Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Every Mug Deserves a Lifetime

Yesterday was a pretty challenging day. A lot of stuff has happened all in one day.

It all started in the morning. One of my first thoughts of the day was a sense of super happy excitedness. Why? Because 3DayMug was scheduled to arrive at my office. For those of you not in this particular loop, I'll try to explain. 3DayMug is a mug. She is a very special mug. She was created and painted by 3Day Walker and fellow online ambassador, Kristen Cincotta. Through a series of entertaining Twitter-universe moments, Mug became a bit of a 3Day celebrity. Mug even has a facebook page and her own Twitter account. As part of her celebrity, Kristen has made arrangements to make it possible for Mug to participate in a large number of this season's 3Day events, escorted by walkers and crew from among the 3DayTweeps.

So, there I was, feeling particularly excited because Mug was making her way to my office so that she could come to Washington, DC with me and Matt to walk this weekend. My friend, Heather, even helped me out by making some really cute buttons for me to give to walkers who get their picture taken with Mug.

Okay, so when did my day change? I left my office for a little while. I came back and saw that a box had arrived for me. I got wicked excited. I carefully unwrapped Mug and introduced her around my office. I set her up for a little photo shoot so that I could announce on Twitter that she had made it safely to Massachusetts. I took a nice picture.

I picked up the box she was in and then something horrible went wrong. I don't even know how it happened, but suddenly there was a crash and Mug was on the floor. I shouted a word that one is not supposed to shout in one's office. Loudly. A few times. And then I cried a minute. And then I picked her up. Mug's handle had broken in three places.

I let Kristen know right away. I spent the afternoon depressed that I had harmed this Mug that has come to mean so much to so many walkers. That part has been really tough, and I am very good at beating myself up. I spent a bunch of hours focusing on all the people who kept Mug safe and what a lousy job I have done. It helps a lot that Kristen reminded me right away that it was an accident and it was bound to happen. I just really hate that it happened "on my watch". I feel like a careless lummox. But I set the self-loathing aside and focused on helping Mug. I spent the evening repairing Mug.

Her handle is now intact, although I am concerned as to how she will manage if she is held by said handle. And I really don't think she could hang from a beaner on someone's waist pack while they walk, as was planned. I have also inspected her and discovered a small crack on her body. She's been through a lot today, and she will require a lot of special care-taking to get her through the rest of the season.

I stood back and looked at Mug, all repaired and ready to continue her 3Day adventure in DC and I had a flash of clarity. It was as though I could see the whole thing through her eyes. Here's what I think the day felt like to Mug starting with when she fell to the floor:

OUCH! After sitting on the sidelines of this breast cancer event for a few months, I suddenly feel like I might understand what it means to be diagnosed with breast cancer. A minute ago I was fine, and then suddenly this Thing happened to me. I will never be the same. I lay there on the floor with my handle in pieces and I thought, "Why do bad Things happen to Good Mugs? Why me? Why not that old thermos on the desk? Why did this happen to a sweet pretty young Mug like me?"

I couldn't wallow in self pity though because I was suddenly involved in my own treatment. Before I knew what was happening, I was laying on a cold counter exposed to a bright light. I was being poked and prodded and examined and I didn’t feel like I had any real say in what was going to happen next. All I know is that I was thinking, “Please just do whatever you have to do to make me feel whole again.” And then, before I really even knew what was happening, I was being treated with a stinky chemical mess. The people kept poking at me and telling me to stay perfectly still. I was frightened and wondering what was going to happen, and still they kept coming at me with more chemicals. I’m starting to think that super glue and chemo have a lot in common. The people who were poking at me kept muttering platitudes like, “It’s going to be just fine. Don’t worry, we’re taking good care of you.” And yet at the same time, I could see in their eyes a look of deep concern that maybe things weren’t going as smoothly as they’d hoped.

I felt like time had no real meaning while I was lying there for treatment. I kept thinking about all the things I still want to do with my life. I thought about the walks I want to be carried on. I thought about the people I care about and want to see again – Mom, Aunt Julie, the girls from the ATL training walks. I thought about all the people I still haven’t met and all the places I still haven’t seen. I know I am just a Mug, but I want more time and I am scared that because of this Thing, I am not going to have it.

I came through the reconstructive surgery pretty well. I don’t look quite as young as I did before the Thing happened. And maybe one side of me isn’t even with the other anymore, but you would only notice if you stared at me. It’s time to move on to the next stage. I’m ready to walk in the DC 3Day now. I’m going to need a lot of support and folks are going to have to be extra careful with me. I’ve been through a lot, you know.

Thank goodness nobody tried to say "Don't worry, Mug. After this, you will be as good as new." Because I won't be as good as new. I will never be the same Mug as I was before this happened. My whole body has changed because of this; and so has who I am. But I am stronger because I have survived this Thing.

I AM A SURVIVOR NOW! I am ready to head to DC now. I am ready to cheer on the walkers and thank the crew. I am totally ready to stand proud and strong with all the other survivors. Look out for me - I’ll be the one in pink!


  1. Okay, I may be a little more sensitive than usual lately, but your post & Mug's story got me all teary this morning. Not only is Mug a survivor, but a warrior standing strong and determined. Very touching, Lauri.

  2. Oh Lauri, that was beautiful! Thank so much for taking such good care of Mug in her time of need and for relating her story in such a thoughtful way. She is truly a survivor now, with a new appreciation for what that title really means.

    ~ Kristen

  3. Got me all teary-eyed too! Great post Lauri. Rock on Mug the Survivor =)


  4. To borrow from Ms. Candy Coburn, "She's a Pink Warrior!" A very nice analogy, and well said! Missed seeing her in SF, but know she was here and made her way around the City by the Bay...Here's to many more successful walks with her new lease on life...


    Micki Santy
    SF Bay Area 3-Day, '09 & '10

  5. Sorry to hear about Mugs battle but I'm glad she is a survivor. I know how you felt when you saw mug fall. She took a spill out of my car seat into the foot well on the trip from MI to MN and my hear fell out. When I picked her up and she was still ok I was so relieved.

    You've done a great job helping her heal.

  6. Beautiful words and analogy, Lauri. You captured the heart and emotions perfectly. Enjoy your journey with Mug! I bet it will be even more meaningful for you both now. :)

  7. What a beautiful post! Wow! She is a survivor and in a way, we are all survivors. Have a great walk this weekend...I'll be cheering you on, on twitter.


  8. Like a lot of us, Mug had "an Incident". And like a lot of us, Mug has supporters that will pick us up, dust us off, put us back together as good as possible and send us out to do our good work.
    I saw Mug in San Francisco as part of the Pit 2 Crew. She provided a lot of memories and good times. I am glad to hear she made it home and even though she fell and was injured, she'll be walking in DC.