It’s My Re-Birthday – Happy new stem cells birthday!

We did this whole stem cell transplant once before with limited success (but I am still alive… so “limited” is relative.) This time

Cindi E.H. waiting for bus with daughter before morning 5 miles. Good morning world!
Cindi E.H. waiting for bus with daughter before morning 5 miles. Good morning world!

instead of using my own stem cells, the new me will be a product of healthy stem cells from my very generous and loving sister, Rebecca.

Last time around, I felt the whole “happy birthday” concept was pretty hokey. This time, I do not. All the options have pretty well run out and and Rebecca and this process is very literally a life saver. SO… happy birthday to me. And to celebrate, I am going to encourage you to send me a Re-Birthday Present! Actually, a present to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light the Night, Team Might Myeloma Fighters. This is our walking team made up of the support group that has met so much to keeping me sane and positive. And, of course, LLS has been critical to the research and support that has allowed me to celebrate this new birthday.

Here is the link to the MM Fighters Team donation page. We are just shy of $10,000 for the year, and it would be awesome to surpass that. Right now, we are top Friends and Family team in the NC Triangle walk!

Light the Night 2015 Mighty Myeloma Fighters Friends and Family
Light the Night 2015 Mighty Myeloma Fighters Friends and Family

 

Make Your Own Sunrise

It’s been storming. “A dark and stormy night,” famed author Snoopy would say. There are, of course, varying degrees of darkness and in

Samalee A creating her own sun rise at the Middle Half in Murfreesboro TN
Samalee A creating her own sun rise at the Middle Half in Murfreesboro TN

all sorts of ways we have been experiencing them of late, whether in the political arena, tragedies in Haiti, or the more mundane almost comprehensible tragedies that just spur resilience and creativity.

The past weekend left few opportunities for sunrises on the east coast and presented more than a few challenges. I think that one of the reasons I like runners is that whether it is the morning training run, a race, or – really – just any daily activity there is something about challenges that they find inviting or maybe invigorating.

Susan BA four mile training run in the dark waiting for power in Chatham Cty
Susan BA four mile training run in the dark waiting for power in Chatham Cty

We are, in regards to the weather, now in the mop up stage and whether contributing to the relief efforts in Haiti or waiting for the power to come back on or cleaning up back yards, we keep going and even make the best of it, I suppose.

Angie D a wizard of oz moment in S. Kansas. It missed.
Angie D a wizard of oz moment in S. Kansas. It missed.
Didi G 5 mile training run with sun shine morning in McAllen
Didi G 5 mile training run with sun shine morning in McAllen

 

 

Visions of Sugar Plums

‘Twas the night before…

The skill of being centered and living in the moment as I understand it is not about ignoring the past or the future. The past is gone, but is felt and experienced in how it shapes today, shapes this moment. And actions taken now lead to the next. A capitol letter leads off the sentence and punctuation ends it. Whatever standard or convenience for communication we have, each moment is a prelude to another. Time “passes.” And it leads somewhere.

Tomorrow is all day of medical tests, starting at 9:30 a.m. and at 2:30 p.m. (or thereabouts) I meet with my doc and some of the team to go over the procedures one more time and I sign the informed consent. “Nestled in bed with visions of … ”

Erica W. Presque Isle Park looking out toward Erie. Beauty between clouds on a 17.5 mile run.
Erica W. Presque Isle Park looking out toward Erie. Beauty between clouds on a 17.5 mile run.

As childish as it seems to me, I still have visions of sugar plums the night before Christmas, even on the Christmases I have spent alone. I know “better” and some years it has led to some pretty nasty depression and in others the acknowledgement of “it is what it is” just leads to a “beginners mind” exploration of the thoughts – meaning that one separates oneself from the thought and explores it with fresh, non judgmental perspective. Anyway… whether one looks at this as just a cognitive process to deal with emotions or thinks of it as “mindfulness” with Buddhists underpinnings, it does not change that those silly wintergreen, spearmint and anise sugar plums are not doing the Texas two-step in my head.

It’s impossible to know the outcome of this procedure. A myleoblative allogeneic stem cell transplant after years of ongoing chemo is a risk. There’s as much a chance things end badly (with badly ranging from BAD to “ah shoot”) and they are to ending well (with “well” ranging from growing old with my sweetie to remaining active for a few more years.) Wintergreen sugar plums equal the licorice and anise.

So, it is with a beginners mind that I write this, knowing that it is a beautiful day and nothing done to today will change yesterday or change the unfolding of the future. Socks (my kitty) sits beside me, intent on a beautifully singing bird just outside the window. It’s a safe bet she is not admiring the song.

Beautiful day. Cool, with hints of Autumn that are greatly influenced by a horrendous hurricane devastating Haitians… people who seem to suffer horrors one after another.

Anyway… Merry Christmas.

Overwhelmingly Wonderful In So Many Ways

Didi G sharing sunrise from far south TX
Didi G sharing sunrise from far south TX

Chasing Every Sun Rise Virtual 4 mile run started out with tracking the beautiful rising sun from South Africa to USA east coast and on to Huntington Beach CA. And in the process, this wonderful bunch of runners have raised in excess of $2000 for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The sun rises that those contributions will help create are the most beautiful part of this one month endeavor.

Today was the kick off, but the run goes on for a month, so there is still plenty of time to add your sun rise.

This is just a small faction of the sunrise pics that have come in. I can’t keep up, so there will be more posted over the coming days… along with some amazing stories… Like Lisa Skier who has, over the years done 15 marathons and lots of other events to raise over $40K for LLS.

Lisa S with family still chasing sunrise to fight blood cancers
Lisa S with family still chasing sunrise to fight blood cancers
Cathleen A foggy morning in Central PA
Cathleen A foggy morning in Central PA

So very, very many more pictures to come. All are images of greeting the new day. All the same sun.

Diane P Sunrise over cotton field in TN
Diane P Sunrise over cotton field in TN
Carol C SC beach sunrise
Carol C SC beach sunrise
Todd S Sunrise on Longs Peak (but I bet no running, huh, Todd)
Todd S Sunrise on Longs Peak (but I bet no running, huh, Todd)

Happy Dance

chrissy-flake-coming-home-from-the-y
Chrissy F coming home from the Y

The FDA yesterday approved a new closed loop insulin delivery system that will come closer than ever before to mimicking a human pancreas.  Obviously, it is by no means a cure, but clinical trials are showing that it improves control significantly, particularly at night where diabetics are at greatest risk of experiencing dangerous “highs and lows.” I thought it odd that there was nothing about this in any of the major main media sources.

There is, of course, the whole issue of cost, availability, and all the individual issues to make this of benefit to the millions of people with Type 1 Diabetis. But, my daughter’s reaction to the news: “I want one.” I hope that in reality it is a real option for both my son and daughter.

Which brings me the sunrise and welcoming the day.

Gill E.'s whispy morning clouds in Alasace
Gill E.’s whispy morning clouds in Alasace

These are “just” another a few more  beautiful sunrises shared on Facebook by running friends.

Many moons (or sunrises) ago my daughter, probably age 5 or 6, I guess, comes bouncing into the bed room at sunup singing:

“This is the day, this is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made.

Let us rejoice, let us rejoice, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

There are a multitude of reasons – legitimate, sad, scary, hurtful reasons- that time and experience give us as reasons to not see the sunrise as anything other than another struggle. Anyway – we continue working toward the fixes and in the meantime take pleasure in the beauty found. Yea, trite and sappy. So be it.

Oh, I updated the Health Upates page as well.

Deirdre G sunset run in Doha with HOT sunset on Marina
Deirdre G sunset run in Doha with HOT sunset on Marina

The Most Beautiful Sunrise May Be a Sunset

jenny-m-alulema-sunset-central-park-nyc-skyline
NYC skyline at sunset from Central Park by Jenny A

Let’s just think of it as an early sunrise…or maybe a late sunrise… or, better yet, let’s just think of chasing a sunrise as the ability to recognize and enjoy the beauty in any moment. Or, when particularly skillful, the ability to recognize beauty in every moment.

The word came today from Debbie with my transplant team that everything is now a green light. Insurance has approved the procedure and the clinical trial team has excepted me into the trial. So, October 6 is now officially “T-6,” that is, six days before transplant. That date – that event – is both dreaded and highly anticipated.

Living in the moment… the ability to pay attention to the value of today doesn’t play well with count downs. Future events that are inevitable really aren’t much different than past events that can’t be changed. They are there. Plotted on a line, each are points with an infinite number of points in between. There is an eternity along that path. So… I like sunrises… the beauty of the surprise in the inevitable and common place. It just so happens that one of the folks on my favorite Facebook running group captured a sunset instead of a sunrise. Matters not… right place, right time, right moment to look up from the run and snap a picture. Beautiful moment.

Chasing Every Sunrise 4 Run Oct. 2 and throughout October

I’ve been collecting “sunrise” pictures for many years.  I love running as dawn is breaking, and particularly enjoy those runs in cities and trails new to me. I’d often toss the maps and just chase whatever angle or perspective would capture the most interesting view.

Chasing Sunrise took on new meaning and new focus soon after I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma… but there is more about that in “About Chasing Every Sunrise.” For now, you are here, I hope to learn more about the 4 mile virtual and real race. For that, go to the link on the header.