Well, from flooding (“I’ll share my Gillian tune later!) ) to SNOW?! SERIOUSLY? It isn’t even Jay Fordice’s birthday yet (Oct 2nd – he was my “consultant/editor” for my book!) – but alas, this IS Alaska, and we DID say we were looking to turng Obstacles and Adversity into Opportunities and Adventures – RIGHT?
Well, that’s this week!! Tonight is Trends and Transformation, where 23 cancer survivors (male and female!) will take to the catwalk at the Anchorage Museum to show off over 12 high profile businesses/boutique’s lines of clothing. Now, mind you I ORIGINALLY said I’d ONLY do it, if I could wear Carharts…..never dreaming Alaska Cancer Care Alliance (the sponsor) would say ‘yes’! (hmmm – can you say Godcidence that Army/Navy Surplus is owned by Mark/Debbie Cruver – and I went to Elementary thru High School with Mark?!!) Needless to say, I have an AWESOME Carharts outfit, and equally nice outfits that require (don’t faint) me to wear HEEL – in fact, one is BOOTS with heels!! If you are lucky, I’ll share photos in the next blog, but don’t want to ruin the surprises for the runway tonight.
Then, before I went to speak at Senior Circle to about 40 people at Mat-Su Regional Hospital yesterday, I looked at the paper, only to find that I had been featured in a special section they run yearly on medical issues highlighting my award of Great West Division/American Cancer Society Hero of Hope, plus a compliation of some of my book and other info gleaned from other articles/conversations with the paper. What a humbling and honoring way to start the day! Thanks Heather/Andrew/Robert and crew!
If that wasn’t enough, I then headed to learn how to ‘strut my stuff” down the catwalk by a former Miss Alaska, when the Reg. Executive Director of the American Cancer Soceity is up on the 2nd floor balcony and says “hey Care – come here!!” Talk about a DOUBLE humbling honor – I had the privelge of meeting Dr. Otis Brawley, the Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society – he had been presenting at Providence Hospital and had another meeting at a conference room at the Museum…….
THEN………it was off to the Anchorage Aces’ office – our professional hockey team. They are going to have a “Paint the Rink Pink” night Oct 8-9 vs. Las Vegas team and I was asked to be part of a video montage of survivors that will be used during the game…..uhhhhhhh……don’t ask me what I said – cuz I can’t remember – I just hope it was good and honored the American Cancer Society enough!! Thanks for the opprotunity and adventure of that one. PLUS we get to come to the games and see the jersey’s auctioned off for another fund-raiser for ACS!!
Next Saturday is Mat-Su Regional Hospital’s Women’s Health Fair – where, yes, I’ll be – for the Cancer Society and also having my book avaliable. Pretty cool – huh?! That’s if the snow’s not too deep nor the river runs any higher! Our road “officially” (*note “officially” and take it how you “think”!) opened on Wednesday I think…..at least that’s when I noticed I didn’t have to go AROUND the road closed sign (the borough already knew I had dr appts – so I had cleared going through the almost 2 feet of water – hit the floorboards of the Explorer……can you say scary?!!)
So just a quicky to everyone to say thanks for all their support and concern. We’re ok it’s just:
A tale was told of a fateful flood, The Little Su would rise, but Bubba Gump and Bill and Care, they would survive, but the path to Care’s Corner would be lost, Care’s Corner would be lost.
The river started going down, We weren’t sure what we’d see, but Care is left with a Solid Rock Cafe, which Bubba and Noel (the cat) do love, which Bubba and Noel do love…….
Signing off for now……
Crazy Catwalking Care……
Ok……so it is supposed to be exciting up here in the Last Frontier, but we moved AWAY from Washington to get AWAY from the RAIN!! Oh, so I sound like I’m whining, but 6.9″ seems a bit much for 24 hours…..and as you can see from the photos, Care’s Corner is being ‘remodelled’ again – hmmmm wonder what God has in mind THIS time!!
I have to admit, it’s been a bit un-nerving to first be awaken by neighbor a bit after 6 am to ask if we need any last minute supplies as our road is closed due to water over the road, no busses, and flood-waters coming hard in the hours ahead. Grateful and blessed to have great renter/neighbors in Cyndy and James, we are blessed to live in a neighboorhood all around of neighbors who have a ‘plan of action’ in place already, and calls all day came from each one checking on the others, especially as the waters were rising, road closed officially, no one in our out, and EMS checking on us, 40 foot trees were been tossed down our river like toothpicks, and Care’s Corner – well…..we can’t see it – it was an ‘island’ for awhile, but now, none of it is visible. We DID find parts of our tent hung up on a stump, and our picnic spool floating and then hung up on same stump, spurting out water from the center hole…..we could only chuckle.
Blessedly, Bill was able to work from home, but we do ask for prayers for his co-workers who were evacuated, neighbors who are losing land and possibly more, and for the hard-working emergency workers – from power outage folks, to Red Cross, to borough folk.
Now for Jamie and Jeff to be able to fly out to root for Seahawks (Jamie) and Packers (Jeff)……stay tuned! We decided not to root but be glad they get to find sun!
Take a look at this photo. No….. really. I mean REALLY look at it. What does it say to YOU?
We are at that time of year when taking a ‘new’ step, or a ‘first’ step, or a ‘different’ step is often upon us.
Some steps seem easier to take. Others APPEAR to be easy to take, but once we commit to taking the step (leap?) we know we cannot turn back, even if we wanted to.
But that is the cool thing. Every step we take, we can’t take back. It only propells us forward. Forward to what? Only time will tell. Only you can tell the outcome. You might slip. Heck, you might even fall flat on your face. But one thing is sure. The next step is right there to take.
When you looked at the picture – did you look as an uphill climb? Or did you look at it as a pathway to a hidden hideaway hole, full of adventure and unknowns? Did you think – “I could never do that” or did you think “that looks so cool! I wonder where that is?”
Every minute you have a chance to take a step. Then another. Where it leads, you get to help decide where it will lead. But like twisted roots, grown over time and legacy’s left, the path and steps may lead to places above and beyond where we could only ever think or imagine.
So before you leave this page, go back and look at the photo. Make a copy of it. Post it on your frig or office wall.
Think of the steps you WANT to take. COMMIT. PURPOSE to lift that leg, wheel that chair and take the step.
Step after step WILL take endurance……..it WILL often take patience. It may even take re-routing where you ‘thought’ you might be headed. But in the end? It’s exactly where you are.
Choices, decisions, committment, desire.
A PLAN, A FIGHT, SECURING A SUFFICIENCY……PROVISION.
Just remember…….NO one…..NO one…..has EVER walked this world alone. So don’t be afraid to ask for a hand along the way – a hand up, a hand to support, a hand to help.
Take that step, will you? And email me and let me know where you end up!
This summer, I had many memorable moments – from CRASH of trees falling before my very eyes as I sat lazily at Care’s Corner, Leon Jernstrom being top Mat-Su fund-raiser for Relay, to watching Bubba grow (into a ?HORSE?!!) and spending time in Talkeetna, one of Alaska’s fun little towns, where Bill worked all summer.
But there was another – well, I can’t exactly say it was a ‘moment’, as it happened over time, but it certainly has been memorable.
Take a look at the photo above. Doesn’t it say it all? Pure delight~ But for me, the photo says ‘HOPE’.
The boy is Connor Dunham. He’s my co-hort in Toys R Us mischief (we don’t want to grow up!), one of my special chemo companions, my Relay For Life Ribbon cutting buddy, and truly, MY mentor in perseverance and how to live life with JOY, even in the WORST of situations.
Notice Connor’s PURPLE shirt? It’s one of his favorites – it’s his SURVIVOR shirt. It is the shirt that he told me “Care, when I wear this it makes people think that if we keep working hard, ALL of us TOGETHER, we can find the CURE for cancer.”
I asked him how he knew that. His matter of fact answer was: “I just do!”
It has been bittersweet. I was able to to see Connor and his family several times this summer. They had made the painful decision a year ago to move from their family and home of Alaska to Seattle, so that they would be closer to some of Connor’s cancer care, instead of the costly airfare and coordinate commuting to appointments. He has been fighting leukemia since he has been 2 years old. He is now eight.
His tenacious, on-top-of –it-all mom, (also one of MY guardian angels), Alicia, his calculating younger brother, Carson, and dad Steve were up to visit, and got to meet Bubba. It was wonderful. And the photo proves it!
I was also blessed to stay with them in their new ‘home’, Mukilteo, where they were my taxi service/ bed/breakfast during my unplanned spring doctor appointments and at the END of my 40th high school reunion/N. Clark County Relay trip (unplanned too, due to my “football concussion”/loss of driving privileges, but WHEW! what a safe haven! )
Dad, Steve, (and the family) have made the difficult sacrifice of Steve being away week, sometimes months, “working the Slope” (oil fields). He does this not just to provide financially, but mostly so Connor can keep getting the medical care he needs. How hard it is for ALL of them to be so far away, worrying, wondering , while Alicia goes solo, without her best friend/husband at her side.
Try to imagine what the last 6 years has been for this family. Daily they deal with broken health care systems – their regulations, changes, uncertainty and absurd mangled messes and maze. Add daily coordination of multiple appointments, chemo, and radiation, a transplant, continual follow-up care, serial casting, therapy PLUS ‘normal’ everyday life (you know – school, grocery shopping, soccer practice/ games, swimming, t-ball, normal “stuff – and making sure Carson, the youngest, doesn’t get lost in it all.)
Yet Connor and his family are filled with HOPE. They give ME HOPE.
So, when I was at the North Clark County Relay For Life, in Battleground, WA (to speak at the Survivor’s Luncheon) I was blown away at opening ceremonies when I was called to the stage and given the humbling honor on being named a National American Cancer Society/Great West Division “Hero of Hope”……and Alaska’s FIRSTHero of Hope!
ME? My mind was reeling. There were so many others I felt who should be standing in my stead. But here I was with National Leaders M.J. Newcomb, J.D. Drollinger and the “Mother of Relay” Pat Flynn. ME?! But I accept the honor with pride, with renewed resolved to FIGHT BACK, and with all that I can muster (yes, I promise to pace!) to keep yapping my trap, training new Jedi Warriors (I AM looking more and more like Yoda aren’t I – cute in his own ugly way, OLD, WISE, talks funny, but has the honor of training YOUNGER JEDI (CANCER) WARRIORS) to fight this ugly battle.
I will take my theme “At The End of Your Hand” making Hands of Hope, helping people realize THEY make a difference……every day, every hour, at the end of their hand, wherever they are.
So…..the photo says it all: HOPE. We are all Heroes of Hope if you think of it….at the end of our hands. Let’s find that CURE!!!
Care Tuk is a nationally known speaker, educator, and retreat/workshop leader. She has been a school, hospital, and home health occupational therapist for more than 30 years. She has been named as a Top Business Woman in America and recognized for her work with youth, disability outreach and awareness, and the American Cancer Society.