Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Christy and the Not-so-5-Avocado Hike

Eve started dance class. The girl who never lets her heels hit the floor was ready.

(Except for the tights. Gotta cut those feet out of those tights. And the tap shoes. No, no, no. None of these six pair of shoes we have at home will do.)

For the first class, she made it through ballet. She even looked happy to be there for a while.

But time to change into tap shoes? No way, Ho-zay. They hurt. And make her knee hurt. And it's interesting to note the intermittent knee pain that appears whenever Eve is asked to do something that doesn't require ballet shoes or running around naked.

So I put the six pair of tap shoes back into their boxes and took Eve to the dance store and let her pick out her own tap shoes that were not hand-me-downs. I'm fairly sure we purchased a pair of shoes in the same brand and size that are sitting in a box in her closet.

Eve does tap, take two. Go!

The shoes stayed on her feet for maybe four minutes before she came out of the studio crying. I sent her back in for the new, more artistic form of dance called barefoot tapping. No chocolate for you if you don't get back in there.

Yes, a half bag of chocolate chips was on the line. (They cure cancer?)

Eve stayed in tap for a little bit longer than she did the week before, so I'm recording this as a semi-success. If we can get her to stay a minute longer each week than the week before, she may attend a whole class by October.

Still, with September being Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, it's a good time to remember that our problems could be much worse. I'll take forcing my daughter to tap and have fun, dammit, over chemo and tumors any day.

She's been a good sport with my hike training. As long as I pack half the pantry in our stroller, Eve will sit still for up to two hours a day while I push her to and fro. We've been around hilly lakes, even hillier when you are pushing a stroller. We've been around the art museum, hills a-plenty. We even braved the hills to the nearest Taco Bell (an eight-mile round trip).

And, as shocking as this will be to you, I didn't even like or finish my food. Eve and I split one of those $5 boxes. I had high hopes of the Bacon Ranch Chicken Flatbread Sandwich, because it had bacon and ranch. But it was a gooey, pasty mess. And the Burrito Supreme that came with it? Grossy McGrossgross. Maybe this particular Taco Bell caters to the senior-living neighborhood it's in front of, because you could have totally gummed this meal.

It feels so treasonous to talk this way about Taco Bell. We just had a really good meal there two days before, after Eve's appointment at Duke.

It was a very boring appointment or else I would have told you about it earlier. Eve has to go for her radiation-oncology follow up once a year to make sure her bowels aren't obstructed and her spine isn't growing all out of whack.

And that she's not glowing. That's the most important.

The most interesting part of the visit was how the nurse seemed none-too-concerned that the suction bucket on the wall obviously had someone else's green gastrointestinal fluid in it. I had visions of Eve and her NG tube and the pesto-like substance that was coming out of her nose and felt something try to come up my throat just a bit.

Even the waiting room was boring. "Who, may I ask, is the patient? What are you having done today?" inquired the volunteer, whose only job I've been able to figure out is to ask people personal questions while they wait for the doctor. She's like a walking HIPAA violation. "Which breast are you getting radiated?"

I'm glad we only have to go to the bowels that is Duke Rad-Onc once a year. Sub-basements are the depressingist.

Well, maybe the depressingist is the thought of Eve waking up, tangled in tubes, after losing one kidney and then some. That's what I kept thinking about as I hiked 16 miles at the Eno River this weekend. Was I tired? Absolutely. But those pale, bald kids kept popping into my head and I felt like an a-hole to even voice my complaints. As my friend stated while we lamented the state of our feet, "We must really hate cancer."

Yes, we do.

I kept thinking of the little boy who is recovering from surgery for osteosarcoma and how he'd probably love to be sweating with us. Except he's got physical therapy to strengthen the leg he almost lost. I think that boy in particular got me through the last mile, especially when we were climbing over trees and scaling rocks while trying not to fall in the river. It was kind of exciting, like being a stunt double in Indiana Jones. Except without all the snakes. Or guns. Or Nazis.

Actually, it was nothing like Indiana Jones. But what I wouldn't give to have Short Round following me while I hike, because I'm sure he'd be cool with hauling my Gatorade.

I'm very sure I remember someone asking, "Will we be having a proper break today, to sit down and eat a sandwich and change our socks?" And I remember the coach saying, "Absolutely."

And the last thing I remember after that is our proper break being me hiding behind a tree, trying not to pee on my shoes. I'm halfway to becoming a millionaire, if I can just figure out how to create the app "MapMyPortaPotty."

Me: What's the longest you've hiked in one day?
Coach: Umm, about 24 miles.
Me: Do you think it's crazy that a bunch of us beginners are going to try and hike 28.3 miles in one day?
Coach: Absolutely!

It's the way he said Absolutely that made me feel uncomfortable. But I'll always have those images of Eve and her bloody steri-strips. Her pesto-green NG tube. Her pale, bald head. I think they'll get me through. So far, I've trained at least 142 miles. What's another 28.3 when kids are dying, and dying to switch places with me in the woods?

My friend's phone died at 11 miles, but at that point, it said we had burned 5 avocados. I couldn't wait to see how many avocados we would burn in another five miles.

At mile 16.08, I selected end workout and awaited lotsa guacamole.

You have burned 2878 calories = 5 avocados!

Wha wha? Are you telling me that your little CardioTrainer app only goes up to FIVE AVOCADOS?!? Isn't this basic math? Can't you just add more avocados?

No thanks to CardioTrainer, I figured out that I burned 30.29 Michelob Amber Ultras or 7.38 Chicken Baja Chalupas or 27.4 bananas.

You just know I went home and binged on bananas.


  1. Hilarious! Are you coming to Coldstone next week?

  2. I am going to try! What are the hours? I might be able to come straight from school because the kids stay late that day.