What is NOT Cancer 17

Actually getting up at 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning to run-walk the 100th Annual Bay-to-Breakers footrace/costume contest/bacchannal.

Being grateful for friends from Grace Church Brooklyn Heights who sent both pal Elizabeth and signed t-shirts to encourage us along the way.

Being amazed that two friends, Elizabeth and Liz, are willing to pose with me wearing my boob hat. Being amazed that I wear said boob hat. Yes, they look like garlic more than boobs. But I did not have time to find the foam that would have been more realistic.

Thinking a chance to run is a chance to mock Charlie Sheen

Admiring the monarch butterfly centipede. In B-to-B parlance, a centipede means 13 runners connected by both rope or fabric AND by costume theme. We started and finished with these guys.

Running behind cute ladybugs.

Making it to Mile Marker 1.

Thinking that nothing could be more San Francisco than a couple of naked guys running down the street with yellow smiley balloons. We see more naked, middle aged guys than we could count. We see only one topless woman, though.

Noticing naked guys hanging out of windows.

Seeing some naked guys who painted themselves like murals.

Making it to Mile Marker 2!

Marveling at all the house parties as we walked up the Hayes Street Hill.

Giving thanks that a dire weather report - predicting everything from thunderstorms to hail to snow - turns out to be wrong, for SF at least. Looking down the Hayes Street Hill.

Looking up the Hayes Street Hill.

Remarking that official efforts to keep drinking to a minimum, hence this "Sobriety Tent" joke, were actually successful. Not so many blotto drunk runners this year.

Saying howdy to cowgirl runners.

Waving to garden gnome runners.

Making it to Mile Marker 3, at the bottom of the Hayes Street Hill.

Waving to more house party revelers, these along Fell Street and the Panhandle.

Posing with Elizabeth at the exact spot where I had the bike wreck, four days earlier.

Admiring a gargoyle runner. She is running with a mummy.

Coming across perhaps the coolest costume ever, a runner doing a reprise of the movie UP.

Passing Mile Marker 4! Into Golden Gate Park we go.

We all make it to Mile Marker 5! We run most of the way to this point.

Complimenting a runner with a cool hair do. She says she hair-sprayed her hair around an empty water bottle.

Coming upon a Royal Wedding Centipede. Notice yellow queen-y hat, and the mock-up of Princess Beatrice's silly hat. Beatrice announces recently that the hat will be sold for charity. Wonder who will buy it?

Meowing at the Cat Lady runner. Notice cats sewn to her robe!

Passing Mile Marker 6! I am blistered and sore by this point. Walking a bit, running a bit. Friends being very patient.

Enjoying the last of the bands. There is officially-sanctioned entertainment all along the route.

Posing with Elizabeth at Mile Marker 7. I am feeling spent by this point, but a few hundred yards after this, we pass a runner who seems to have Parkinsons disease. If she can do it, I can. We run the rest of the way.

Being glad to walk/hobble/mince after the finish line at Ocean Beach. View back toward the finish line, Mt. Tam and the Golden Gate beyond. Our official time: 2 hours and 7 minutes. Not bad considering a bathroom break, a shoelace break, several stops for photos, and walking at least 2 miles of the course!

Lining up to get finisher medals like these Crayola ladies are wearing.

Watching Elizabeth stretch as we wait for the MUNI bus home. Daughter Erin loans E her petticoat from an old Halloween gothic vampira costume. E wears it for the whole race.

Musing that perhaps leaving left- over boob hats around the house might not be the most wholesome thing for the next generation!


About leftbreast

I have had breast cancer. I was diagnosed at 47, and am now 49. I have finished "active treatment," two surgeries, chemo, radiation, monoclonal antibodies. These days, I only take a drug to suppress my uptake of estrogen, since my tumor was highly reactive to that hormone. I have been married to my husband Pete for 21 years. I have a stepdaughter, Maureen, 30, and a daughter, Erin, 10. I've been a freelance magazine journalist for 20-plus years, covering everything from Chinese foreign policy to Catholic nuns to endangered species. I have had a great life. I have lived in Asia and all over the United States. I have spent nights with tree-sitters in Oregon and with astronomers at the Mauna Kea observatory in Hawaii. I've been to a cocktail party on the poopdeck of a British destroyer docked in Shanghai. I've taken the bus to Tibet, and tramped through the cloud forests of Panama with biologists. A magazine sent me on a raft trip down the Colorado through the Grand Canyon; another sent me to cooking school for a week. I have spent time with celebrities, presidents and heroin dealers. I love my work. I have a loving, supportive family and more friends than I probably deserve. I have had the space and time to camp, ski, cycle, garden, cook and spoil my pets (an Australian shepherd, a German shepherd and a tabby cat). If it all ended tomorrow, I would have to say that it has been a really, really good ride. When I was in thick of treatment, I was simply fighting for more time. Now, I'm trying to connect the experience of cancer with the rest of my life, with the time that's been won. I hope the cancer never comes back, but if it does, I'll be ready. That's what this blog is about.
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11 Responses to What is NOT Cancer 17

  1. laurie says:

    loved seeing your pics!! congratulations on DOING IT! and, you’re right…the boobs look way more garlicky than booby. very funny.

    • leftbreast says:

      Laurie, I should have gone to Flax and gotten the right materials. A friend from Brooklyn who’s an artist suggested using foam and panty hose, but I ended up using cotton balls. Too lumpy! Oh well.

  2. Lee Ann says:

    Heather, I thought about you yesterday morning, and wondered how it would all go, and pulled for you in spirit. So happy to see you went, had a great time and (important to you!) finished. You had me at just showing up and setting out. You go, Girl!

  3. Alison Quoyeser says:

    Hi, Heather.
    Funny pictures! Congrats for running the Bay to Breakers!
    Lynn Beach told me you were at UCSF the day before me for your Herceptin. I told her we’re supposed to meet, and she said keep on trying. 🙂 At least I’m writing.
    Ugh, I feel pretty awful today.

    • leftbreast says:

      Alison, So sorry you’re feeling bad. The radiation fatigue is setting in and my shoulder’s acting up again. This too shall pass. We will get together, when we’re both feeling a little better. Stay strong! H

  4. Dick Guthrie (Tio) says:

    What a fantastic crop of photos.
    Good on you for hanging in there… bruised tailbone and all.
    Just awesome. You set some high standards, girl.
    Well done, you.

  5. Dan says:

    I stumbled upon your blog doing a web search. I got a picture of me with the hairspray girl in about the same spot as she is in your picture. Did she camp out there, or were you there when I was? I was wearing a yellow-greenish hat, tennis shoes, and nothing else…

  6. Sharon & Laurie says:

    Congrats!! What a wonder you are. I liked Erins new outfit (boob-krate). Maybe it will become the new fashion!

  7. Catherine says:

    Congrats Heather! And Elizabeth! I also thought of you on Sunday (was also sorry that we missed the shirt signing before E. left for SF). We were there with you in spirit and hope to hear all about it from E.

    So sorry about the bike accident–that had to HURT! Take care of yourself–you and your body have been through SO much in less than a year. I’m so glad you were able to run the race though–I know it was really important to you. And those are some wild and crazy runners. Thanks for sharing your pics!
    xo C

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