Once again I have to apologize for being a slack blogger. As most of my friends and family know, I squeeze 36 hours into a 24 hour day. Between being a mom, working full-time, coaching two teams and several personal clients, I don't have any time left in the day.
But yesterday, I HAD to make some more time. After a 6am coaching session with Team Vortex, a quick shower and a race across town to the Florida Hospital Cancer Center, I was able to be part of something AMAZING!
The really blurry picture above is a picture of me and several of the past and present Team in Training Members. I am on the left with the crown on. Sorry the picture is so bad, the purpose was not. One of my athletes from the 2009 TriMiami Triathlon team is in the hospital. His name is Doug Oxendine, he has CML. Today April 22nd, 2010 is his day zero. Doug is getting a bone marrow transplant today. He needs this to save his life. So today is the first day of the rest of his life, his new "Birth Day."
Doug is a personal hero of mine for lots of reasons. He was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, CML, in the fall of 2007. He was immediately placed on a drug called Gleevac and went into remission. Since his diagnosis, he has completed several Century (100mile) bike rides, a hike through the Grand Canyon, a Sprint Triathlon and a Half Marathon. In the Fall of 2009 while training for another Century ride, Doug found out that his Leukemia had mutated and he was no longer in remission. He was placed on another drug called Sprycell. But because of his age (39) and because his Leukemia has mutated once, the doctors said he needed a bone marrow transplant. Doug has not let that get him down, completing the Princess Half Marathon in March with TNT. I was there when he crossed the finish line.
In order to have a bone marrow transplant, you have to be admitted into the hospital a week in advance. You are given extremely high doses of chemotherapy to kill your entire immune system so that your body won't reject the transplant. More drugs and chemicals than a person should ever have to stand. Can you even imagine? I cannot.
Coach Clint, another coach with TNT, contacted me about getting a group of Doug's teammates together for a "visit". I am sure you are thinking there is no way we could actually visit Doug and you are correct. But Doug has a window that over looks the heli-pad. So Coach Clint had a great idea. We would dress in our PURPLE best and come to the area beside the heli-pad, call the nurses and have them let Doug know that we were downstairs. Kimberly our most awesome staff member brought some paper and markers. Letters were written on the papers. When Doug appeared in the window, we each held our respective letters. I was holding the "E" and the "B". The letters when all put together spelled "We Love You! BillyGoat." BillyGoat is Doug's nickname and we figured a perfect name for someone who can kick Cancer right in the ASS!
To say that I was moved to tears does not do justice to the feelings that washed over my body as I held up my letters. I was covered in goosebumps and crying like a newborn. For those very few minutes we all channeled every bit of our "Purple Power" and sent it up to Doug for the very tough battle ahead. I called Doug on the phone and we all told him how much we loved him and his family. The visit came to an end way to quickly and I had to resume my regular life and head into the office. It is extremely hard to focus on my job when I know that dear friends are in so much pain. What I have also failed to mention is that Doug is a husband and a father. Nancy is Doug's most amazing wife and also a friend. What she and their two children are going through is beyond all of my imagination. How does a father and a husband make a decision to have a treatment to save his life that literally could itself be a death sentence?
This weekend and next weekend, I am taking my TNT teams to the St Anthony's Triathlon and the TriMiami triathlon. I will be cheering my team through their respective races, knowing that I have helped even just a little bit to destroy our enemy Cancer.
If you think Cancer won't touch you, you are wrong. Going to the races with me on my teams are a survivor, an athlete in remission and another athlete who finished chemotherapy for his leukemia less that 7 months ago. There are only 14 people on my team total. Does that make it more real?
If you have time after reading this blog, take five minutes and pray for everyone. People are dealing with so many things that are threatening our lives cancer is just one of these enemies. Love the life you have and love the people in your life.
I will leave you with this last thought.
I swim, I bike, I run, I TRI because I CAN. I do this for those WHO CANNOT!
With much love,