Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Polar Dip 2014

I participated in the Camp Sunshine Polar Dip this year at East End Beach in Portland.  I knew when I signed up for it that it would be cold...with a strong possibility of sub zero temperatures and/or snow.  But it was the best way for me to give back to this amazing place.

I used social media and email to drum up a lot of donations.  My friends Julie and Eliza joined the team.  I contacted local media outlets and community service organizations.  I spoke to the L/A Kiwanis and they generously donated $200.  The Realtor that sold us our house (shout out to Tim Dunham!) donated $250. The Bangor Daily News interviewed us and ran a huge article in the paper.
After boy loses eye to cancer, family finds solace in Camp
After the article, the donations started rolling in even faster.  Our goal was $2000, which is the estimated cost of sending a family to camp.  At the end, we raised over $3300, making us the top team of the event.

The day of the event was cold but not as cold as it had been previous weeks.  Snow was predicted later in the day.  The air temperature was a balmy 31 degrees and the ocean was 33 degrees.  Julie was there but Eliza could not make it.

I have to confess, I started to get a little nervous as the event grew close.  The spectators were bundled up and the wind started kicking up.  I started to think 'What did I get myself into?' 

And then I saw the Water Extrication Team.  And that put some serious doubt in my mind.

But we were there and we needed to get in. 

It was cold, stupid cold.  My feet felt like they couldn't move.  It hurt. I ditched poor Julie.  I just needed out.

Warming up was worse.  My feet were cold on cold sand.  Even with shoes on they were cold. I couldn't get them off fast enough and get my wool socks back on.

Our Ravelry friend Jenn (where I connected with Julie for the first time) brought a box of Joe from DD.  Man, that hot coffee was wonderful.  We got into the unheated changing room and she started pouring coffee for other participants.  I have to say, it is a little weird to have someone pouring coffee to people in various states of undress and redressing.  But we were all thankful.

My mom wants to do it with us next year.  I plan on doing even more advertising and community outreach.  

I found out when we attended Camp that the Wachussetts Dip became a Polar Roll.  They were supposed to jump into a swimming pool filled with snow and water but the pool broke. So the participants rolled in the snow again.  I don't know that I could have done that.

It took me a few hours to feel warm again.  My feet hurt until I went to bed that night.  But it was temporary pain for a long term gain.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Polar Dip 2014

Some people have been directed to this site as part of our Polar Dip for Camp Sunshine. More information on the dip can be found at Foster's Fighters or through the Camp Sunshine link. I will be sharing pictures, videos, and articles after the event on February 15.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Goodbye 2013, don't let the door hit you in the tukus on the way out

It's been a while but life got in the way.  I guess the best way to review the end of our year is in bullet form chronologically....

- F's eye was adjusted by the ocularist.  He had to add quite a bit to the edges and we were left with the temp eye for a week while he took care of it at the home clinic.  We have not had problems with rotation since then.  However, F has taken to taking his eye out and holding it in his hand.  I sometimes find him wandering around the house, holding his eye.  It has happened a few times in the car, which makes me nervous as he is still rear facing.  I have only found it in his mouth once.  The worst time was when he did it in Walmart.  He was facing away from me in the front seat of the tandem stroller.  I was in the card department and walked in front of the stroller and found that his eye wasn't in.  He wasn't holding it either.  I panicked and thought 'I have to go to the customer service desk to help them find my son's eye.' I found it in the hood of his jacket.

- My husband participated in the Dempsey Challenge.  He pledged to bike 100 miles to raise money for the Dempsey Center.  F and I walked the survivor walk.  It was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  People gave the "oh so sad" look when they saw that F was the survivor, not me.  B ran in the kids fun run, which was a superhero theme.  My mother made him a great cape and he loved it.  My husband raised over $500 for the center, which provides support and care to cancer patients.  I also got within ten feet of McDreamy.  He's a lot shorter than I thought he would be.

- F's IEP team convened and wrote a new plan with consultation from his Early Childhood Educator and Teacher of the Visually Impaired.  They also recommended an Orientation and Mobility assessment, which is still in the works several months later.

- We attended the Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Festival in Freeport for the third time. The boys enjoyed looking at all the pumpkins and showing off their costumes.

- We attended Camp Sunshine for the second time for Trick or Treat weekend.  The boys had an amazing time.  This was a long weekend for general oncology, so kids with a variety of diagnoses were in attendance. There was a retinoblastoma family we had met previous and another RB family that hadn't made it in the summer.  A few days is not enough to cram everything we wanted in, but we all enjoyed it.  The boys got more time to wear their costumes, which delighted B particularly.  He performed "What Does the Fox Say" in the talent show, which he signed up for without me knowing.

- We survived Thanksgiving and Christmas.  All three boys were into Christmas this year, particularly B.  His letters to Santa from him and his brothers (as dictated by B) were published in the Parents section of the Huffington Post.  No one was afraid of Santa, but the twins were not big fans.

- F had another clean MRI.  One more and we will be able to space them out to four months, instead of three.  However, our doctors are not sure what the future holds.  They are fairly certain that he has a good prognosis, but have no other studies to look at.  We have registered him in the childhood cancer database and have offered to paricipate in any research we can.  We have connected with another person who had an intraocular medulloepithelioma as an adult who lives in New England. It is hard to feel so connected in the retinoblastoma community, but so isolated because of the IM.

2013 was not a good year.  I am glad to see it go.