Thursday, July 8, 2010

Next stop Oahu

OK so most post-mastectomy patients are not trying out for the role of gondolier in Venice. Our pecs are much too sore and tight. Our shoulders hunch forward because the muscles tighten overnight. The typical rowing motion would be like stretching a rubber band to capacity. Most post-mastectomy patients also aren't friends with Lila Rifaat Steinle (former All-American lacrosse, led Harvard to a National Championship, brought Bikram yoga to Marin, friend from 5th grade.) Lila doesn't let a lot of grass grow under her wheels. So after we dropped the kids at Impressionist Art Camp, we made our way to Richardson Bay within eyeshot of the San Francisco Bay Bridge - the city off in the foggy horizon. I suddenly really felt like a California girl. She handed me several layers of skin tight wickable tops, some running shorts, a long paddle and a stand-up paddle board. It was like a scene out of Charlie's Angels except it wasn't. The stand-up paddle board is a technique that requires a lot of core work (thank you, Joshua and Joseph (Pilates)). First, you have to dip your bare feet, knee-high into the icy Bay waters. You put your paddle across the board and get on your knees (very Hawaii Five-O.) Then you attempt to stand up on the water. Once I was up, there was only one way to go - out to sea. You start paddling like a gondolier and voila suddenly you are in the middle of the Bay near some island that looks like Alcatraz until Lila says, "OK, Jen, make a U- ee (as in U-turn)." That's when there was trouble on the high seas - a good 30 minute paddle from shore without a life jacket. Boom - it was like bumper cars, I backed into Lila's board full-on and nearly knocked both of us into the icy waters. I started dancing for my life ("So you think you can dance" had nothing on my moves.) I felt like I was a cartoon character running on those rolling barrels trying to catch my balance. Phew! We both regained our footing, avoided the icy seas and were bent over double laughing so hard - until we realized we had a 30 minute paddle back to shore. It was all fine and dandy until the wind picked up and my post-surgery shoulder froze (along with my toes.) Like the Little Engine that Could, I made my way back into the harbor. It was quite a thrill. Next year: Honolulu. "Book 'em Dan-O."