, June 29, 2015

# 259 Well, Okay Then...

Do you recognize any body?
What was I thinking wearing a wetsuit when I swim?  If I want to draw attention to MBC, this certainly would turn an eye or two.  Or maybe not...

Today is another MetsMonday and another day to educate about this disease and why we need more funding and why we are ignored and why no one seems to be listening.  Please pass the word using my webpage www.onewomanmanylakes.net.

I know, I know, I've been barking up this same old tree for almost a year now, but guess what?  40,000 died this year and today another 108 will die, therefore I will not stop preaching and screaming until these numbers become obsolete.

Plain and simple--we need your help.

On a side note, watch Channel 3--Live at Five tonight to see handsome hubby and yours truly mugging for the cameras.

Thanks for reading # 259 of 7777.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

#258 Rotarians and What They Do Best

A lovely dinner at the Madison Club turned into an unexpected profitable evening for my One Woman, Many Lakes campaign.  It was the annual Rotary gathering to celebrate the "Changing of the Guard" with the usual social hour of conversation mixed in with laughter and a bonding of fellowship towards a goal of service to others.

It appears that not only are they charitable in the international scene but dig even deeper into their pockets when one closer to home needs assistance.  I happen to be the fortunate recipient of their huge hearts.

Imagine my surprise when the President's Purse --money collected throughout the year--was presented to help me with my fight to find a cure for metastatic breast cancer.  Over $1100 was donated with another fifty dollars thrown in by the lucky raffle winner of the night.

 They are an exceedingly generous group of philanthropists who I am proud to know and thankful Rob has been associated with for over thirty years.  A first class group of people in my book.

 From the bottom of my heart, thank you Madison South Rotarians.  To find out more about this organization, go to www.rotary.org

Thanks for reading #258 of 7777.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

#257 The Fun in Puns

A little humor to brighten the day.

I did a theatrical performance about puns. Really it was just a play on words.

There was a sign on the lawn at a drug re-hab center that said 'Keep off the Grass'

The butcher backed up into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.

There was once a cross-eyed teacher who couldn't control his pupils.

A prisoner's favorite punctuation mark is the period. It marks the end of his sentence.

Yesterday I accidentally swallowed some food coloring. The doctor says I'm OK, but I feel like I've dyed a little inside.

I saw a beaver movie last night, it was the best dam movie I've ever seen.

The one who invented the door knocker got a No-bell prize.

The shoemaker did not deny his apprentice anything he needed. He gave his awl.

When the cannibal showed up late to the luncheon, they gave him the cold shoulder.

From www.punoftheday.com

Thanks for reading #257 of 7777.

Friday, June 26, 2015

# 256 It's Time to Jump

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” 

Please...jump on this wild ride of a bandwagon and see where life takes you.  My sole purpose at this point in living is to educate and raise funds for Metastatic Breast Cancer...period.  I can not, can not do this alone and I have been beyond fortunate, beyond lucky, beyond my wildest dreams to have such compassionate people surround me with their enthusiasm and complete dedication to MY cause.  They might not have chosen this particular one to raise a ruckus but they have embraced it and I am forever grateful (again and again) for their support.  

I have learned unbelievable facts and figures I didn't know before cancer struck and I am hoping my fellow comrades in this crusade are also becoming educated not only about this disease but to what life can teach us at any given moment.  As ugly as cancer can be, the "newer and richer experience" is reaching out to people and asking them to take that leap on to my proverbial bandwagon--and then they do--without hesitation.  If nothing else in this crazy cancer frenzy, witnessing the depth of human kindness in so many ways makes it the rewarding experience I cherish and, more importantly, lets me be fearless to fight the monster.

Kudos to all of you out there.  Again, I humbly thank and applaud you for your tenacious stand against MBC and your ardent support of me and my 155,000 life loving friends.

And now on to the finale-- the swim in Lake Mendota next Tuesday.  Rob (best husband--ever) is already fretting about the weather and the winds and the waves.  Boo hoo!  Take one day at a time, dear husband, and see what happens.  At this point, only lightening and a tornado would keep me out of the water.  Rumble tumble whitecaps or blue yucky algae--a piece of cake.  Sounds like fun (really) and hope you can join me.

  Follow the website www.onewomanmanylakes.net or Facebook (One Woman Many Lakes) for updates on the entry, the exit and the environment.

Thanks for caring and reading # 256 of 7777.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

#255 "Do Something Fun"

Okay, I guess she said it all.  Enjoy the youngest day of your life today.

(Oh, and by the way, share my One Woman Many Lakes Facebook page and ask people to like it. The best way to get the word out about MBC).

Thanks for reading # 255 of 7777.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

# 254 Lake Monona--Check

A cause may be inconvenient, but it's magnificent. It's like champagne or high heels, and one must be prepared to suffer for it.” 

 Arnold BennettThe Title: A Comedy in Three Acts

The fifth swimmer is in the boat getting ready for her splash. 

I'm not sure if suffering is what happened yesterday but with swim #4 of the Madison lakes completed, it certainly felt magnificent.  People are talking and we are ranting so the word is getting out about MBC.  Are you listening world?  We are mad as hell!

Check out videos and pictures on www.onewomanmanylakes.net.

A humongous thank you to all the supporters on shore, kayakers and swimmers alongside me.  Being surrounded by this incredible group of people has been absolutely mind boggling.  It has been said that this is a lonely disease but as I swam yesterday my thoughts kept coming back to those land lover cheerleaders, the skillful boaters and the nonstop swimmers all collectively shouting out for me and the other 155,000 of us with this disease.  Loneliness--not happening with so many watching my back.

 They. never. stop. giving.

Thanks for reading # 254 of 7777.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

#253 Just Breathe

This is the start and waaaay over there is the finish.
My very own personal weatherman, Rob, has stewed and worried over the direction of the wind, the weeds in the lake and any other thing he deems worthy to agonize about in the upcoming swim. Relax, I tell him.  This is not a race, our life savings are secure and our first born will not be sacrificed for whatever reason.  Poor guy has done a remarkable job lining up boats and the media to make sure I will be safe in the water and everyone will hear our message; but he is aging before my eyes as we prepare my next swim.

 Chill and breathe. Chill and breathe.

 Everything is going to be all right.

It looks like it will be a beautiful 1.8 mile swim gliding past Monona Terrace and landing at BB beach.  I can hear your cheers wherever you are so keep those good vibes sailing across the water.

Check out the latest press from our local paper.

Thanks for reading # 253 of 7777.

Monday, June 22, 2015

#252 10 Tips

Swimming Monona tomorrow at 11.  Join in on the fun either in the water or on land.  Thanks to all my faithful supporters cheering me on and raising their voices.  Go to www.onewomanmanylakes.net for any updates or visit my Facebook page, One Woman Many Lakes.

It is Metsmonday and the article below, written by Toni Bernard, seemed appropriate for the day.  Wise words for all no matter what trips us up in life.

10 tips from 10 years sick

Ten years ago this summer, my husband and I flew from California to Paris, planning to immerse ourselves in Parisian culture for three weeks. The second day there, I got sick with what appeared to be an acute viral infection. I spent most of those three weeks in a Parisian bed. Ten years later—I’m still sick. I didn’t research what I should have learned the past 10 years. These are just 10 things I have learned.

1. Take time to grieve your old life and then create a new one.
I was in such denial that I forced myself to return to work while sick. When my body finally broke down and I had to trade the classroom for the bedroom, I was angry for months. Then I was paralyzed with sadness over the loss of my identity: With my children grown and gone, who was I if I wasn’t a law professor? 

Denial, anger, sadness/depression, acceptance—these are well-known as stages in the grieving process. I could have weathered denial, anger, and sadness with a lot more grace had I known they applied to a life-disrupting illness.
It took me many years to reach a level of acceptance that made it possible to create a new life. Your new life may be found in photography, embroidery, writing, public service (my friend in Australia, Marilyn, does relief work from her computer, re-uniting animals with their owners after natural disasters).

If your favorite activities are longer within the realm of possibility for you, think outside the box. The first few years after getting sick, if someone had told me I’d write a book from the bed, I would have said, “Not possible.” But I did. Open your heart and mind to possibilities that are within your reach.

2. Friendships are affected by illness, often dramatically.
Some friends have disappeared from my life. Others have stayed around, but our relationship has been altered by my illness. Before I got sick, I loved to share the details of my life. But now those details are not so appealing: a catalogue of symptoms or a list of side-effects from a medication; the details of a doctor’s appointment.
It took me several years to learn how to be a friend while sick. Now I focus on subjects other than my medical condition and, to my surprise, it has turned out to be a treasured respite from my illness.
As for friends who haven’t stuck around, our friendship may have faltered for any number of reasons—their discomfort about illness, my unreliability as a companion. I know they wish the best for me, and I wish the best for them.

3. Illness is the great equalizer.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the waiting room at a medical facility. My health care provider serves the indigent in several counties. I share the waiting room with the homeless and the affluent. People graciously give up their chairs to others in need. People admire each other’s children. They engage in friendly small talk. We know we’re in this together.

4. Trust your judgment regarding what you can and cannot do.
Most of us were raised to be eager to please others. As a result, we often question our own judgment about what’s best for our health. I’ve reached the point where I don’t care if someone thinks I can do more than I know I’m capable of. I trust my own judgment.
Sometimes I’m willing to push my limits and pay the consequences. But it’s my choice. Recently, my husband and I went to the wedding of a dear friend. It was a small gathering at her house. After the ceremony, it was hard to skip the restaurant celebration, especially with people asking us to come. But I knew I’d reached my limit—in this case, the limit of how far I could go outside my limits!

5. Find beauty in small things.
In a passage I love from Emma, Jane Austen said this about Emma as she looked out her window at the small happenings in the village street below: “A mind lively and at ease, can do with seeing nothing, and can see nothing that does not answer.”
I’ve learned to do with seeing beauty in the small happenings in my bedroom: a spider, dropping from the ceiling on a silken thread, only to stop a foot above the bed; a fly, dashing around the bedroom like some crazy freeway driver.
When I wrote about this in “Issa: My Life Through the Pen of a Haiku Master,” a reader commented, saying she’s had to trade a life of activity for one of stillness, but when she uses that stillness to observe her small world closely, “…it almost seems like an even trade.”

6. Cultivate gratitude.
One day, my mind was churning with a list of grievances about living with chronic illness. Inspired by Byron Katie (in a practice I explain in the book), I decided to turn those thoughts around. I picked up a pen and told myself to list everything I liked about being sick.
I started this little exercise with a cynical smirk on my face. But when I put the pen down, I was astonished at what I’d come up with. Here are four of the twelve items on my list: I don’t answer to an alarm clock; I’m never stuck in traffic; I have the perfect excuse to avoid events I don’t want to attend; my “To Do” list is very short.
Now when I go to bed at night, I reflect on what I’m grateful for in my life. The list is long.

7. Some days you’ll just plain feel weary of being sick.
When I saw my GP a few weeks ago for my usual three-month follow-up (10 years of “follow-ups”!), as usual, he asked how I was. With a sigh, I said, “I’m tired of being sick.” I half expected him to say, “What? The author of How to Be Sick is tired of being sick?” But, he didn’t. He understood.
I still have days when I’d trade all the wonderful things that have happened because of my book just to have my health back. But I also know that if I’m patient, the weariness will pass, and I’ll once again get on with my new life.

8. A loving caregiver is to be treasured.
My heart goes out to those of you who don’t have someone to care for you. This illness has been as hard on my husband as it’s been on me—he’s lost his partner out in the world and has to run our household almost on his own. I know that a lot of partners don’t hang around. Not a day goes by that I don’t appreciate how fortunate I am and wish that all of you had the same loving support that I do.

9. We’re fortunate to live in the Internet Age.
I can’t imagine how much more difficult this illness would be if I couldn’t connect with others on the web who are similarly sick. Through blogs and Facebook and my website, I’ve met people from all over the world.
If you live alone and are housebound, cyberspace friends may be your only source of support. It’s so comforting to hear from another person with chronic illness and be able to say, “That’s exactly how I feel!” When I think of how isolated people were who were sick just a few decades ago, I feel fortunate to be sick in the Internet Age.

10. This is just my life.
Zen teacher, Joko Beck, said: “Our life is always all right. There’s nothing wrong with it. Even if we have horrendous problems, it’s just our life.” I find great solace in these words. Not everything can be fixed—perhaps not even my health.
“Just my life” has meant ending my career years before I expected to, being mostly housebound, feeling continually sick, not being able to socialize for very long. These are the facts that make up my life. I accept them and vow to make the best of the life I’ve been given. My heartfelt wish is that you do too.

Toni Bernhard was a law professor at the University of California—Davis. She is the author of How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and their Caregivers. Her forthcoming book is titled How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow. She can be found online at her self-titled site, Toni Bernhard.

Thanks for reading # 252 of 7777.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

#251 Dragon Boat Racing

Craziness on the water again yesterday.  No, I was not stroking across a lake in my wetsuit but using a different kind of stroke as in a paddle in the Dragon Boat competition at Lake Wingra.  Our team, the Oncobusters, was a group of nurses, doctors and patients who gather once a year and do this wild sport in support of cancer survivors. Approximately 90 seconds of hard paddling until you can collapse when the finish line is crossed--triumphant in the sense that we didn't flip and end up in the weeds.  Sharing lots of laughs, high fives and a sense of camaraderie that we got the job done slowed the heart rate to normal after busting our butts over the water.

If you watch the video closely, you will see Rob and me in the front of the boat paddling our hearts out.


While on shore I was busy handing out my business cards getting the word out about MBC (again).  People were extremely supportive as I asked them to pass the word on to their communities about the statistics behind my rantings.  Rob noted that I was preaching to the choir since this is a cancer related event but many I spoke with didn't know what I now know and, as we are aware; education is powerful.

Speaking of getting the word out, please, please, please, pass this on.  I want to get to 500 "likes" on my One Woman, Many Lakes Facebook page by my June 30th swim.  Tell your friends and their friends and so on and so on.

One more thing, Happy Father's Day to all and especially to my kayaking buddy, Rob.

Thanks for reading # 251 of 7777.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

#250 And Then The Phone Call...

This is a tough one to write today.  It was exactly one year ago when--and I could tell you the exact place, time, what I was wearing and who I was with --I received THE phone call from my oncologist.

  That phone call that sends your heart into rapid palpitations, ties your stomach in a twisted knot and the feeling your morning's breakfast and the prior three could end up on the carpet in front of you.  A gut wrenching call rendering me to collapse into a fetal position with a plea to anyone nearby that it was a wrong number.

"This call is regarding yesterday's bone scan."

In my head I pictured the screen filled with red spots--could red be a good color?

No, red is not a good color.

 And by the way...

Yes, your cancer has metastasized to your bones.  No, there is no cure. Yes, we have drugs to keep you alive but we don't know for how long.  No, we don't know why this happened. Yes, we are positive of the diagnosis.  No, there is no mistake. Yes, this will change your life forever.

Splash ahead to one year later and I am still here but have crawled out of the fetal position and into a wetsuit.  Screaming and swimming have replaced the punch in the stomach and moved me on to rallying the troops to find a cure or at least more drugs to keep me alive. A good distraction and a cause worth fighting for because this is about me and Heather and Maggie and the 155,000 of us who have received that call.

Please--let's work on keeping one more person from experiencing that "punch in the stomach" call.  Grab our hands and together help us shout about why we need more research dollars for metastatic breast cancer.  No need to swim--just scream and pass it on. This could save your daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers.

Go to www.onewomanmanylakes.net

A flower of hope
Thanks for your constant support and for reading # 250 of 7777.

Friday, June 19, 2015

#249 A Big Birthday

Rob, the birthday man today.

 If you have been following my blog you are aware of his adventurous spirit and slight snafus when it comes to everything from driving to kayaking to hug forgetting and on and on.  I have known him for 39 years and every single day is a ride on the wild side--and that has been a good thing. See blog # 35 for more adulation from his loving wife.

Two of his favorite things--besides his beloved children--are fishing and supporting me on this cancer trip--which he has embraced with a fury of none other.  

Here is an example of how he is spending his 62nd birthday today.

1. Picking me up from my fishing outing and driving me back home.
2.  Joining me at the Dragon Boat practice for tomorrow's race--he is also rowing.
3.  Grabbing a quick bite to eat before heading to Stoughton for a Relay for Life cancer walk and then getting up at the crack of dawn to thank the participants as a representative of the American Cancer Society board.
4.  Not thinking about his birthday because he is taking care of me or supporting others with cancer.

This is who is is and why I am crazy in love with him.  I won't extend this sea of praise about how special he is because his actions speak louder than words.  Heck of a man is all I have to say.
Happy Birthday to the best there is.


Thanks for reading # 249 of 7777.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

#248 And It Was This Big!

I'm having another kind of water experience for the next two days--attending a fishing clinic in western Wisconsin with a group of dynamic fish crazed women.  Since I might as well be on Mars for   internet service, my daughter is posting this today and hopefully will be able to include pictures of the gigantic fish I caught. If not, there will be pictures of me lounging by the stream enjoying life dreaming about the big one that got away.

Thanks for reading # 248 of 7777.
I wish I wish for this fish today!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

# 247 Slam, Dunk, Another One Done

Did it!  Two miles and change.

Thank you to all my faithful supporters and cheerleaders.  The word is getting out so keep passing this on.  Share my Facebook page, One Woman Many Lakes, to all your friends and their friends and their friends and their friends.  You get the idea.

By the way, I'm not apologizing for repeating myself. Cancer never apologizes.

Don't forget to visit and share my webpage

Thanks for reading # 247 of 7777.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

#246 Swimming A Straight Line

“Nothing is impossible. With so many people saying it couldn’t be
done, all it takes is an imagination.”
–Michael Phelps, USA gold medalist in swimming

In my imagination there is a cure out there for 155,000 of us and "Nothing is impossible".

 Today is a swim day at Lake Kegonsa at 11 and according to my own personal weatherman, Rob, winds are light, temperatures normal and all other swim factors have been checked off the list so it is a definite "go".  Wish me luck as I swim mile after mile getting from one side of the lake to the other--and if I can manage a straight line--it should be about two miles.

Visit my webpage at www.onewomanmanylakes.net  to find out more how to help and like my One Woman Many Lakes Facebook page.  Spreading the word one lake at a time.

Temps for the day!
Partly sunny
76° Lo 56°

Thanks for reading # 246 of 7777.

Monday, June 15, 2015


Our embrace with hope for a cure.

Heather, my friend with mets, has written a moving piece on what it's like living with this disease.  I am touched by her words about me and more determined than ever to have our voices heard.  Let's keep this movement going forward by taking action and donating to help Heather reach her goal of walking Bri to Kindergarten on her first day of school. Every single dollar counts.

Go to www.onewomanmanylakes.net and donate today and share this important message. 

I am so proud to call Mary my friend. It never ceases to surprise me how few people know what metastatic cancer is (the only breast cancer that kills). And to be honest, it often hurts to be in the "forgotten" group. We're not the inspirational, happy ending people love to cheer on and hear about. A teeny tiny fraction of research goes toward mets because we're the lost cause. Why put a lot of effort toward something that may not be a cure and would only give someone like me a few months? But the reality is, those few months could mean that I reach my only goal in life: to see Bri start kindergarten next year. Those mere months could be the difference in being here to see another birthday or celebrating another anniversary with Jeff. We're not necessarily fighting for a cure, we're fighting for time. I can't describe how much it means to have Mary out there as a voice for women like me, MeganMaggieAleciaKimJulie, and so many other young women who are holding onto the only realistic hope we have: research. So, rather than curling up in a ball, crying about how unfair life is, we'll get back up and holler as loud as we can, hoping that we can make a difference. Even if that means just one more person "getting" it. ‪#‎dontignorestageiv‬

By Heather McManamy

Another swim day tomorrow in Lake Kegonsa.  This is for all our daughters, sisters, nieces, mothers, aunts, cousins, friends and future generations.  Let's do it for them.

Thanks for reading #245 of 7777.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

# 244 Kids Can Say The Darnedest Things!

Crazy busy right now so my talented daughter took over the job of blog writing.  Enjoy!

Kids, some people love them and some, well not so much. As a young child of a teacher, I swore that I would never work with kids. Then, I was bitten (no, not by the kids) by the "kid bug". Oh, the stories I could tell about my years working with kids, especially the ones with autism. They are the little light in my eyes and every day I have spent working with these magnificent youngsters is always a new adventure.

I could tell you stories about collecting rocks during recess, working in the "quiet" room, and playing "Ring around the Rosie" multiple times in order to teach a youngster how to finish phrases and speak his/her own phrases; but that would take a novel to write, so I will share two that I will never forget.

Years ago, I worked as a Paraeducator at North Davis Elementary School. I was the "helper" of a sweet and spunky 6 year old girl with autism. One day, we were in line, and I bent down to tie my shoe. All of the sudden I heard a little excited voice say "Ms. Maggie, you have hairs!" Being pretty used to the funny things this young girl would say, I didn't get offended. She was just stating what she saw and to a little kid, hair was a pretty extraordinary thing to see! Without even asking her what she meant by "hairs", she says to me "Ms. Maggie, you have lots of hairs on your arms!" I tell you, you don't know how to contain your laugher in front of a group of kids and a teacher until you have worked in a classroom! Yes, I do have hairy arms and it was up to my little "friend" to remind me of that!

You might wonder how I reacted to such a comment? Well, it went something like this. "Yes D, I do have hair.  Part of growing up I guess." Then I gave her a hug and her day was made right then and there.

In another classroom I worked with a little boy who had a fascinating name. I won't share it on here but will share one of my many conversations with him.

Me: G, how did you get your name?
The kid: Well, my mom and dad met. Then they fell in love and had me!

Not quite what I was asking for but couldn't explain that better myself! Well done kid, well done!

Kids really do say the darnedest things!!
By Maggie Gooze

Thanks for reading #244 of 7777.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

#243 A Poet's Thought

This is not David but an integral part of India

Our trip to India was a bucket list highlight last February experiencing everything about this country from the people to the food to the historic sites.  An added benefit to our travels was the Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) companions who spent the 3 1/2 weeks with us either racing through the streets on a rickshaw or setting afloat in a houseboat in southern India. They were a delightful, funny and engaging group and we have kept in touch with many of them after our trip.  
One gentleman, who always made me laugh, is a gifted poet who has graciously shared his exceptional poems with me.  Below is one of his talented creations.  

By David Sandgrund
You must understand the whole of life, 
not just one little part of it. 
That is why you must read, 

that is why you must look at the skies. 

That is why you must sing and dance, 

and write poems, and suffer, and understand, 

for all that is life.

Thanks for reading #243 of 7777.

Friday, June 12, 2015

#242 An Upcoming Group Effort

A quick hip hip hurray as my monthly visit with my oncologist went well (always a relief for a metster) and more good news was added when he told me he is taking the day off to swim in Lake Mendota on June 30th.  If you ever have had any dealings with doctors and specifically with oncologists you know they don't often take the day off from the office so I was thrilled to have him join me in the water.

Just the beginning

After Tuesday's looooonnnnng swim, my good friend and swimming companion, Robin, turned to me and suggested we do a relay instead of the 4.5 mile--never ending, going to take a billion years to get across--swim.  She assured me that it would not be considered a "fail" if we didn't do the entire distance but more of a group effort--similar to what this whole cancer trip has been.

I will admit that relief washed over me after we determined that was our plan so when Dr. A. asked about the swim he agreed to join in as our third leg in the relay.  How appropriate to swim with a supportive friend and my onc doc by my side.  It seems like an analogy bubbling up somewhere in this scenario but I won't attempt it today.

The swim is set, the media plans to cover the story and my message about MBC will hit the airways with a splash so stay tuned and follow it all on my webpage at www.onewomanmanylakes.net or my Facebook page, One Woman Many Lakes and pass it on and on and on.

Thanks for reading # 242 of 7777.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

#241 Going the Extra .35 of a Mile

Wowzer! is all I have to say.  Yesterday's swim was quite the event with people rallying with me in my cry for more funds for MBC.  The media was out in full force with cameras whirring and microphones stuck in my face.  Spread the word was my message and I think they are starting to finally get it.

How many more lakes do I need to swim until the research closes in on a cure?  Not stopping, no way, Jose, get that money pouring in and then we will talk about me retiring from the mermaid duty.

As for the actual swim, eight brave swimmers plunged into the relatively warm waters and, like sharks after their prey, we were all off.  Well, some of us took off like sharks.  See the video as I stop, look around and wonder where the heck I am going. (Hope the video works, if not, use your imagination.)

Despite a few leg cramps which rendered me to swim with NO legs for the last .8 mile (the media would have loved that), there is not too much to report.  Rob stayed clear of me--a tad too clear for my comfort level--but he assured me that I was always within his range of vision.

What did surprise all the swimmers was the extra .35 tenths of a mile making the trip a total of 2.85 miles.  It may not seem like a big deal but, trust me, it is.  Wind shifts and the current added those extra strokes on to an already lengthy dip but we rallied and did our thumbs up to the crowd on the shoreline as we emerged from the weedy water.

Four down, eight more to go and by lake # 12, our voices will be heard.

Go visit my website www.onewomanmanylakes.net and donate so that I can hang up my soggy wetsuit and enjoy a nice long (with days of leisurely swimming) life. Also check out my One Woman Many Lakes Facebook page and share it.  Pass the message on.

Thanks for reading # 241 of 7777.

#240 Foot in Mouth No More

Stay tuned for pictures of today's swim on my Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/onewomanmanylakes?fref=ts

Dedicating the Lake Waubesa swim to my mets sister, Heather.

Heather cheerleading me on!

 In the meantime it seems like good time to revisit what to say to someone with cancer--blogs # 7 and # 8 were earlier posts about this sensitive topic.  Several people have expressed feelings of being uncomfortable and don't want to end up with their size 9 in their mouth.

  About 95% of the time the words are comforting and uplifting, however, (and this isn't you) sometimes the brain and the words get discombobulated and leaves both parties feeling a bit pi$$ed, foolish, trite, stupid, etc. etc. etc.

My daughter-in-law and son found a series of cards made by Emily McDowell, a woman with cancer, and sent me the first of many in the collection.  Brilliant idea and because sharing is caring, here's the first one.

"Please let me be the first to punch the next person who tells you everything happens for a reason.  I'm sorry you're going through this."

Her web page is emilymcdowell.com if you'd like to purchase some of these gems.

Thanks for reading # 240 of 7777.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

#239 Bri

'Twas the night before the swim when all through the lake,
 The fish were contemplating the incoming steak.
Would those toes be yummy and juicy and fat,
Or would the taste be all yucky and soggy and flat?
(A poem attempt by yours truly.  My apologies...)

Tomorrow is the swim in Lake Waubesa--2.5 miles across with the winds blowing one way or the other.

Hopefully there won't be toe eating fish or any other creepy crawly things interested in my body parts and maybe this will make me put the pedal to the metal--so to speak--to get to the other side.  Pictures and the adventure will be posted tomorrow.  Pass the word on--the momentum is building.

On another important note...

The Headquarters event last night was amazing and thank you to all who took part in the merriment while eating and drinking and supporting us. When asked why I am jumping into lakes, rallying businesses for a portion of their sales and screaming my head off about the lack of funding and awareness for this disease--my answer is simply...

I am doing it for Bri. 

Bri's pose for the camera.  

She is the precious daughter of Heather--a mets sister.  Heather's hope is for research gurus to discover a new drug so she can live long enough to walk her baby girl through the door on her first day of kindergarten.

Please donate on my webpage to help all the moms and dads living with MBC.

Thanks for reading #239 of 7777.

Monday, June 8, 2015

# 238 MM at HQ

Join me at Headquarters in Oregon today.  I am the woman sitting with her mouth wide open shrieking about the injustices of what 155,000 of us face each and every day.  HQ is donating a percentage of their sales to METAvivor.org so your support is greatly appreciated.  Plus the food is delicious!

If you are tired of hearing me rant read this woman's blog about living with this disease. She says it with a hit, a run and a blast out of the ballpark.  A wake up call if there ever was one!

From metathriving.com
“If you cannot be positive, then at least be quiet.” – Joel Osteen
That is a prevailing mentality in the pink ribbon community when it comes to breast cancer. We are under tremendous pressure to stay upbeat, positive, fight for our survival, and above all, be a survivor. That means not dying from breast cancer. That means not being Stage IV. That means not having metastasis.

There is also a culture of victim-blaming. Did you not get enough mammograms? (Never mind the fact that they don’t actually prevent anything, and in many young women, they’re useless for detecting breast cancer.) Did you not get yourself to the doctor in time? (Never mind that early detection is no guarantee, it’s just living with a Sword of Damocles over your head.) Did you eat too much sugar? Did you not juice enough? Have you tried this? Did you try that? Were you eating the right things or the wrong things? Did you-

Did you?

Did you metastasize?

Then it must have been something you did. So be positive, or be quiet. That is the message the metastatic community gets from the pink industry. We are only profitable when we are silent. So sad, too bad, sucks to be you, let’s spin the story into one of shiny hope and feature another survivor who gets to say “There but for the grace of God go I” and raise more money for the cause.
More money for the pockets.

There is no cure for breast cancer. There isn’t something lurking in the depths of a Big Pharma conspiracy, covered up by the FDA and held back by the researchers. But it’s true, there’s no profit from curing breast cancer. As long as people are dying, people can use that fear to fund the pink ribbon. As long as there are dead to shake our heads and tsk-tsk over, it is popular to don a shade of pastel and proclaim to be supporting “the cure”. It is acceptable to sing cutesy jingles about mammograms, or flash perfect, healthy breasts with product branding. That’s “being positive”, and we know the dead exist, but it’s the positive, upbeat survivors who are celebrated.
The dead don’t talk, and the dying shouldn’t.

We are dying, and we are expected to be positive or stay quiet? No, we will NOT be quiet. We are not voiceless. We refuse to stay unheard and we will not be deliberately silenced. This kind of mentality has kept the MBC crowd swept under the rug and locked in the back room where we won’t disturb the delicate sensibilities of the pinkwashed public who buy into the ribbon tripe.If you want me to be positive, bitch, then I’m positive this fucking disease is killing us and no one gives a damn as long as they can keep turning a profit.We will NOT be quiet! No more. We’ve been silent enough, and we will be silent again soon — far too soon.

This is the point where people shake their heads, roll their eyes, and purse their lips in disapproval. Hush. Don’t be so… that. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, after all. Don’t be so angry. You just alienate people and you’re not helping anyone.

We’ve been setting out the honey traps for decades. We’ve been calm, we’ve been gentle, we’ve buried our anger at this disease and the unfairness of it all and smiled for the public and wear our pink ribbons dutifully and speak only of the dead in our little closed groups where only the metastatic are allowed.

What have we gained from decades of smiling politely and luring with honey? Absolutely jack all of shit.

We’ve tried it your way. It’s our turn now.

We are not dying. As Kiki Mason put it in regards to similar circumstances with the AIDS crisis, we are being murdered. The privileged few sit among the high ranks and make pleasant noises about an unpleasant disease, and while everyone talks of “advancements”, no one brings up the fact the death rate is the same it was in the 1970s. We have not increased mean survival. Over 40,000 Americans die from Metastatic Breast Cancer each year. That is 108 people in the USA every day. Breast cancer is still the leading killer of women, behind lung cancer. We have awareness, but we have done nothing with this awareness.

And yet we are told to not be so extreme, not be so shocking, not be so crude. Don’t do Die-Ins. Don’t be so angry.

But why shouldn’t we be? We are dying! And again to quote Kiki, we want to live! By any means necessary. If being polite has not given us any results in 40 years, then why shouldn’t we be angry? 108 people every day is shocking! Do you want to see how big a crowd that is? Do you understand how many people that is? Think of the number of stars in the American flag. Double that. That is still fewer stars than the body count.

We have the funding, but no one is putting it in research. The few who do are not enough. Not in comparison to the amount the pink ribbon draws in annually in the United States alone. If they are truly “for the cure”, then where is the research? Where are the clinical trials?

There is a reason I am involved with MET UP. There is a reason we take our cues, with blessings, from ACT UP. The similarities start with the annual death rate, and do not stop there. As Kiki wrote in Manifesto Destiny: “Our service organizations are a joke. Gay Men’s Health Crisis: With all their money and clout, all you get is a free lunch, group therapy and free counseling via my favorite question, ‘Have you made out your will yet?’ AmFAR? It hasn’t funded clinical trials in two years, and when it did, the studies were pathetic. AmFAIL is more like it. Or, how about the AIDS Inaction Council?”

Sound familiar? Take her words a step further. Replace AIDS with MBC. Read what she once wrote, in a new light, in a fresh frame: “‘Give us a few lives today,’ they insist, ‘and we’ll trade you even more tomorrow.’ Breast Cancer careerists–both diagnosed and cancer-free–have exchanged their anger for an invitation to the White House. It is their megalomania and the illusion of power that buys the silence of these so-called community leaders. And where does that leave the rest of us? We’re left fighting for our lives while a group of well-educated, affluent white ‘survivors’ sit on community boards and advisory councils while we’re left to die on the streets.”

Again, doesn’t that sound familiar? If you are shifting uncomfortably and making excuses, could it be that you are part of the contributing problem? Where IS your anger? So many lives — so young, so fine, so loved — are taken from us every day. Women are getting diagnosed at younger ages, with more aggressive cancers. Men are getting diagnosed. People are dying. Millions of dollars are being spent on pink ribbons and there has been no change in the death rate. Where IS the anger?

Make no mistake, all lives matter here. Not just the young. Not just the women. Not just the American. Not just the white. We are all dying. And regardless of age, color, or country, it is all unfair. Forty years of nothing. That’s unfair. Millions of dollars worth of nothing. Unfair. So goddamn right we’re angry! I’m pissed! I want to live, and I’m going to fight for that by any means necessary. And I am not alone.

There’s a lion who is no longer asleep. And when she roars, the color pink will expose its dirty black underbelly.
MET UP. Fight back. Fight mets. In our silences lies our deaths.

 Posted by Susanne at 2:11 am

Thanks for reading #238 of 7777.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


Again and again, I am blown away at the support from my community and my rally to bring awareness and, more importantly, increased research funds for Metastatic Breast cancer. Screaming and ranting all by myself is a lonely road to travel unless one has generous offerings from people like the owners of Headquarters who have stepped up without me asking and are sharing my passion to find a cure.  Please stop by tomorrow to eat, drink and be merry and while you are at it, thank the magnanimous Jamie and Miranda for hollering with me.  We will make a difference!

One Woman Many Lakes 

I am pleased to announce the one and only Headquarters Bar & Restaurant in Oregon will generously donate a portion of its sales on Monday, June 8th to METAvivor.org in support of my One Woman Many Lakes campaign. 

Since my diagnosis in June, 2014 it has been my mission to seek more research funding along with raising awareness for this disease that claims 40,000 lives each year. I alone can not find a cure for Metastatic Breast Cancer but I can swim to raise funds. As I swim across lake after lake this year please also support me with a donation to METAvivor.org, an organization that provides 100% of its donations to MBC research. 

Come on down to Headquarters on Monday, June 8th, grab some food &  drink and let’s chat!

Mary Gooze


Thanks for reading # 237 of 7777.