1st Cancerversary

October 15, 2010: Breast Cancer Diagnosis

October 16, 2011: California Wine Country Half Marathon.


Can I just begin with: Wow. Wow. Wow.

As you may recall, last weekend was the one year anniversary of my FBC diagnosis. I will now also remember the anniversary for running a 1/2 Marathon exactly one year later.

Running the 1/2 Marathon on Sunday was truly one of the great experiences of my life (Silver Lining). It was so powerful because it symbolized the end of illness and the rebirth of my health.

From the start of the race, I was very emotional. The HOTY (a/k/a Husband of the Year) came to the start line with me to kiss me goodbye.  It reminded me of the last kiss before being rolled into surgery.  It was an “I love you and will be here waiting when you finish” kiss.  I love this man. So. Very. Much. He has been my greatest Silver Lining. And to add to his HOTY-ness, he drove 820 miles in 2 days so that I could run 13.1 miles.  How great is that?!?

Back to the race.  It was a perfect day.  When I say perfect, I mean PERFECT (and I’m pretty picky when it comes to running!). It was cool and cloudy, which is ideal running weather.  Save for a few gentle rolling hills, the course was flat. And so very, very pretty.

Running through the vineyards of the Russian River Valley was incredibly peaceful. It was this peacefulness that allowed me to spend the better part of the 13.1 miles recalling detailed memories from the last year: from the day of the diagnosis to the HOTY’s return trip from Israel (after having been there for a whopping 7 hours), to talking with 4 3/4 (now Finally Five), to surgery, to adopting Buzz, to chemo to radiation and recovery. Wow. It’s been some year!

I thought about all of the down times and all of the incredible Silver Linings that went along with them. There were (& continue to be!) SO MANY Silver Linings, by the way.  In fact, thinking about the SL’s, I found myself smiling during much of the run. I was just so happy. And grateful. And Buzzed up!

When it comes to running in races, I’m a little Secretariat-ish in that I tend to start slow, hold back and then finish very fast (though that is the only way that in which I am like Secretariat!).

So, it was at mile 11 when I kicked into high gear.  Something just turned over in my mind and my legs that took things up a notch. It felt soooooooo good!

I did have one minor snafu.  Just after I passed mile 11 and picked up my pace, the song Go the Distance from the Disney movie Hercules came on. Remember the lyrics that last week were motivational?  Well this week, they caused me to promptly burst into tears and propel me down the path of hyperventilation! I mean just read these lyrics:

And I won’t look back
I can go the distance
And I’ll stay on track
No I won’t accept defeat
It’s an uphill slope
But I won’t lose hope
Till I go the distance
And my journey is complete
But to look beyond the glory is the hardest part
For a hero’s strength is measured by his heart

I was a blubbering mess. The poor woman running next to me had a look of sheer terror on her face watching me cry and struggle for air.  All I could do was give her a thumbs up and smile to let her know that I’d be ok.

I quickly fast forwarded my iPod to Lady Gaga’s Poker Face to get myself back on track.

By mile 12, I started passing people (and passing people and passing people).  It was so FUN!

When I rounded the corner and saw the finish line, I started sprinting.  I felt like my feet were no longer touching the ground.  I was so joyous.

And there was the HOTY, waiting for me.  As always. I fell into his arms and had a wonderfully cathartic cry.

My outfit for running.  When the HOTY shot this, I thought of all of the pre-chemo photos that he took.


This is where I kicked it into high gear. And it felt sooooo good!

Oh, YES, I did!

And then I really bumped it up…a la Secretariat!

The medal for finishing.


Thank you ALL so very much for your love and support and encouragement.  I felt every bit of the positive, Silver Lining energy that you sent to me.


I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.

– Maya Angelou


  1. Naomi Damask says

    I'm new to your website thanks to Anne L from Chicago. I just got diagnose w/ the FBC this week (funny that you call it this b/c this is what I was referring to it as) and am SO HAPPY I reached out to my Junior League friends and have learned about your blog! Already a huge fan – love your sense of humor and style of writing. Congrats on the 1/2 marathon.

  2. Victoria says

    I have to say, I'm very impressed. As a runner I know that I will often say, "I just don't feel right today, I don't think I'll run." So, to go through what you have this year and to run a half marathon at a very good pace at the end of it. Amazing! I look forward to the next year of your revamped blog!

    • Brookside Buzz says

      Thanks, Slim! I happen to think that you are a One in a Million as well and am so grateful for our friendship!

  3. adrienne says

    Such a Full Circle . YAHOOO Hollye – you did it ALL with grace , humor and compassion ! Blessings always , A.

  4. says


    Congratulations! You are absolutely amazing! Such an inspiration to me and so many. As a fellow runner, I can only imagine what this run meant to you. Physical, mental, emotional and so much more. I do think that the half marathon, marathon and whatever race it happens to be, is really such a mental thing. If one puts their mind to it, they can do it. And you have proven that with this race, and all that you have taken on and overcome the entire last year!!!! You won the ultimate marathon! What a year it has been, and you have conquered it and then some! The GOLD goes to you!!!
    xoxo Buffy

    • Brookside Buzz says

      Thanks so much, Buffy! Your note means so very much to me! You are so right about runs being equal parts (if not more so!) mental/emotional and physical. Anyone can do it if she puts her mind to it! Miss you!

  5. Bob + Patsy says


    Way to go! What an awesome anniversary — we are so happy for you. Can't wait to begin calling JJ …"JJ HOTY"!!!!

    Live you guys,

    Bob and Patsy

  6. LMJ says

    Wow, You have me soaring, crying and laughing!!! 🙂 Congratulations on a remarkable accomplishment. Am so inspired by your courage and determined optimism. Thank you for sharing your journey.

    xo Laura

  7. Vivi says

    Congratulations Hollye.
    You go girl! Amazing.
    Also, 820 miles? Pretty impressive, even for a HOTY.
    Time to celebrate each other daily I'd say.

  8. Laura McGrew says

    I love thinking about you running and I am so grateful you wrote about the experience. I suspect that last mile was thrilling beyond belief for you. You are and have been just amazing. Enjoy yourself!

  9. Carrie Riley says

    What a beautiful metaphor this run was for your journey through the past year. The endurance, the anguish, the reflection, the tears, the elation, the SL's, and the inner strength you found to sprint across the finsh line, into the loving arms of your amazing husband! I am so proud of you.

  10. Emily Mullranin says

    Way to go Hollye!! I LOVE the horn & banjo duo and the mimosas along the road! Amazing SL's that you most definitely deserve because YOU are nothing short of amazing.

  11. Kim says

    Congratulations Hollye! It brought tears to my eyes to read about you processing the year while running. I believe the race is a metaphor for where you where in Oct. 2010 and just how far you've come in your journey. You've endured and you've triumphed! For knowing the darkness we can truly begin to live in the light! It's worth knowing and crying about – even hyperventilating a bit! You and the HOTY inspire us all!

    • Brookside Buzz says

      I couldn't agree more, Kim. It was one long, long race…and long, long year! It sure feels good to cross the finish line. Thank you so much for your thoughtful note!

  12. Linda says

    So happy for you. I just finished chemo Oct. 3 and am still waiting to feel better. Head is there but body has not caught up. Love your lymphedema sleeve…do you have to wear it when running?
    You continue to inspire!

    • Brookside Buzz says

      Thanks so much! …& congratulations on finishing chemo! You, too, have finished a long, long, long race. I must say that running was so much easier than chemo! Yes, I do have to wear the lymphedema sleeve (a/k/a Spanx for my arm!) when I fly and exercise. Pretty, huh? Hope every day brings Silver Linings and better health!

  13. Carol Harrington Riv says

    So very proud of you Hol ! This post brought back a lot of memories of your battle, and I must admit- tears to my eyes! Isn't it something how a song can turn us into a blubbering mess, when we least expect it? At the same time, that song seemed to propel you onward.

    It must be labeled your new theme song! 🙂

  14. Kimberly says

    Congrats!!! What a fabulous and most amazing accomplishment! As a Survivor, your blog has special meaning, and has become my morning ritual, the first thing I look for when I open my emails. Yesterday a dear friend of mine shared with me that both his wife and sister were diagnosed with FBC….I know what the f…! You were the first one that came to mind, and I quickly wrote down your blog and asked him to share it with them. Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to share your inspiration and your Silver Linings with these two wonderful women!

    • Brookside Buzz says

      Dear Kimberly,
      Thank you so much for your comment.
      I'm so, so sad for your friend. A major WTF!?! Thank you for thinking of me and for sending them the blog. I am hopeful that it is helpful to them. Please let me know if I can be of assistance in any way.
      Thanks, again!