Sunday, January 29, 2012

11 turn

I thought I could escape the "tagging" by my teammates, but Laura got me. It must be retribution for the pictures I posted of her after our night at the Ulman Cancer Fund's Blue Jeans Ball. Since all of my teammates and the bloggers I follow have already been tagged, I am making this blog post a note on facebook and tagging 11 people there.  

Here we go:

1. Post these rules
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people!

11 Things about Me:

1. I have allergies and seem to always leave crumpled tissues in the bed. It drives Tommy CRAZY!

2. I tend not to forward chain emails, but I can't pass this one up as I have enjoyed reading everyone else's post. I think I shy away from the chain letters/emails, but to this day am a bit haunted by a childhood chain letter experience. A friend of my Mom's had a son younger than me (I was probably 10 or 12). He had Leukemia. I remember my Mom talking about him having low platelets, and me picturing little plates floating around in his blood. He sent me a chain letter at some point, and I put it in my desk thinking I would reply at some point. Mikey passed away before I replied, and at the time I felt horrible, since people always said breaking the chain brought bad luck. So I guess now I ignore them entirely because otherwise I would stress myself out about responding to EVERY chain email. (More thank you wanted to know, huh?)

3. I was on the Equestrian Team (a club team) at the University of Maryland for my freshman year of college.

4. I have been known to talk a LOT. When I get focused on a project, I get really quiet, and it tends to freak those around me out a bit.

5. I became a firefighter when I was 18 (yes- I actually rode fire engines and put out fires), and met Tommy at the firehouse.

6. I was fortunate enough to travel across the country twice with my grandparents in their Ford pickup and travel trailer.

7. I cannot pee on my bike. Many triathletes can do this, but I have never been able to accomplish it (I have no problems doing it in my wetsuit or while running, though)

8. I went to a High School with a graduating class of 18 people and a total size of 80 people.

9. Because of #8, I played softball (co-ed), soccer (co-ed), basketball, and ran track in high school. Yes, I was 5'1" and the point guard of our bball team!

10. I fell madly in love at 17, he dumped me at 19 (in retrospect the best thing that could have happened for us), back together when I was 22, married when I was 23, and at 35 I love him more than I did 18 years ago.

11. I think there is nothing better than the sound of my children giggling...even if it is 9:11 pm as I type this and they should be sleeping.

Laura's Questions:
1. What is your DREAM job?
This sounds dorky, but I LOVE my job. I love the "Nancy Drew" aspect of my job. Someone comes to the hospital with an ailment, and our job is to figure out what and why. Sometimes this is very difficult, and I love the feeling that comes with solving the mystery. I also love explaining things to patients and their families in understandable terms and helping them "get it". 

2. If you could live ANYWHERE where would you go?
Cairns, Australia

3. Tell us your BIGGEST secret! ha.. okay a smaller one you are willing to share.
Hmmm...I'm kind of an open book. Not much to share...and I'm not telling you the really good ones.

4. How often do you weigh yourself?
Almost never...I can tell where I am better by how my clothes fit than what I weigh. 

5. Do you keep up w/ politics and current events?
I read the front page, the Metro section, and the Obituaries in the Washington Post. I definitely keep up with local events, and watch the news when I can (hard with young kids around), but I would not say I am keeping up with politics. I will pay attention when the primaries roll around and the current pre-election dust settles. I read the obits because I often find out about patients who have visited our hospital at some point passing away that way. 

6. What is your favorite time of day?
Morning. I love the promise of a new day, and I love the mornings when Tommy gets off work and comes home to greet us before we head out to work/school. I really look forward to him coming in the door those days. 

7. How many hours do YOU sleep a night?

8. What is your BIGGEST lifetime goal//dream?
Ok- I am a bit dorky. Thanks to an amazingly supportive family, I have been able to cross a lot off my "bucket list"....honestly I don't have much of a bucket list because as things come I take them on. Most of all, I would like my kids to one day look back on their childhood and think that I was a good Mother.

9. Would you consider yourself a half empty or half full type?
Half Full. Almost disgustingly so. Have you heard of Polyanna. I honestly want to find the bright side in most situations, and want everyone to be happy. (Not to say I don't have negative moments, but I think when you work in healthcare you have a tendency to think "It could always be worse."

10. Do you reduce, reuse, recycle?
Our county is phenomenal about recycling, so they make it easy. They actually started charging for plastic bags at all stores to reduce pollution, so that has made me remember my reusable bags on a regular basis now. 

11. Do you strength train?
Not lately, but core and yoga. 

My Questions:
1. Beer or wine?
2. What is your favorite holiday and why?
3. If there is one famous person (celebrity, historical figure, author, etc.) you could meet, who would it be and why?
4. If you could be on a reality show (and have whatever talent required to be on that show), which one would it be?
5. If you could only have one artist on your Ipod, who would it be?
6. If you had to change careers, what career would you choose?
7. If you had to go back and re-live one year of your life, when would that be?
8. If you could be a professional in any sport, what sport would that be?
9. What is your all-time favorite book?
10. What scares you most: sharks, snakes, or spiders (or none of the above)?
11. If you could visit one place in the world that you have never been before, where would it be?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

VLOG: Rockin' the REV3 "R"

So my teammate Laura threw down a challenge to do a video blog about what the Rev3 visor means to us. So here goes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"50/50" Why We Fight

I just watched the movie 50/50 during a trainer ride. Disclaimer: I love Seth Rogen. "Knocked Up" is still one of the funniest movies EVER to me (I think because it came out after the birth of my second child and many moments resonated). "50/50" did not disappoint. It can't be easy to make a movie about cancer that makes you laugh, but it did. Humor aside, there were two things that struck me...

#1- Anyone entering (or already in) the medical profession should watch this movie. I would like to think that I am a good communicator, and explain things well to my patients. Watching this movie from the patient perspective (the physician blurting out a diagnosis using huge medical terms, not looking his patient in the eye, not providing support, a novice therapist in a teaching hospital) reminded me that some of the most skilled practitioners are crappy communicators. When I worked in cardiac surgery, the best surgeon had the worst bedside manor. I would have wanted him as my own surgeon if I ever needed it, but I can see as a patient/family member with no point of reference, this guy was an ass (plain and simple).

We ask our patients every day to trust us with situations that are potentially life or death, but we don't always consider the gravity of these conversations. We don't have time, we aren't good communicators, the patient or family is "difficult". Even the temperature in the physician's office, as you are waiting to find out if your chemo treatments worked, took on gravity in this film. (I was focused on the nurse's reaction at this point). So I think this should be required viewing for new med students, nursing students, pretty much anyone who works with patients. We can ALWAYS do better.

#2- Without saying it, this movie highlights the value of the cancer navigator role. What do cancer navigators do? Pretty much what it sounds like. They help a cancer patient navigate the system. They are an advocate, an ally, someone who is perhaps more aware of the resources available, and most importantly help an individual become a more educated advocate for themselves. Here is the goal of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults navigator program.

To improve the ability of young adults to manage their own cancer experiences and long-term cancer survival through:
  • access to support resources tailored specifically to young adults;
  • increased knowledge of their disease, treatment options and lifelong implications of treatment choices; and
  • effective communication with their medical care team
This is why Rev3 staff and Team Rev3 members are participating in the Run Across America. To raise $100K to support the navigation program at the Ulman Cancer Fund. So check out the Ulman Website, consider making a donation, and watch the movie.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Stand by Your (Wo)man

I met my husband Tommy in December of 1992 while we both volunteered for the Fire Department (19 years ago...more than half of my life).
This is pretty much exactly what he looked like the night I met him.

We were good friends, helped each other through dating drama, and never imagined that with our 7 year age difference we would end up together. Fast forward, and we realized we were the best of friends and probably something more. Throw in college for me, a three year "intermission", and then the realization that we were meant to be together. (Ok, so I am sure you are thinking "blech...this is way to sappy"). I'm going somewhere with this....

We have been together for the better part of 16 years (if you don't count the intermission), and there is one amazing thing about Tommy that I don't think I thank him for often enough. He is unconditionally supportive. Here is the conversation in our house a week or so ago:

Me: "So, I want to ask you about something"
Tommy: (I'm sure thinking to himself "What crazy thing does she have going on now?")
Me:"So, did I tell you that Rev3 is doing a Run Across America? I was kind of hoping I could go for the last week."
Tommy: "As long as you can make it work with the kids and my work schedule."

In his head he might be saying "Is she freaking crazy?!?!?! Leaving us for a week to go running?!?!?!". But he NEVER says that I can't do something, or that I am unable to do something. He listens when I need to have a meltdown, and supports me unconditionally. We are far from perfect (he snores), but every year I come to appreciate more and more his support.

Rewind a bit. When I was 18 and applying to schools, he told me I should go wherever I wanted. He didn't try to keep me close to home, or push my decision. When I wanted to undertake a month-long intense firefighter training course that summer, he totally supported me. Plenty of men in the fire department thought a woman becoming a firefighter was ridiculous. I was smaller than the guys, but I went in prepared (I actually beat them all in sit ups and push ups). I struggled with the power saws (darn my Dad and that electric lawnmower). Tommy sat with me patiently, helping me learn to start the saw (despite a meltdown, or two, or ten). He encouraged me through the class, and was there on my first big fire. He never told me I couldn't or shouldn't do it.
An ad we did for a local restaurant.
So many times..graduating nursing school, going back to grad school, going on some fantastic adventures. I have been with him for most of my adult life, but he has always fostered my independence and my sense of adventure.

 In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit, I had the opportunity to go and work in the field hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I was traveling with a co-worker (who Tommy knew). This came about in the course of a few hours, and Tommy never balked. He told me to be careful, made sure arrangements were made for our daughter (not quite 2 at the time), and sent me on my way. I was gone for almost a week, working in the field hospital and then taking care of police officers and their families in downtown New Orleans.

When I got home, the house was clean, my daughter was clean and happy, and Tommy even had a card waiting for me telling me how proud he was of me. Then there was the Marine Corps Marathon (he and the kids even got me a personalized trophy commemorating my accomplishment), countless triathlons, work adventures, trips with friends. He just never stops.

The day before the Marine Corps Marathon, 2008.
Over the past year or so, I have realized that I didn't reciprocate as unconditionally as he does. He asks about something that would take him away for a day, and I pause. Not because I mind, but because I'm running through a mental checklist (what else do we have going on?). So it seems like I mind. When he had the opportunity to go to the Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Colorado this year, I was really excited. He deserves some guy trips. He had a blast, the kids and I survived, and I hope he gets to do it again next year. The other thing I learned? When he is at work or off doing something fun, he doesn't need to hear about every single issue at home. The kids tend to act up more for me than him, and what I perceive as venting comes across as something else.

Tommy has also became a hockey ref last year, which means time doing something he really enjoys. The great thing is that tri season and hockey season don't conflict too much! If anyone is keeping score, though, he is due for about two months away from home. I hope that I don't take for granted his support, and thought I would take a chance to thank him publicly. Thanks to anyone who read this far!

Friday, January 6, 2012

I Had Forgotten.....

I had forgotten... it feels to have races on your calendar and a goal in sight it feels to actually nail a week's worth of workouts it feels to say "Yes I can" instead of "I wish I could" it feels to REALLY be a contributing part of my team, rather than on injured reserve
....what it feels like to be motivated
Now I remember

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I'm Running (Part of the Way) Across America

Many of you know I have been a part of Team Rev3 (Formerly Team Trakkers) for the past 2 seasons. This upcoming third season is bound to be the most epic. I love Rev3 because they are family-friendly, and focused on what is important. They have supported the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults (based out of Howard County, Md) for several years. This year, the Rev3 staff and team up stepping up BIG TIME to support the Ulman Cancer fund. 

Rev3 Staff (including our fearless leader Charlie) and Team Rev3 members are RUNNING ACROSS AMERICA to kick cancer's butt! They will start in Oceanside, California. Over 21 days and 3,458 miles, they (we) will run to Washington, DC. The race will end at the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University Hospital. 

I wish I could say I was running the entire thing. Unfortunately, I don't think my knees, my husband and kids, or my work would be too keen on three weeks away. The good news is that we had a family meeting, and I am going to run the last 7 or so days of the race. I will be running from Tennessee to DC. I am asking for your support. Not just for me, but to help fight cancer. You can read more about the run here (and donate if you so choose- on the second page you can choose a runner to donate under), and the Ulman Cancer Fund here

Frequently Asked Question:
More than one person has asked "Will people be running the ENTIRE distance?"
No- this is a relay. There will be RVs shuttling the runners as people take turns on the road. The mileage will still be crazy, but it won't be nonstop running. 

This will be an epic adventure....and we will kick cancer's butt along the way. I will keep you posted on updates, progress, etc. Thank you in advance for your support.