Thursday, January 31, 2008

Early Morning Running

The alarm went off at 4:35 this morning, and I woke up literally dreaming I was running. As I stirred about, I realized that, indeed, I hadn't been running. No, I was quite groggy. Fast forward 20 minutes later, when I was weaving unsteadily down the road more than running, and I thought to myself, "This feels just like a few minutes ago, when I WAS running in my sleep!" Dori got a big chuckle out of that.

Early morning running has pros and cons, just like most things. The pros almost always outweigh the cons. There are few cars (I only saw six on a two-mile stretch on Granny White Pike). It is usually very peaceful and not windy. It's perfect "me time." There are no cell phones or computers; it's you finding a cadence and rhythm, either thinking deeply about things or perhaps not at all. It's healthy ... breakfast tastes very good after a run ... and you feel energized the whole day as long as you don't overdo things. There isn't time on weekday mornings for long runs; moderate morning mileage helps you get in your weekly mileage without tearing up your body.

The cons, of course, are there, too. Waking up at 4:30 can be tough some days. You can feel ragged the first mile or so. It can be frigid some mornings, but most times a turtleneck, hat and gloves solve that, as does half a mile of running. In the summer, the humidity can be high (wahhh). When it's dark, you have to look down a lot to make sure you don't hit a pothole or big rock (more wahhh).

Yada yada yada ... that's all small stuff. Running in the morning is great.

Dori and I spent time at the Long Term Clinic today with Dr. Jagasia and her nurse practitioner, Cary. We went over the signs of chronic graft versus host disease, which occurs in about 70% of leukemia patients. So far, Dori has navigated the GVHD stuff very well. It looks like the December flare-up was drug-related and not attributable to GVHD. Some of her blood counts have dropped some, but that's likely because her blood type is in the process of flipping. They will begin tapering the cyclosporine soon, which is a good thing, and her PICC line will likely come out next week.

We visited three patients we know in the short-term clinic. Candy Rucker is doing well. I met Larry, her husband, who has a lot of positive energy. That comes in handy, I've heard, when you're trying to defeat a blood disease. Another friend who's doing well looks like he has an onset of diabetes triggered by the steroids, while another is fighting the steroid side effects. Steroids are your friend, and steroids can suck.

Dori is at risk for more issues down the road, like osteoporosis, lung or liver complications, etc., etc., because of the chemo and steroids. Monitoring these potential challenges is a big part of Long Term Care. That's fine with us.

This morning's 4.5-mile run and some other running has me at about 20 miles for the week. I won't run tomorrow. Looks like I'll be running at least a nine-miler this weekend as I ramp up the miles. The kids have some basketball games, and we look forward to going to a Super Bowl party with some friends. I like the sound of all of it.

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