Monday, June 21, 2010

Dear Abby...

We have dogs and cats and guinea pigs and birds. Lately I have heard stories that after transplant some of these animals could be harmful to my health because of my immune system. This is alarming because I actually love some of these guys and spend a fair amount of time holding and petting them. Some rumors are that I might just have to get rid of them. Does anyone know if this is true?
                                                       Signed, Help!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back 2010: The Way I Remember It.

Have you ever had the perfect day? I haven't had one of those for a while. Usually I get halfway through the day and I start feeling tired. I wrestle with sore muscles and body cramps. Mostly it is all internal digestive stuff and I have to focus on holding all the pieces of my body together so it doesn't come apart.
Today I started out with a stomach ache and I thought I was going to roll myself into a ball and cry. I kept telling myself, "Not today, not today." After a bran muffin I started feeling better. Things got much better.
We drove up to Park City to the Canyon Ski Resort to meet the team, "Dude, Where's My Van?" What should have been a twenty-five minute ride turned into an hour or so. With 13,000 relay racers on the hill and who knows how many spectators and friends cheering them on, the place was packed. We wandered around the resort while we waited for the team to get there so we could cheer them across the finish line. When we first got there organizers had everyone park at the bottom of the hill and take the tram up the mountain. My discomforts had long since passed and being outdoors in the clean fresh air riding over the grassy terrain was awesome. Looking at the cars parked below us gave me an idea of how many people were waiting up above. I was feeling anxious, knowing that when the team came in I would join them for the last part of the race as we all ran in together to cross the finish line.
We had been waiting for the better part of an hour when the team finally showed up. Sadly some of them had to leave earlier and there were only six of them. Amy D. informed us that the last runner that we were waiting for was her sister, Dani. Twenty minutes later Dani came around the corner and we all gathered on the sidelines so that we could join her.
A couple of days ago I didn't know anything about this race. But I was learning. I had read the history of how the race was conceived and got started and how those men who had put it together had turned it into the biggest relay race in the world. I had learned about the man called Ragnar and who and what he represented. The attributes of his character were now a part of all these racers. Endurance and strength. A conqueror and explorer. A free spirit and wild man. And although I didn't run this race, for a moment I was going to step in line with those who did. It was invigorating and humbling.
As Dani approached I hooted and hollered. She asked Amy, "Is this Beaux?"
Winded and tired, she ran next to me and said, "I just kept saying your name!"

Today was a perfect day. And see that medal around my neck? That belongs to Amy.

Amy and me.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dude, Where's My Van?

It takes very little to take my breath away. The simple act of leaning over to tie my shoes is enough to keep me panting for a good minute or so. I used to climb the stairs at work and in my house two steps at a time. It has been several months now since I stopped doing that. There are other things I used to do that are just too laborious for my body. I quit riding my bike last year when the first snow fell. I just didn't know it yet. Twice this year I pumped up the tires on my bike and I had to sit down before I could get on it to ride a block to the store. I miss the active me.

Last night:
"Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, " Lois said. "Amy D. is running a race this weekend. They are running from Logan, Utah, to Park City. Every year they run for someone. This year they are running for you."
"They are running in your honor, and to raise awareness for organ donation."

I thought about this and it made me gulp. I even had the start of tears forming in my eye. And for a moment I am back in my garage pumping up my tires and I feel like I'm finally going for a ride. "This sounds way cool,"  I am thinking to myself.

"That sounds way cool," I say out loud.

"Their team is all having a barbecue tomorrow and they would like it if we could stop by."

I feel a little shy and apprehensive as we enter the house. The team is laughing and joking and it sounds like they are all having fun. Amy introduces our family to the the team members that are there and we sit down and have burgers. I am unfamiliar with the race and I ask Amy how long it is.
"It's 188 miles."
"Oh my gosh!" I say.
"Yeah, it's a long ways," Amy laughs.
The run is called the Ragnar Relay's Wasatch Back and their team is called, 'Dude, Where's My Van?' Amy has been running this race from the very beginning. This is its seventh year. The team consists of 12 people and there are 3 legs. Each runner does a particular leg and then another team member takes over. They do this three times. This year there are 13,000 participants.
As Lois and I asked how they all got together and started doing this, they began reminiscing about their past events and told us stories that had us rolling on the floor. The apprehension that I had earlier was long forgotten. This group of people -- this team -- had left me smiling.
I am moved by the kindness that these strangers have extended. They are running because they love it. But that I am to be part of it has me running along beside them.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Happiness is...

I have been getting a lot of muscle cramps in my legs lately. The cramps generally hit my calves in my legs and they hurt like hell, sometimes causing me to cramp up in my hands or feet when I start tightening up. Our little trek to Tanner park the other day really made me sore and I cramped up the following day while I was watching a movie at the theater.
I usually end up screaming out in pain, but because I was in the theater I had to endure it while my body slowly did its contortionist thing and made me look all weird and scary. I'm sure the people sitting up in the rows above me were quite amused by all the body movement I was doing. They were probably thinking: "Okay, that guy is just creepy. Honey, I think we should move."
I had been taking a muscle relaxer that the doctors gave me, but they had me stop taking it because they didn't want me feeling so tired and they wanted me to stay more clear headed. But the problem with discontinuing the drug only made things worse when the cramps returned. Eventually after a couple of months I asked the doctors if there was something else I could take and they told me I could go back on the muscle relaxer. That was good, except I just started back on the pills and they haven't really done a lot to help yet. I have been limping since our park excursion and the theater fiasco.
Yesterday we went to Thanksgiving Point to see the flower gardens and as we started out Lois joking asked if I wanted a wheel chair they had for rent. I told her, "Yes!" But the truth was I was joking and I wouldn't have used one anyway. Not yet, anyways. We also noticed that they had Segways and golf carts for rent and decided that we didn't want to walk through three miles of trails when they had golf carts available. That was the coolest thing we could have done.
We started out with Lois driving and a half a mile later Aly was just dying to drive the cart. Naturally we had to let her drive for a while. I think she kind of got spooked and then I took over. We did this for about two or three hours and drove all the trails and took lots and lots of pictures. The place was beautiful and we had never been there before. We visited the dinosaur museum years ago when they first opened the place but, we had not been back since.
I don't have much else to share. I don't go back to the doctor until August and I will have my MELD score checked again sometime before my appointment. I am still getting awfully tired and there are noticeable changes that I see on a daily basis. I do my best to deal with them and that is about all I can do. Right now my focus is just to stay healthy and spend time with my family. There is a certain love and bliss that comes with all that. Falling in love all over again. Having children again. Every moment seems new to me sometimes. I suppose it is like holding on to not letting go. I am happy.