Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Word To The Wise

Last week I had my wisdom teeth removed.  The ones that came in almost 20 years ago, plus the little bastard that decided to start coming in the week my cancer was discovered.  Doctor took them all out, and I was awake for the entire procedure.  He only used a local.  It has been one week, and I am still adjusting to a wretched life of soft foods. 

Yesterday was the first day I could use the little plastic syringe they gave me.  Honestly, it made a world of difference.  My gums are less inflamed today, and the pain is significantly less, but it does still hurt.
What hurts?  My jaw and biting hurts.  All my teeth feel super sensitive (still).  I think it’s because they were under so much pressure for so long.  My bottom teeth started to crowd, even though they didn’t hurt until last February, when that final tooth decided to make an entrance. 

Mental note to self:  Take care of the rest of your teeth for the rest of your life.  Take care of Frank the Dog’s teeth, too.  That little guy will be miserable if he can’t enjoy a hard, crunchy, juicy carrot. (his favorite).

Part of me feels this pain is so bad because I was awake during the procedure, which, by the way, wasn’t fun.  Even though I was numb, I am certain I tensed up every nerve in my body as he sawed and ripped them out, one by one. 

For a week, I’ve had mostly Jello, pudding, yogurt, tomato soup, and spaghettios.  I tried my hand at egg salad (yum!) sandwiches and those were pretty soft and easy.  Now, today, I’m going to try something a bit meatier…I miss meat.  Lets hope it goes well. 

At least I have my syringe.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

2014 Leukemia Research Foundation Jim Gibbons Memorial 5K run/ 3K fun walk

Dear Friends and Family,

As many of you know, I have spent the last 16 months fighting a rare form of leukemia, Acute Promyleocytic Leukemia.  When my leukemia was discovered, I had flu like symptoms and large bruises that appeared out of nowhere.  Little did I know, I had days to live without immediate treatment.  I am blessed to say I am in remission, although I am still undergoing maintenance chemotherapy drugs until next October.  It has been a long battle, but I couldn't have done it without the support of my colleagues, friends and family.  Thank you for all your prayers along the way!

I am reaching out to you today asking for your support.  I will be walking as a survivor in the Leukemia Research Foundation's Jim Gibbons 5k run/3k walk in Chicago on June 12. I am walking the 3K in memory and honor of a fellow leukemia patient and friend I made while being treated at Rush, Keith Johns.

Keith was diagnosed the same time as me, Feb 2013.  We were both on the same floor at Rush, and we became friends during our initial month long stay.  Keith was diagnosed with AML (another form of leukemia) and needed a bone marrow transplant.  Keith and I went through our battles together.  We both had turned our rooms into mini studio-style apartments.  His room was plastered with family pictures and goodies from home, as was mine.  We lost our hair at the same time.  We experienced the same sore throats and upset stomachs from our chemo, lovingly termed by the nurses as "the red death".  Yet, he always smiled and waved to everyone in the other rooms.  He was always positive.   Keith did receive his transplant, after lots of chemo, during the summer.  I was lucky enough to also be receiving a round of chemo at the same time as his transplant, so I got to spend a couple more days visiting my friend.  Unfortunately, he had some
complications a few months later and passed away November 28. The news of his passing was incredibly heartbreaking for me.

More than anything, I want to honor my friend by participating in this walk.  The Leukemia Research Foundation is a non-profit that actually provides financial assistance to patients who cannot afford their treatments and/or medications.  It also funds research grants to help find better treatments for all blood cancers.  Last year, LRF provided over $500,000 in grants for research to help cure this devastating disease.  My specific leukemia was a death sentence 20 years ago, but because of groundbreaking research, it now has a 90% survival rate.

Below is a link to my fundraising page.  Please check it out and read my cancer story.  I am reaching out to you today asking for your donation.  I originally set a goal to raise a mere $200, but then I realized I could do better.  Please help me blow the roof on that silly $200!  Your donation will help fund leukemia research and help pay another patient's medical bills.  No donation is too small.  If you can't donate, I would love it if you could share my fundraising page with others, or better yet, join me in the walk!

Everyone is touched by cancer.  Everyone.  Whether its an aunt, mother, father, grandparent, friend or coworker...we all know someone that has experienced what I call "Warrior Training".  Not all of us are lucky enough to hear the word CURED.  Leukemia is a cancer that has a general survival rate of about 50%.  50% is TOO LOW!  We can't up that number without research!  I am one of the lucky ones, I heard REMISSION.  I WILL hear CURED in 4 years. 

I am walking in memory of Keith.  Please make your donation in memory and honor of your loved ones who have fought cancer.

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