Friday, November 23, 2007

'We're the lucky ones.'

Thanksgiving Day 2007 was just awesome.

I woke up early to run the Boulevard Bolt, a five-mile race in beautiful Belle Meade, a third consecutive year. Because my left leg is still bothering me, I was not sure I would finish this race, but gave it the "oh-what-the-hell" effort. I'm glad I did. Despite the tightness and discomfort and having to stop twice to apply more Icy Hot (2-3 minutes of stoppage time), I ran in just over 47 minutes. The great part was running; the hard part was having so much energy but not being able to exert 100% effort. Woulda coulda shoulda ... I had a 40-41 minute race in me, but will more than embrace my time this year!

My Dad and step-Mom Peggy paid us a nice visit after lunch, then we loaded up the car for Thanksgiving Dinner at my Mom's. Joining us at my Mom's and her husband Dan's house - Dori, her Mom Happy, sister Kathy, Kathryn and Will, my sister Anne and her husband Stephen. Mom makes Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray look like third-stringers. I made some smoked sausage stuffing that I brought over. We had tender turkey, two stuffings, mashed potatoes, real cranberry sauce, roasted brussel sprouts cut fresh off the stalk (best I've ever had), green beans, some tasty pinot noir and sauvignon blanc, and two scrumpdelyicious Dessert Designs cakes (apple with caramel icing and coconut) with coffee.

The special part of dinner, great food aside, was the blessing and discussion as dinner began. The kids said grace, and then Kathy and I, on the same wavelength, thought we should go around the table and share what we are thankful for. We passed the kleenexes midway through. Dori, who went next to last, cried the whole way through her beautiful offering. She was rock solid strong during her gracious praise of everyone at the table, the staff at VUMC, the donor she does not know and the many who have come to her side with support. After the poignant moment, we laughed, drank and ate with youthful exuberance.

Dori has changed much this year, as have all in our family. Dori has been so selfless her whole life. She's definitely one of this world's great givers. Through this storm, I see a resolve and deeper appreciation in her now that sets the bar very high for the kids and me. The unachievable now looks achievable, while old fears are more easily vanquished. Each of us, as we said last night, is more in tune with what's important and what's not. We're closer than we've ever been. Our marriage has never been stronger.

Kathy, a breast cancer survivor, mentioned something from the Lance Armstrong book Dori and I read this year, that "we're the lucky ones." Count us fortunate because we've seen life through a lens that most have not. And we all agreed that has been this year's great gift from God. I personally believe Dori and I have been asked to look God in the eye and tell Him we're with Him and ask others to know of Him. He's also asked me to do better in everything I do.

At dinner, my Mom noted how my sister Anne says there are folks in this world "who get it" and "those who don't." I completely agree. I see people here on earth who do nothing but take, expect or whine. On the other hand, I have seen, up close and personal, people who are devoted to serving their fellow man in need. People like Melissa Red, our mother hen who has helped coordinate meals for us, who take care of other daily challenges, with a selflessness and total commitment to my bride's recovery. People like Elizabeth Antony, who check in to see how they can help us. People like Liz McConnell, whose husband emerged from his own cancer battle, who understand how to stay rock solid on course. People like Patricia Eastwood, who send Dori words of strength and encouragement. People like John Marcheschi, who bolster us in prayer and humor. People like our many friends at SBA and the Cathedral, who work quietly but diligently and selflessly to make sure my family is loved. The many people who have added their names to the Bone Marrow Donor Registry and give generously to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The many people we don't know who offer us up in prayer. And people like the doctors, nurses, care partners, cleaning and cooking staff, and others at VUMC who have been nurturing my girl back to health and a new life. Now that's a lot to give thanks for!

Dori is at the hospital this morning with Kathy. All is well, but we had a snafu late Wednesday with her catheter (one of three lines broke and she had to go the emergency room to get it cleaned and capped off). Dori will have her Hickman (heart port) replaced with a PICC line (arm) later today. We're at Day 44 ... and the road still has turns, we know. Thanks for the continuing prayers. We've heard many times how we inspire our friends, and know that we feel the same about all of you.


Anonymous said...

Hey Dori and Jim! This is Tammy, Jackie's friend from Abintra. I am so glad I ran into Dori at the clinic before I went in and I'm thrilled to hear she is still doing well. It gives me a lot of hope.

I and my family (husband, 7-year-old, 16-year-old and my father) also did the Boulevard Bolt on Thanksgiving day. My oldest ran, while the rest of us walked, but it was a good last hurrah for me as I check into the 11th floor Friday morning.

I did an interview with news channel 2 that they didn't air and told them that I was doing this with Dori in my heart as she had done it last year and was ahead of me in this journey.

God Bless you and thank you for your motivation.

Tammy Hart

Jim said...


Thanks for the special note. Dori said she really enjoyed meeting you and I look forward to our paths crossing. We'll follow your progress via your blog, which I've linked on mine.

I agree with your observation about Yoda ... There is no try ... only do. You are going to win.

Love to you and your family. Jim

Anonymous said...

Hello Dori and Jim. I ran across your blog in such an odd way, and felt an instant connection to you guys. Just wanted to let you know I'm put you guy on a whole new network of praying people. No names or anything, but since God konws who you are, and they know your circumstance, there will be a lot of prayers for you!