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Thursday, June 23, 2011

One more sleep!

I leave for Kona tomorrow and I haven't been feeling well this week. I'm so excited. I'm not going to let a little upset stomach get in my way! I can't believe it's already here. 16 weeks have flown by. Wow! Wish me luck!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Next Adventure?

So I haven't even finished Team Challenge Kona and already I'm thinking about what's next. What's on the horizon? My husband asked me if we could put major projects on hold for a while. I think I've worn him out with all of my activities.

There is another Team Challenge event in December in Las Vegas...

Or I've seriously been considering starting a small business.

I'll have to ponder it and wait until after the half in Kona before I make any decisions. Four more days until I get on the plane...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Attitude of GRATITUDE!!!!

This is it! Time to celebrate! I reached my fundraising commitment on June 16th. I raised over $5600, I know I didn’t reach my personal goal of $7500, but when I started this I had no idea what I was getting myself into! This has been the most amazing journey. It has completely changed my life.

The race is scheduled to start 6:00am a week from today, Hawaiian time. My teammates and I will have to be ready to go by 4:40am to catch the shuttle to the race start. I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. I’m excited to finally meet my teammates that I’ve been emailing and visiting with via conference call over the past 16 weeks. I can’t wait to share all of the details from this weekend with all of you.
But today I need to take care of something, giving thanks. I always tell my daughters that the most important trait they can possess is an attitude of gratitude.  As you all know I am the real estate account executive at the Midland Reporter-Telegram and I have the most amazing clients any one could ask for. Thanks goes out to Sandy Scott, Holly Cohen and Jon Short of Real Estate One; Pat Chancellor, Alvin Collins, Teri Vestal, DeLaura Gammage, Amanda Siruta, Gina Lann, Romona Lopez, Thanda White and Jane Wolf of Legacy Real Estate; Lance Brock of Lance Brock Realty; Lisa Kelly of Kelly Real Estate; Patti Woolard of Keller-Williams; DeeDee Brown of Re/MAX 1st Choice; Steg Stegall of Ajani Hair Salon; and Astrid Farley of The Ivy Cottage. You honor me with your support and I enjoy working with all of you.
I’d like send a very special thank you to Fran Billingsly. Fran you are my Fairy Godmother. Because of your assistance and guidance I was able to add so much more to my weekly column. I took all of your advice to heart and it helped immensely. The fact that you made a donation didn’t hurt either! You reached out to your friends on my behalf; there are no words to adequately express my gratitude.
A huge thank you goes out to you the readers, my family and my friends. I received emails and phone calls. You told me your stories and shared your pain with me. Some of you even felt so strongly that you made donations. If not for your support and encouragement I would not have reached my goal in time.
Finally, I have to thank my amazing co-workers at the MRT. Megan, thank you for turning my request for one article into a weekly column, I didn’t think I could do it, I am grateful for support and encouragement. Shalayna, my fundraising guru, thank you for all of your guidance and suggestions, the dance party was a success because of you.  Everyone here at the newspaper is more than a co-worker, you are all my family. You bought candy bars EVERYDAY, you bought tickets to the “determined to Dance” party even though you knew you probably wouldn’t attend. You asked me how training was going. You posted my fundraising link on your facebook pages and asked your friends to support my cause. To top it off, when you found out I only had $50 left to go, you got together and handed me $105 in cash to beat my goal! I don’t even know how to begin to thank all of you. Your support and generosity is overwhelming. I am honored to work with all of you. THANK YOU.
Check back next Sunday for all the details from race weekend! I promise not to leave anything out.


What was I thinking?????

The Trail run was incredible! It was hard! But the girls and I finished about 1/2 hour faster than I expected.

The race started with a pretty steep incline then "leveled off" then down hill to the 1/2 way point and turn around. Back up the side of the mountain sized hill, then the relatively flat section then back down.

I am still in awe that I finished! I was sore for the next three days! As I was running down the trail to the finish line, I had a horrible thought, "Slow down! You don't want to break a leg and miss Hawaii!" So I had to slow down.

In 5 days, I'll be on my way to Hawaii!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Here goes nuttin'...

I originally started my blog and this column as a way to track my progress through the 16 weeks of training and fundraising for my Team Challenge event on June 26th. It has certainly evolved into so much more than a glorified diary of sorts. I’ve been able to share other’s stories as well as my own.  I hope that I’ve informed and educated some as well. I’ve only got 2 weeks left until I’ll be completing the half marathon. Time has certainly flown by. But I’m not finished. It is definitely not time to coast to the finish line. I’ve still got to raise almost $350 to reach my commitment of $5600. And even though tapering will begin soon I’ve still got 2 weeks of training.
This morning I’m completing a 10K trail run/hike in California. Even while on vacation, I’m training. If I plan to finish the half, I can’t take a vacation from training. So, you enjoy your morning coffee and think about me trying to hike 6 miles on a mountain trail when I’ve been training in flat West Texas and on a treadmill. If you think I’ve gone crazy, you just might be right!
During my travels over the last few days I’ve been thinking. Travel with Crohn’s and colitis almost takes strategic planning.  How many bathrooms are on the plane? Where are the airport bathrooms located? Will I have enough time to use the restroom? And ultimately, “Please turn off the fasten seatbelt sign so I can go!” I don’t know how many times I couldn’t wait until the little light was turned off. I’ve learned over the past eleven years that travel days are days to eat and drink as little as possible. I know we are supposed to drink lots of water when flying, but not this girl.
We flew into Sacramento on Wednesday and drove to the coast of California on Thursday after my daughter’s eighth grade graduation. The drive from outside of Sacramento to the coast takes about three hours. The prospect of driving long distances proves to be even more of a challenge than flying. At least there are bathrooms on planes. When driving through unfamiliar territory,  a bathroom can seem like an oasis. Don’t laugh, it’s true. Ok, you can laugh a little. I’m picturing palm trees, neon lights and arrows pointing to the female symbol for bathroom. Sure GPS can let you know where the closest bathroom is but if it’s an hour away, that is not very helpful.  When my family takes road trips my husband and children are awesome. They all keep an eye out for rest areas and truck stops. My husband will ask every time he sees a rest area sign, “Do you need to stop?”  I’m very grateful that he so understands, because we really like taking road trips. 
I’d like everyone reading this article to take some time to think about this today. Before I got sick, I’d be the first to tell anyone traveling with me to use the bathroom before we left the house. I remember my parents and grandparents saying that to my brothers and sisters when we were younger. My children didn’t have to grow up with me enforcing that very often. I was the one we usually had to stop for.  We all accept the fact that we will have to stop, probably more than once, and that is Ok. Take that into consideration the next time you are traveling with family and friends, someone will have to take a bathroom break, don’t stress, the trip will continue no matter how many times you have to stop.

I’ll let you know how the 10k goes. 

Until then…

Column from May 29th

Not long until race day. Am I ready? Will I finish? It doesn’t matter. Of course I will finish! I’ll probably end up doing a run/walk/stop to take photos combination. That’s what one of our team mentors, Leigh, did during her very first Team Challenge event. Leigh has completed seven Team Challenge events to date. She is an inspiration to me and to the rest of the team. Then there is Jodie. She is also a mentor with 3 events under her belt. She was diagnosed with Crohn’s about 12 years ago, and then her brother was diagnosed with Crohn’s, now her 12 year old son has recently been diagnosed with Crohn’s.  And my personal mentor, Sarah, from North Carolina. A few years ago her 8 year old daughter, Grace was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Grace has had 3 surgeries so far and she has not reached her 10th birthday yet. She will be 10 in August. Grace’s first hospital stay lasted 49 days.  49 DAYS!   All of their stories are posted on my blog. Please take a moment to stop and read their stories. Like I’ve said before, don’t forget the Kleenex.
Since I started this journey, I’ve had numerous people come up to me to tell me they know someone with either Crohn’s or colitis. Last Saturday, May 21st, I held a garage sale for the CCFA. During the garage sale a couple from Midland walked up and asked if this was the sale benefiting Crohn’s and colitis. Through the course of our conversation I found out that their niece has Crohn’s. We must have talked for 30 minutes. We exchanged business cards and I hope they keep in touch. I know I’ll be sending and email soon.  Shortly after the couple left a young girl walked up with a couple of friends. I approached her said hi and she asked about the Crohn’s and colitis foundation. She has ulcerative colitis and she just wanted to talk to someone that knows what she is dealing with. She told me that she has to get blood transfusions regularly because of all of the blood loss due to UC. Her doctors are talking surgery, but she wasn’t sure. I was able to tell her about my experiences with UC with my surgery, having an ostomy and life after surgery. I also told her about the foundation and the web address.  I hope that I was able to give her some hope. I was able to raise over $300 from the garage sale. But I can honestly say that even if I had sat there all day and hadn’t sold one thing, it would have all been worth it just to meet and be able to share with those three people.  Please help people like the couple’s niece and the young girl. Make a donation by visiting my fundraising page today. I have 15 days left to reach my fundraising goal. If you’ve considered making a donation but haven’t done so, I urge you to do it today. Go to the computer and visit my fundraising page: http://www.active.com/donate/kona11national/konaRKingha
If we all work together, we can make a difference in all of their lives and the lives of their families and friends. IBD doesn’t just have an effect on the patients it effects everyone around them.  Send me an email, visit my blog, make a difference, be a part of the answer.


Catching up with past articles...

I recently received a text from someone that thought an article I submitted to the newspaper about Krystal Carbone was about me. Wow! That story was about one of my Team Challenge teammates, Krystal. But the text got me thinking-there are a couple of similarities. I too had my large intestine removed. I was fortunate enough to have had the right surgery. I did not have the complications from surgery that Krystal did and I was able to be “reconnected” a year later. But every day for the past ten years, whenever I go somewhere, my first thought is, “will there be a bathroom?” I can’t be too far from a bathroom. If I’m going to a place that I’m not sure about, I’ll probably not eat anything so I won’t have to go to the bathroom.  When you go through something like I went through, like Krystal is going through, you never forget what it felt like at its worst.  After my first surgery, my tissue was sent to the lab for a pathology report. I had been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, but my intestine was the consistency of wet toilet tissue when the doctors finally got in there to take it out. I was a lot worse than my doctor suspected. So a pathology report had to be done. The results were inconclusive. The doctors couldn’t tell if I had UC or if it was in fact Crohn’s Disease.  If I had Crohn’s, that was a problem, the surgery I had just undergone was not reversible. They removed 5 feet of my large intestine. All I had left was about 10-12 inches at the end. If I had Crohn’s it was bad because there is NO cure for Crohn’s. It can affect your entire digestive track: mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, everything. If I had ulcerative colitis, my original diagnosis, I was cured. With UC the ulcers only affect the colon: no colon - no ulcers in my colon - means no ulcerative colitis.
The test results were hard to take. My surgeon and I had discussed all of my options based on my UC diagnosis. I was going to have a pouch built, a J-pouch. This pouch is built from the small intestine to act as a make shift reservoir.  Because of the test results, that wasn’t possible any longer. If the doctor built the pouch and the Crohn’s came back, I’d be in a very bad situation. At that point I had only 2 options. The first one being keep my ileostomy. This is a bag on the outside of your body to collect waste. It’s the same as a colostomy, but the doctor used my ileum (small intestine) because I had no colon left. The second option was to risk reconnecting my small intestine to what was left of my large intestine. My doctor assured me that if it didn’t work, I would just go back to the ostomy, no problems. I’ve been “reconnected” for 10 years now. It’s true, I go to the bathroom more than one person should, but I’m here and I don’t have an ostomy. There may come a time when I will have to choose that route. Hopefully never.
So many people suffer with these diseases; so many people suffer in silence. We need to find a cure

Friday, June 10, 2011

I Love WATER!

This morning I woke up to a view of a marina with hundreds of sail boats! Then my lovely husband and I walked down to the beach and found a coffee shop right on the beach. Grocery shopping and sweatpants shopping (It's chilly in the mornings here) and now getting dinner on the stove for later. My girls and I are going exploring a little later. I want to run on the beach - maybe this evening. The 10K trail run/hike is on Sunday. My girls and I have to pick up our race packets tomorrow. I'm a little nervous, It is pretty steep here. I don't think the incline on the treadmill has prepared me for this!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I'm baaa-aaack...

I know, I know. I haven't posted anything in a while. I've been working hard and fundraising even harder. I've almost reached the amount I committed to raise. I still need a couple thousand to reach my personal goal but I need less that a grand to reach my commitment to raise $5600. I'm seriously excited about that!!!!

My training has been hit and miss. When I do this next time I will definitely be more committed to my training schedule. I let life get in the way more often than I should have.

This week I'll be training on the BEACH! Yes, i said it, the BEACH!!!!! It is soooo dry in West Texas and I'm looking forward to the chance to re hydrate!!!

I'm on vacation starting today, so I'll be making several posts over the next week and I'll also post the last few articles that I submitted to the newspaper.


Happy trails....