Once we joined in on the activities on Tuesday, our adrenaline was running, as we looked at everyone willing to try Stand-up Paddle boarding on such a cold and windy day (at least the wind was blowing inland). What thrill and exhilaration my 8-year old daughter and I faced when stepping onto a paddle board. You have to be on your knees until you get out into the water and catch your balance, then you stand up and hopefully don’t fall in the water. We saw a few people fall in, and just like in Wipeout, couldn’t help but laugh, all in good fun! There were professionals there, and we had life-jackets on so there was little to worry about, that is until I paddled myself out beyond the pier, the danger area! There was another man out there who had fallen in, and it wasn’t until I came around to this area that I plopped straight down on my board, without falling over. My mother-in-law quickly alerted the pro’s to come and help me and the surf quickly took us back inward. Ah finally, land! But I had caught the bug, I wanted to go out again, this time I had a camera attached so I wanted to be a showgirl without falling over! This takes coordination, which I luckily had that day. Once left to paddle inland on my own, I was able to just lift my paddle over my head and let the waves carry me in, the feeling was exhilarating! I would never have done this on my own, and certainly not in the conditions that the weather allowed, but with families around us going through the same maladies as our family, helped us to have more fun and create a certain bond to those we exchanged conversations and even glances with while venturing out and facing our fears.
Wednesday, paddle boating was cancelled and we took a day to ourselves, while Thursday we left it all on the table. This was surfing day! As my daughter and I put on our wetsuits, we quickly got a lesson on land how to surf. Being in active chemo treatments, I did not have the strength to stand up on my board from the belly position. The staff at Ocean Cure really worked with me on helping me to see that even if I got to my knees then I could manage standing up from there.
Other than this malady, I just had to conquer my one fear that stood in front of me, the ocean. Once we were paired with an instructor, I had to quickly bring my surfing buddy up to speed on how I have never swam in the ocean. He quickly and calmly assured me that he would go at my pace, and anxiety seemed to dwindle. “Are you ready?” he asked, “no!” was my resounding answer, but we were off and soon I was on the surfboard. Wow, here comes the first big wave, followed by a gulp of seawater, okay close my mouth next time! Here I am on a surf board, grasping my board for dear life and trying to listen to everything my instructor is telling me. We made 2 runs without a surf and caught some water before going on a third run.
Jeanine thought that I was done as I must have looked exhausted, but we were just taking a break!
So here we go, third and possibly last run of the day, I am now feeling a little more like a pro, my board has only tipped once, and I am thankful for my wetsuit! You can really pick up speeds when you’re paddling and the wave is coming! Here comes the last wave of the day, and I pick myself up and get up to my knees and ride out the wave. I did it! I rode a wave, and it wasn’t what I pictured in my head, but it was still exhilarating at the same time. Whoever says surfing is a hobby hasn’t ever truly surfed, it is a full on athletic sport, working every muscle in your body. I can attest to this, because the next day I was sore all over! J
By the end of the week, I had felt truly blessed for being able to do something my family never would have done on our own, meet new friends, and spend time at the beach. I am so grateful to Little Pink Houses of Hope for affording me this opportunity to keep fighting and giving me the strength and courage to finish my chemo treatments strong.