Saturday, January 26, 2008

More Sad News

This morning around 10, I was drawn to an obituary of a 37-year-old woman. It was the lead obituary, but I was drawn more by the woman's infectious smile and pretty face. Then I read the remarkable family tribute. They thanked the doctors in Vanderbilt's Stem Cell Clinic, the same doctors Dori sees, as well as the caring staff on 11 North. This was very hard to read, especially after yesterday.

I thought of this young lady, who had her transplant in May, constantly today. She lost her courageous battle in the prime of her life. Later, I bumped in to one of her doctors, who said it wasn't the GVHD (graft versus host diesease) that led to her death, but a lung issue. Still, the leukemia and fight against it had weakened her. All of this hit me hard, then something else negative happened around lunchtime, and I realized I was angry for the first time in a very long time. It takes a lot to get me upset, but once it happens, I'm no ball of fun.

So I spent most of this afternoon frosted. I needed to run. I had already planned a long one - eight miles. I ran to Belmont, Wedgewood, back down 12th Avenue South, then home. My pace early was, understandably, way too fast for eight miles. I ran the first mile in 8:00, and had to make myself slow down. This was the first time I wore a watch and used my iPod in a long time.

I settled down on the moderate terrain, and started clicking off nine-minute miles. My pace at 6.5 miles was just over 9:00. The humidity was up, but the 37 degrees and light wind felt great. The last 1.5 miles was rough. I simply hit a mini-wall because I had no gel packs. My energy was gone, so I struggled home in 1:13:57, or a 9:18 pace. With gels, I would have hung in there better, but I made myself continue for this woman who was claimed by leukemia.

Other than that, I got the groceries and made a CVS run for Dori. It looks like Dori has some GVHD flaring up in her ankles, so I bought her some hose that fit better to help mitigate the swelling. Dori and I are going out to see friends tonight - for the first time in about eight months. It will be good to get her out of this house for something other than a clinic visit.

I should mention two things - Dori's red blood cell count is dropping, and the nurse practitioner thinks it's because Dori's blood type is changing over to her donor's. Also, Candy Rucker made it home one day after her transplant. Way to go, Candy! Keep up your great fight.

An anonymous friend mailed us six tickets to an upcoming Vanderbilt basketball game. Talk about an incredible gesture. When Dori read their tribute this afternoon, she left the room to cry. Their words were very touching.

Kathryn asked me if I'm going to run the Country Music Marathon. I still haven't decided. I actually might run the Tom King Half in March, since I'm adding miles right now. I ran this race, which is on a very flat course, two years ago. It was my first half and I had little idea what to expect. I had never run that far and had some confidence from an 11-mile training run two weeks prior that had gone very well. The race was a real learning experience. It taught me about pace (I went out too fast), preparation (I thought I had prepared, but not well enough) and pain (it got the better of me that day, and I vowed to do better).

Looking back, that entire experience (training, race, emotions) was one of the best things that's happened to me.

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