Ok. Bad news first. I'll go into one of my classic "Rica Rants" for a moment.
- Money is tight with us. Not too much of a secret. It has been before the "recession," as we were affected by "pre-recession" stuff. So, we've had to rely on scholarships for school and the kids' programs whenever possible. When scholarship was no longer available at their day school, the kids moved to public school, which was pretty traumatic for them. But I promised them, they'd still be able to go to their sleepaway camp, if not for the whole summer, for 1 session. Last year, we were turned down for scholarship because I didn't get all the paperwork in. I know, lame on all parts, but it is what it is. This year, I got all the paperwork in that I could - all but my tax documents because forms were due before taxes were complete, so they said we could send other documentation (W2s etc) in lieu of 1040s and we wouldn't be penalized. I did that, and I sent the 1040s as soon as they were in. I was then told we were turned down, again, because documents weren't received in time. Only I knew this wasn't the case. When I challenged that, they explained it might have been processed wrong, not to worry, there would be another round of considerations. Great. And then we were turned down a 2nd time. Without explanation. And so late in the game that no other organizations had funds available. So I'd been scrambling before this whole cancer-monster hit us between the eyes. Then, when "Contador" surfaced (I decided to name my cancer "Contador," because he needs a serious ass-whooping, and I'm just the girl to do it), it really threw my ability to ramp up my Mary Kay business and other chances to raise the funds for camp off track.
I, perhaps foolishly, called the camp yesterday to tell them about the diagnosis and to apologize that I may need another couple of weeks to pay the balance (did I mention that the amount owed is about what a scholarship would have been, and is less than 1/3 of the entire tuition? So the vast majority is paid?) in light of this wrench thrown into our lives. The responses I got from the camp were despicable and condescending, including ending this horrible email with, "I understand that this is a difficult time and I hope that you will be able to receive treatment that will completely eradicate the disease." (If you're curious, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll forward them in their entirety to you.) I believe the President of the camp board was a form-letter writer. As in those form letters where you roll your eyes at their utter insensitivity. And you can totally tell from the pre-fabricated response, that probably went through legal to feign sensitivity, that this was composed and re-composed because it is the absolute opposite of her telephone demeanor, nastiness, and the following messages.
SO... now, instead of making the calls to doctors, making appointments, sorting out insurance stuff, and prepping for my battle against cancer, I have to fight an administrator on a power trip, who has given me a deadline of 5 days to pay the balance, or the kids can't go to camp - which at this time, is so important for them. The children know, and this part of things is so awful for them, at the very least, because I don't have any answers for them, and I'm a wreck processing everything. Not to mention the fact that I am having a hard enough time managing where and when I'm supposed to be places, let alone figure out where they have to be. They need the escape, security, and vacation from the "C" word.
- "Contador," just like its namesake, Alberto Contador, doesn't know when to throw in the towel. Just like in today's stage, where you think he's finally settled into the pack, accepting the fact that he's going down, attacks one last time just to be a royal pain the ass. "Contador" has either sent a domestique or two to throw me off, or is attempting another attack, because the MRI results show what appear to be subareolar intraductal papillomas. By nature, these seem to be benign. But, given how annoyingly frustrating "Contador" appears to be, we're not sure if it's a benign bluff or a genuine attack.
(BTW, you may wonder why I'm getting into such detail here. It's very simple. I sucked at biology, and I sucked at chemistry. The more I have to write, say or type the things that I have, the more likely I'm going to remember what the hell these things are. I'm not yet at the stage where I can pronounce half of what defines "Contador," so I've got to keep typing it.)
- Stamford Health Systems seems to be in love with me. Because every part of the radiology department wants a piece of me. First, they want a biopsy next Friday for the intraductal papillomas. But, before that, on Monday morning the phlebotomists want me, the CT Scan Techs called me in for a full-body scan (they love every inch of me!), then I get a full-body bone scan and, if that weren't enough, the geneticist wants a piece of me, too. (Now, if only I can turn these appointments into skin care classes... I'd have the camp tuition balance situation solved!)
And now, the good news...
Lastly, and saving the best for last, LIVESTRONG. Oh, how I love thee, LIVESTRONG. My blog post "Never Say Never," caught the eye of folks at LIVESTRONG HQ. I got a request to share it with the team and the LIVESTRONG.org blog. I was honored. As a result, I have been flooded with the most amazing Tweets, FB messages, calls and emails from a network of loving, caring and encouraging people. Some called me an inspiration, but I haven't done anything yet. THEY inspire ME. Don't thank me - "Contador" still thinks he has a chance to score points on this Tour. Yes, we know that, but I haven't finished him off yet. It's you - all of you - that inspire me to dig deep, and to find the depth that I need to suffer this epic ride until I can claim.... YELLOW.
Now, inspire me to ride. I have a race - the EFTA NECS #8 Treasure Valley Rally - coming up at the end of August. Sponsor me - make a donation to my LIVESTRONG Challenge account. Yeah, I'll ride it. I have to defend my current 2nd Place Standings in the Clydesdale Class and stay on the season's podium so I can represent Team LIVESTRONG! Last year, I rode and fought for others. And I DNFed. (Did Not Finish) This year, I'm digging deeper. Let's hope "Contador" can't mountain bike, cause I'm finishing this sucker.