Cruisin with the Real"s

Cruisin with the Real"s
Joe and Nancy Grand Cayman 10-07

Loma Linda Medical Center

Loma Linda Medical Center
Where the magic happens........

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Southwest Gardening Blog

I received some wonderful info on planting Mark from the wonderful landscaper that writes this blog. Beautiful photos of southwest gardens and great info... take a visit at WATER WHEN DRY

Meet Mark

This is MARK!

Well, the little pictures are of the baby tree. The other pictures with flowers are what *Mark* will grow into!

Mark is a Cercidium hybrid ‘Desert Museum’ This semi-evergreen, Thornless, Palo Verde hybrid exhibits qualities found in
Foothill, Blue and Mexican Palo Verde, provides ample shade, distinctive rich green trunks and branches that, similar
to the Palo Brea, remain smooth as they mature, and abundant brilliant yellow flowers that appear in spring and intermittently
during the summer months.

And this is how he got his name:

In the late 1970's Mark Dimmitt with the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum (ASDM) began noticing Blue Palo Verdes that exhibited characteristics suggesting they were hybrids of other Palo Verde species. He collected and planted seeds from the assorted trees he had observed and began evaluating them. By 1981 he had identified a thornless seedling as clearly superior to the others collected. Careful evaluation of the genetic composition of this hybrid, named 'Desert
Museum', revealed it to be a complex hybrid having genetic characteristics from Mexican, Blue and Foothill Palo Verde.

This information came from Arid Zone Trees

I have never planted a tree before and Joe has only planted one a long time ago and a very different kind of tree.

Well, if you know me and know how I can research ANYTHING to death....Well, I can. It took a month or more for us to figure out what to plant. We wanted something light and airy, preferably flowering but not to messy. Not over 15-20ft high. Interesting branch structure and native to the desert. We had considered other Palo Verde Trees and although we both liked them they are normally VERY THORNY !!!! Bed idea if you ever want to touch or prune it.

We were wandering through the nursery the other day and Joe says....*How about this?* and poof Mark has a new home...

We will plant him as soon as the finishing touches of the fountain are done!

I am soooooo easily entertained these days! ;-)

From Dr Darling, 3 x liver transplant patient and President and CEO of the FAIR Foundation

Nancy, as President & CEO of the FAIR Foundation I write on behalf of our 27-member Board of Directors consisting of transplant surgeons, medical directors, et al THE FAIR FOUNDATION in thanking you for bringing to your Blog readers our efforts for equitable bio-medical research funding by our government for all diseases without favoritism for HIV/AIDS and for new organ-donor policies to reverse America’s organ donor crisis.

Indeed, today there are 99,467 patients like you on the UNOS waiting list today. Every hour one of them dies, and/or one who was on the list but was removed due to becoming too sick to be transplanted dies—that’s America’s organ-donor crisis resulting from our government’s reliance on the sole organ-donor policy of “altruism.” From Jan to May of this year there were only 11,517 transplants and 5,805 donors. The math is quite simple. With almost 100,000 waiting it is strikingly obvious that altruism is failing miserably to meet the demand for organs.

If one was a physician in charge of an emergency room after a catastrophic event and one patient was dying every hour with 100,000 waiting to get in the door would the physician say, “We don’t need new policies, our efforts are working well”? Of course not, he’d be fired, yet that is the attitude of those presently in charge of our organ donor system and the time for new organ-donor policies has passed long ago—pun intended.

Thank you also for your kind words regarding my book, Coma Life, which has now helped thousands of patients in need of transplant. Yes, all revenue from book sales does go to the FAIR Foundation and specifically to FAIR’s effort to have new organ-donor policies instituted to reverse this organ-donor crisis. If the policies we are recommending, and which are supported by many eminent physicians and organ-donor advocates, are adopted nationwide, we believe the 75,000 waiting for a new kidney and another 500,000 on kidney dialysis but NOT even on the list yet would have their new kidney within five years-easily. In addition, those waiting for other organs would have their time on the waiting list shortened dramatically. You viewers can see those in favor of these policies and advocate for the policies easily using their zip code and by copying a prepared letter at the fair foundation web site available here

I would like all your readers to know that the FAIR Foundation is a tax-exempt organization that has no paid employees—we are all volunteers and we now have thousands of members and supporters in all fifty states and DC.

Finally I’d like to thank you for coming to our FAIR Foundation Liver Disease & Transplant Support Group meeting recently. Sharing your extensive knowledge of liver disease and transplant was a real benefit to our group members and you also are of great assistance to the patients in the Loma Linda University Medical Center’s support group where you regularly input valuable information. Add on to those laudable efforts your yahoo group for transplant patients and this excellent Blog that helps patients world-wide and one can only marvel at how one in need of a new liver like you can be so productive.

I look forward to visiting with you at our next support group meeting and …in the ICU after you get your new liver.

God Bless,

Dr. Richard Darling, DDS


We are almost done with the fountain and purchased a beautiful tree yesterday. I am so excited ... I will post some photo's and tell you about it tomorrow!

Nite, nite,

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Speaking of alcohol. Here is some of my story I haven't talked much about.

Since we are on the subject of alcohol. I haven't really spoken much about how I got in this predicament of needing a new liver.

I was answering a letter today by a friend regarding alcohol in her life and the fact that she was having high liver enzymes show up in her blood work which resulted in some further testing, (an ultrasound and a biopsy) that showed she has fatty liver. She is my age and our drinking habits over our lives have been similar. She wrote and asked me a couple of questions and as I started answering here I actually wrote a *book*..... Well, it was a long answer to some brief questions.

When it comes to my drinking history, my disease, and my obvious regret to not heeding the warning signs that were there if there is anything I can give back or help give people an awareness of who are at risk I want to help them with the truth.

My Doctors never gave me *THE TRUTH* about what I was facing. It was all pretty sugar coated. *You should think about cutting down,,,,,,,blah, blah, blah,,,,,,,, and never really telling me what might happen to me if I didn't stop in time. I didn't know the difference between high liver enzymes and anything else. They never mentioned the word cirrhosis or what end stage liver disease is like.... nothing. I truly think if someone had taken the time to explain the consequences of NOT stopping I would have at least had a chance to make a different choice and my path could have been completely different.

Here is my response to her. I now have over 400 readers around the world, (check the map!) and if what I have to say helps one person........then the blog will all be worth it..... That and helping people realize the need to make the effort to go to donate life and become an organ donor.

I am glad that you took my e-mail as it was intended. One thing that I want you to know is that I am NOT at all judgmental of you or your drinking and that I will always be honest with you. I am worried that you believe that you have fatty liver because you are overweight or *obese*, which is an absurd word…. Some extra weight might not be helping but I don’t believe it is the cause of your fatty liver. I also don’t think the Dr’s are always straight shooters because they like to skirt around the alcohol issue or just say to you…*don’t drink*. Mine said… *go to a meeting if you have to*, like that was an answer to anything!

I know that my cirrhosis was caused gradually by my drinking habits which started when I was around 16-17 and was part of my social life from then on. Neither I nor my friends or family considered myself *an alcoholic* or did I have trouble with shaking, vomiting, or any of the other nasty problems with the exception of the year or two prior to my hospitalization when it was to late. I am certain my liver was cirrhotic by then. My problem was I was a *daily* drinker. Not every day, but most days. Like you, in the evenings, weekends, vacations…..well, you can drink all day on vacation, right? Is it noon yet? Ever heard of a mimosa or a bloody mary? LOL….I could pretty much fit alcohol into any social situation appropriately. No one thinks twice when you have a tropical drink in your hand on vacation… right? and Vodka seems to go with everything and don't we all consider wine ok? It all seemed very normal to me. So, it was the ONGOING assault to my liver as the weeks, months and years past that was my livers demise.

With all the research I have done since I found out I was sick I have determined that alcohol is harder on women, it is harder when we don’t give our livers breaks….so even if it is just a little but on a frequent basis……..that is a huge problem… *FOR YOUR LIVER*, it may not be a problem as in affecting your day to day life….but could be advancing your liver disease and you wouldn’t even know it. Liver disease, doesn’t hurt, doesn’t make you *sick*, (until it is too late and cirrhosis has kicked in). My Dr’s are telling me that I have a 50/50 chance of surviving 5 years if I don’t get a new liver soon. A 50/50 chance???? I am not very happy about those odds.

So my advice to you, as hard as it is for me to give it to you is to NOT drink, AT ALL. You are not doing yourself or your family any good by quantifying it by saying * I only drink this or that…….* Your liver doesn’t know the difference. It is a toxic substance that is very, very hard on it and it is throwing up warning signs IF you will listen to it.

I know the thought of not drinking at all is daunting. I couldn’t imagine my life without drinking. Joe and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in a couple of weeks and I told him….Can you believe we won’t be drinking a great bottle of wine with our dinner celebration????? Doesn’t seem right. But it just is, now and from now on. Which is fine with me. I really like life without alcohol! Who knew????

If you have the opportunity to stop your liver problems now, and you do, you should take that opportunity and thank God he gave you the warning signs that many of us didn’t get. I so wish I had a biopsy when my liver was just a fatty liver and hadn't crossed that hard line in the sand of cirrhosis.

I stopped with the help of SMART RECOVERY. And a drug called naltrexone. I believe that alcohol affects our body and brain is certain ways after years of use. Our body is USED to operating with it and it feels normal to us. What naltrexone does is basically put *coating* on some pleasure points in our brain that make us like alcohol. (That is the short version.) You can drink on naltrexone. It won’t make you sick like antibuse. You just do not enjoy it. It is very weird. I had heard that and tried it…While taking it I tried to drink a glass of wine that would normally have been gone within 45 min and 2 hours later there was still ½ in the glass. I just didn’t want it….

When I really decided to stop totally I drank the day I planned on stopping, took my first dose of Naltrexone that night before bed and didn’t want any alcohol at all the next day and haven’t had a drop since! I was ready to stop, it just helped my brain from wanting it…it is a physical addiction, like cigarettes, and also some of us are just pre disposed to not being *real social drinkers* which by the way drink a couple of times a year at a wedding or on a vacation, etc. NOT ON A REGULAR or DAILY BASIS. Woosies…lol. . I know it was the help I needed to stop my addiction.

Re read the article I sent you. Especially the part regarding women and the progression of the disease. Right now you are still in a position to reverse the effects of alcohol.

As always if there is any way I can help or encourage you or you need an ear or shoulder you can count on me.

Maybe you should come see me when I am in ICU recovering from transplant with dozens of tubes coming out of me and the stapled torso where they cut me open to put my new liver in, spend time with me for the months of recovery and live with a compromised immune system for the rest of my life because of all the drugs I will now have to take and then ask yourself if the evening cocktail or 2 is a good idea.

Very sincerely yours,


Friday, August 29, 2008

Alcoholic Liver Disease pre cirrhosis to cirrhosis


Alcoholic liver disease involves an acute or chronic inflammation of the liver induced by alcohol abuse.

Alternative Names

Liver disease due to alcohol; Cirrhosis or hepatitis - alcoholic; Laennec's cirrhosis


Alcoholic liver disease usually occurs after years of excessive drinking. The longer the duration of alcohol use and the greater the consumption of alcohol, the greater the probability of developing liver disease. Acute alcoholic hepatitis can result from binge drinking, and may be life-threatening if severe.

Malnutrition develops as a result of empty calories from alcohol, reduced appetite, and malabsorption (inadequate absorption of nutrients from the intestinal tract). Malnutrition contributes to liver disease.

The toxicity of ethanol to the liver, individual susceptibility to alcohol-induced liver disease, and genetic factors also contribute to the development of alcoholic liver disease.

Alcoholic liver disease does not affect all heavy drinkers, and women may be more susceptible than men. (Particularly daily drinkers who never give their liver a break.) Drunkenness is not essential for the development of the disease.

Changes start within the liver as inflammation (hepatitis) and progress to fatty liver and cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is the final phase of alcoholic liver disease. Symptoms may not be present until the disease is relatively advanced.

Serious complications are associated with advanced disease such as alcoholic encephalopathy (damage to brain tissue) and portal hypertension (high blood pressure within the liver).


· Loss of appetite
· Nausea
· Jaundice
· Abdominal pain and tenderness
· Fever
· Ascites (fluid collection in the abdomen)
· Unintentional weight gain (because of fluid collection)
· Mental confusion
· Excessive thirst
· Dry mouth
· Fatigue

Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease:

· Vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
· Bloody or dark black or tarry bowel movements (melena)
· Abnormally dark or light skin
· Redness on feet or hands
· Paleness
· Light-headedness or fainting, especially with upright posture
· Rapid heart rate (tachycardia) when rising to standing position
· Slow, sluggish, lethargic movement
· Breast development in males
· Impaired ability to concentrate
· Agitation
· Fluctuating mood
· Difficulty paying attention (attention deficit)
· Impaired judgment
· Confusion (encephalopathy)
· Altered level of consciousness
· Impaired short- or long-term memory
· Hallucinations

Symptoms vary with the severity of the disease and are usually worse after a recent period of heavy drinking.

Exams and Tests

· A CBC may show anemia and other abnormalities.
· Liver function tests such as ALP are abnormal.
· Liver biopsy shows alcoholic liver disease.

Tests to rule out other diseases include:

· Ultrasound of the abdomen
· CT scan – abdominal
· Blood tests for other causes of liver disease

This disease may also alter the results of the following tests:

· Reticulocyte count
· Ferritin
· Alpha fetoprotein


The objective of treatment is to discontinue alcohol, and to provide a high-carbohydrates, high-calorie diet to reduce protein breakdown in the body. Vitamins, especially B1 and folic acid, are associated with improvement. An alcohol rehabilitation program or counseling may be necessary to break the alcohol addiction. Management of the complications of chronic liver disease may be needed. If cirrhosis develops, liver transplant may be necessary.

Support Groups

The stress of illness can often be eased by joining a support group whose members share common experiences and problems. See alcoholism - support group and liver disease - support group.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Continued excessive drinking is associated with a shorter life expectancy. The probable outcome is poor if drinking continues.

Possible Complications

· Bleeding esophageal varices
· Portal hypertension
· Hepatic encephalopathy
· Cirrhosis

When to Contact a Medical Professional

· Call your health care provider if symptoms of alcoholic liver disease develop.
· Call your provider if symptoms develop after prolonged or heavy drinking, or if you are concerned that drinking may be damaging your health.


Discuss your alcohol intake with your doctor, who can counsel you about safe amounts of alcohol intake for your situation.

Review Date: 5/4/2006
Reviewed By: Jenifer K. Lehrer, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Frankford-Torresdale Hospital, Jefferson Health System, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Interesting website on Pre Transplant evaluation work up

Pre Liver Transplant Work up

Very good photo's and explanation of required tests and procedures required for qualification for listing with UNOS.

My friend in Liver Support and Education

Dr. Richard Darling, a California dentist, founded the FAIR Foundation after surviving hepatitis C, diabetes, cirrhosis and cancer of the liver, coma, heart attack, hepatorenal syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy (myasthenia gravis) and three liver transplant operations.

Doc Darling as he is known is a wonderful, knowledgeable, compassionate man.

He started The FAIR Foundation because of the inequities in disease research spending by Congress and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and because of America's organ-donor crisis. Here is a link to the Fair Foundation's website. I highly recommend you visit the site and support the foundation.

I met Dr Darling at our Loma Linda Liver Transplant Support Group and he invited me out to Palm Springs to attend the local support group that he started and runs there. He and I have also had conversations regarding the benefits of my getting listed at Scripps in San Diego as well as LLU.

I decided to go visit his support group earlier this month as I wanted to meet some of the patients that are listed or have been transplanted in San Diego at Scripps. He had told me that quite a few of his group are patients there.

I had a wonderful drive out there. I love Palm Springs area. It is such a different desert than ours. I know that sounds really weird to those of you who aren't familiar with deserts....

We live in a HIGH desert, elevation 3000 ft. temp ranges are 100* to 60* summer and 60* to 30* in the winter. YES, we do get some snow in the winter. It is hot but not unbearably. For you gardeners the freeze in the winter kills us, well, actually it kills most of our plants that can survive the summer heat.

Palm Springs is a LOW desert, elevation 475 ft. temp ranges 115* to 75* summer and 70* to 45* winter. It is blistering hot in the summer, making difficult to get in your car let alone touch the steering wheel. But because it doesn't freeze there in the winter the landscaping is beautiful. Lots of Desert and Tropical Plants, Palms, Bougainvillea, Citrus Trees, Cactus and wildflowers. Oh, and the grass. Do you know how many golf courses they have? Well, I don't and I am not looking it up but there are plenty...Anyway, it is very green and beautiful for a desert with some majestic mountains as a backdrop that turn shades of purple as the sun sets.

Our deserts are divided by the San Bernardino Mountains and a 90-120 minute drive. Loma Linda is between us.

Ok, back to my visit there. I really enjoyed meeting the people in the group out there and seeing how it is run. It is so helpful to me and to be with others who are living with the same disease as I. We all have different diagnoses and reasons for having our livers fail and will experience different versions of the same symptoms as we go through this. We will also have very different stories as to what happens to us and where are futures end up.

I find the more I learn the more I want to share as I remember how extremely difficult it was for me to get ANY good information on what was happening to me.

Dr Darling made me feel right at home as he introduced me to his group. I do plan on attending when I can.

Regarding his book, Coma Life, I am in the middle of it right now and it has me riveted. Here is a link to how to purchase it...All the proceed to go support the FAIR foundation.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Enjoying our Summer and our projects

Well, hello again..... Here it is the end of August and I thought I would catch you up with how we have been filling the past few weeks outside of our day to day stuff we all do.

We certainly have been enjoying the pool this year, especially with Joe's new schedule. His working so close to home has been wonderful for us both. He can spend more time in the morning before work, come home for lunch and a jump in the pool, back to the office for afternoon appointments and home for the evening..

We had a couple of medical appt's and all went well including Joe's rotorooter exam. HEY, it's only fair he gets poked and prodded too! Ewwwwwwww, I know, I know. I couldn't help it.

My mom, Mary, came to visit for a week. It was great having her here for several days and she enjoyed the new guest room. I have a few more decorating things left to do but will post photo's for you soon.

While she was here we went to a wonderful restaurant we have found a couple of miles from the hospital in Redlands. Called Farm Artisan Foods . It's a great little place in an old downtown environment. It is a chef owned restaurant with innovative/california/gourmet cuisine. Most of their foods come from local organic farms and dairy's. They even buy their meat from a local butcher that purchases 4-H animals that have been certified as organically raised. We can't remember we when we had a better pork loin than here.

They offer a prix fix *lunch* that is served from 11:30-4:30 that consists of a choice of appetizer, entree and desert for $19.50. It is a real deal. The same meal at dinner could easily be $45.00.

Even their coffee is roasted locally just for them. Served in individual french presses with your desert of caramel creme and handmade chocolate truffles.... hmmmmmmmmmmm... If you are local. Go there!

We have also been working on the garden and fountain projects. Some of our garden is doing well some not so good. The aphids really got a hold of my squash....and there were lots of ants...Did you know that the ants and aphids have a relationship going on? Apparently the ants like the sticky substance left by the aphids so they will carry the eggs to the leaves of the plants so they can multiply and make the stuff for them much to the demise of my plant and ME! Joe also adds that the ants will actually HERD them and MILK them.... who knew... (Joe!)

The fountain is coming along. The mosaic is taking a while mostly because I don't get started to early as most of you know and it is so hot lately then I am tired in the evening when it cools down.....trying to get in an hour or two when it isn't blazing out here is tough. We are making progress though. I am ALMOST finished with the tile. Next step is plumbing the fountain, grout, sealant, then WATER! I can't wait to see it finished.

I also really need to decide on a tree for the area. We want to plant it this fall so I better get going on that...

Joey is doing well in his job and apartment. He likes both and is happy to be living close to the beach. He and his friends have been spending as much time as they can there. Bonfires and everything... I plan on having a Mom and Son beach day with him next week. He is getting ready for school to start on soon. I am so very proud of him. He is really growing up and getting down to business while having some fun in the process.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A post from my friend Kim in Illinois

I am late in doing this but I wanted to post something a friend wrote about in her blog. (training for the blog links below) I met Kim online in a yahoo group years ago when we were both struggling with weight loss and following the Body for Life program.. We moved onto other fitness programs and groups together and she even flew out to California where we participated in a LIFT FOR KIDS body building liftathon raising money for special olympics...

Any way, It is a bit long but I wanted her and you to know just how proud I am of her and to be her friend!

Racing for Recovery
Saturday, June 14, 2008, 5:43:42 PM (Kim)

I've been SO busy at work its been hard to find time to sit down and write...But last weekend we headed out of town to Monroe Michigan and Sterling State Park, the new venue for Racing for Recovery. This was a sprint and 1/2 IM triathlon. I of course was in for the sprint, Kevin, the 1/2 IM. Got into town and picked up packets on Saturday, its a small race... about 200 sprinters, 178 1/2 IMers. The guy that puts this on, Todd Crandell, was at one time a full blown drug and alcoholic. He has written a book about his experiences of which I've read so I was intriqued to do this race. Well had NO clue he would be there to greet competitors at packet pick up... had I known, I would have brought my book and had him autograph it. I really have to admire what this guys life was like and where he is now, to turn his life around like he has is NOT easy.... believe me I know the draw of drugs, been there done that, somehow managed to not get to that level, but have had friends that were not so lucky.

Anyhow we got packets picked up then checked in at the hotel, then headed back to the location to take a swim in Lake Erie... Well I sure the heck was pleasantly surprised at the water temps... its not like it was bath water or anything but it was easily 65/68ish degrees, which with wetsuit is fine... in fact I think I could have easily dealt with water temps without wetsuit but that ole rubber suit does help keep me afloat. So of course the first time you put that thing on its like getting use to it all over again... it took some doing but I did do some swimming.. the water was not rough but not flat either... I realized my sighting skills really suck cause I kept getting off track.... So after an hour or so we headed back to hotel, changed and went for some dinner.

So race morning we had to get up and be there a bit early because there was no racking bikes the night before. They had an area for sprinters and a seperate bike area for 1/2 IMer's - previous races they would not let anyone back into transition until all were off the bike and onto the run, well if your a sprint racer, you could be hangin' round a long time waiting to get your bike - so they changed it up this time round. So we get that done, get marked, potty stops, then down to the water.

Well let me say I've swam a mile in the pool and I was fine but when even half that distance is now laid out before me in one long stretch, you really see how far it is. I was saying to myself man I'm glad I'm doing the sprint cause I don't think I could handle the 1/2 IM swim... 1000 meters for the sprint race laid out in front of me looked long enough. And of course I found myself doubting the ability to swim that far - lets face it open water swimming is entirely different from pool swimming. So we get the instructions on the different courses and then its time for the 1/2 IMers to line up and off they go... Well they would not let the sprinters start until the others were at the turn around. the 1/2 was an L shaped course, they swam out to a FAR marker, turned, came back toward the sprint course... the vertical part of the L was the same course for us sprinters... So now its really starting to warm up, wind is picking up, and I'm getting freakin' warm in my wetsuit - so sticking me feet in the water helped. Finally we sprinters get to go... Well for some reason I totally panicked... I swam a while face in the water, bilateral breathing, no problem, then I got kicked and lost it - rest of the swim was face out of the water, I was totally freaked out and with the wind picking up, the waves were getting a bit larger... so after stroking what seemed like HOURS, I make it to the turn around point... whew 750 down, 250 to go - well the 250 was straight into the waves and wind - I'm sure I drank a bit of nasty water, which panicked me even more. Ah finally I can touch bottom, off with the wetsuit IN the water. It was a little bit of a long transistion and I was tired, so screw it I walked... nothing like seeing a guy bent over the ropes throwing up to keep ya going... I think he swallowed more water than I..

The transition area was tight but I got done what I needed to then off to the bike, my FAV. part. It was a flat course but some areas of the road were not so smooth. The wind was pretty wicked and I could feel myself being pushed sideways on my bike from the winds. All in all I was pretty happy with my bike leg specially when I saw that I avg'd 16.4 mph even with the high winds... I felt bad for the 1/2 IMers 56 miles in 30+mph winds makes for a long bike. Back into transition and off on the run.

The run was a loop around the lagoon in Sterling State Park. It really was a very nice run path and many parts of it were shaded which helped a lot in the 90+degree heat and humidity. The 1/2 IMers also shared this run course so it was stocked very well with water, hammerheed and bananas... I did get a bit concerned that I missed a turn for the sprint athletes though when the only mile signs I see are for the 1/2 IM athletes. And it didn't help when the kids manning the next water stop really had no clue if this was the sprinters course also. I just thought OH well if not, I'm in for a very long run. I really wanted this to be a good run, but I was beat from the swim, tired from peddling against the wind, and the heat and humidity weren't making things any easier... I just did what I could do and kept plugging along.

I'm really ok with not being first in my age group, and while NO ONE wants to be last, I logically don't care about that either (emotionally nother story) - I just keep saying 'hey you are doing something 90% of women 42 yrs old would never consider' and I kept thinking of my friend Nancy and my ex Mike...


See Nancy was celebrating her 49th birthday that day and her 1 yr of sobriety (I'm so happy for you Nancy) so I had Nancy in spirit cheering me on... and my ex Mike, who I remained friends with was truly with me in spirit.... Mike passed away on Oct 20, 2007 - he had a massive heart attack and while cornor results said no drugs were in his system... I know in my heart (and from my life with Michael) that this heart attack was a result of drug abuse, drinking, and being overweight. My thoughts of them kept me putting one foot in front of the other.

THEN I see the finish line... AH I love FINISH lines - they represent a sense of accomplishment, they take away all those doubts I had 2+ hrs ago standing at the foot of the water questioning what the hell I was doing there - I always seem to be able to pour it on at the finish... And when I was done I got my finishers medal and a nice ice cold water soaked towel... and since Kevin was still on the course I didn't have anyone to welcome me in... I just walked over the to shaded picnic/bathroom area, sat down, thought of Nancy and Mike and finishing on a very hot day, and cried... cried cause I was tired, cried cause I wish Mike was still here... I think the heat was getting to me. Once I gained my composure, I headed back to the hotel, showered, packed up, then headed back to see Kevin finish. I knew it had to be a hard day in those conditions for the 1/2 IMer's, but eventually Kevin comes up to the finish and does a little dance on his way in - he can be a nut sometimes.

All in all I'm happy with how I did, of course I always WANT to do better, who doesn't, but I'm just thrilled to be able to be fit enough to do this sport at all. Then came the 5 hr ride home, I think after being in the sun and then a long drive home thru some nasty downpours made me a bit testy... somehow I missed 80/94, wound up on 90, which is ok... but I just wanted to be home at that point. I've decided if a race is more than a 3 hr drive, we stay over the night of the race too. I just think its smarter to go back to a hotel, shower, eat and get a nice sleep and drive home leisurely and well rested. And after Kevin doing the 1/2 IM I was not letting him drive home, he was more beat then me.... I think the sun takes it out of everyone but when your fairskinned and redheaded... it just beats the hell out of you, even with 30+ sunblock.

Kim, I love ya girl. I am so glad you have gained all the strength that you have now...not only in your body but in your self esteem and growth.

You have come along way BABY!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Let me clarify this...

Our friends Karen and Bob posted this under comments and I realized I may not have been clear about something...This is what Karen wrote:

Our spirits are lifted that you are feeling well, but we are saddened that you need to begin to look elsewhere for your liver. Of course if you do get a liver in San Diego our home is your home and Joe is always welcome to stay with us as long as he would like.

The reason I am going to San Diego is to get evaluated and listed with them as a DUAL LISTING to Loma Linda. I will continue to receive my main care at LLU but have to go through the steps to be listed in the San Diego area as well. I may also go up to the Bay Area and get listed there also but for right now I want to get situated with Scripps in San Diego.

I will have to meet with all the various Dr's and Depts that I did before but they will share medical info and test results etc with LLU.

San Diego has a smaller pool of people on the list so I may have a better chance of getting my liver there.

Either way, if either one calls I can go to that facility. My insurance approves this as well as my Dr's.

and THANK YOU for the offer of opening your home to us.... You may see me for an overnight soon while I get the appt's done! That would give us time to catch up and I could meet your puppies!


Blogging from the car!

I am going to try this and see if I have it set up right.

We are on our way home from the concert.

A good time was had by all. A picnic basket dinner in the woods with Joe, Joey and roommate Pablo. This was the first time we had met Joey's new roommate. He seems to be a great *kid* and they are getting along good. Getting ready to start school in a week.

I think I will nod off now while Joe pilots us home.

Hope this works! Now I need to figure out how post photo's and video from my BB.......

Bobby?.... Tehe......

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed

Friday, August 1, 2008

Off to a concert in LA

We are off to meet Joey and his roommate for a concert at the Greek Theatre.

Check out who we are seeing!