Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reliving the Heartache

The holiday season has been a tough one for me.  Each day seems to be a reminder of what happened last year at this time and so much of that time was heart wrenching for me.  When everybody is celebrating the holidays with their families, I am reminded anew of the loss of Tyler and the giant space he filled in my life.

For me, New Year's Day was the start of the end.  Tyler had been getting daily transfusions of platelets since we got home from Houston, but couldn't seem to hold on to them at all.  They finally determined that he might be bleeding some internally (after seeing his hand swollen to 3 times its normal size) and prescribed a medication that he could take to slow down any internal leakage.  It actually seemed to be making a difference.

The doctors had already mentioned hospice to us and we were moving in the direction.  Tyler was very firm that he did not want to die in the hospital.  He'd already spent too much of his life there.  So when he spiked a fever on New Year's Day, he begged me not to call the doctors and report it.  We both knew that if I did, they would tell us that he needed to come into the hospital.

I did the best that I could to keep an eye on his fever overnight and urge him to drink water, but I didn't know that the reason they admitted him to the hospital at any sign of a fever was to get IV fluids into him and watch his blood pressure.  By morning, Tyler's blood pressure had fallen so low that he could barely walk and wasn't really cognizant of what was happening.  I was bustling around downstairs, packing a bag of stuff to get through the day, and waiting for him to come downstairs.  I finally ran upstairs to check on him and he was sitting on the bed in the dark, confused about what he was supposed to be doing.

The nurses were very concerned with his condition when I got him into SCCA.  They immediately started IV fluids at as high a rate as they could.  I called his dad and his mom and suggested that they come.  I was worried that he was going to die that very day and they wouldn't get a chance to say goodbye.

The doctors and nurses were urging Tyler to go to the hospital.  Based on his wishes, I kept saying no that Tyler did not want to go to the hospital.  Eventually though, I think they wore him down with their arguments and he agreed to go.  An ambulance took him from SCCA to UW and we moved into the ICU so that he could be closely monitored.

I'm thankful that he was awake for about a day and a half in the hospital and a couple of people did get to see him before he fell into his coma, but it was sure hard to not to have him there and awake for the last few days.  I have missed him greatly this year, but hope that he continues to watch over me and care for me.

With great sadness, I bid farewell to 2011.  In so many ways, it has been the most difficult year of my life.  People occasionally tell me that think I am strong from what they have observed of my walk in grief.  Please don't be misled by the fact that I am often private with my hurts and loneliness.  I would give absolutely everything I own or could hope to own to have Tyler back beside me and healthy.  I suspect, from the generous contributions my LLS fundraising has received, that many of you would chip in to help me if we could.

The best that I can do at this point is try to honor Tyler in the life I lead going forward, to put forth efforts to fight against the cancer that stole him away from us, and to remember that I was dearly loved by a great man.  I hope that some of you will take a fond memory into 2012 and think of Tyler in his "Love Life" t-shirt, quoting stats for any sport we wanted.  He would want each of us to make the most of our time together.

Live Every Moment!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Upcoming Fundraising Swap -- Everyone is invited!

I'm hosting my next Fundraising Swap on January 14th and wanted to invite you to join me!  If you've never been to a Swap, here is how it goes:

1) You bring a minimum donation of $15 payable to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or pay online in advance at

2) Bring a bag (or two, or three) of all the media items that you don't know what to do with.  Please bring your items in good condition to share. Suggested items are: books, magazines, CD's, DVD's tapes, video games, records, computer games, etc.

3) We set out our goodies for everyone to shop through... one person's trash is another one's treasure. Take what you want, leave what you don't.

4) Show off your great bargains!  A $15 donation is a great deal for all of the great new items I have collected at previous swaps.

All of the proceeds are going to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Any items unclaimed at the end of the swap will be consigned to raise money for LLS or donated.

If you can not attend but still want to help, please feel free to make a donation of any media items or cash!  If you are able to attend, contact me for the rest of the details!  I hope to see you there.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Breaking the 1 Hour Barrier

This next week's long run will break the 1 hour run barrier for me, but I am feeling good about continuing to run longer and longer times each week. It has been rewarding to get out and do something positive a few nights (and one early morning) each week. I'm certainly not perfect in my training, but I am running almost regularly according to my schedule.  If you want to follow my progress in running and/or fundraising, you can visit my Madrid website at

The training is all based on time of the run, rather than distance, which is much easier for me to track. Some days I run at a faster pace than others and cover more distance; some days I just don't feel up to pushing hard. I'm hovering around a pace that would be put me at a 5-6 hour finish for the marathon. I would really like to bump up my speed a bit so that I can finish in under 5 hours.

We are also approaching the 1 year anniversary of Tyler's death, so I am also reminded of many things from my life with him. Last Christmas we were in Houston until late on Christmas Even, when Tyler was released to fly home. I think the doctors knew that he was dying and were trying to help us get home so that we could be with our families.

One of the fundraising options that we have is to get a personal sponsorship to put someone's name actually on our jersey for race day. I have been thinking that it would be really special to do that in Tyler's memory. If you have someone special that you want to have named on my jersey, a $1000 donation can make it happen.

Thanks to my supporters for this great start! I have hit 1/4 of the way to my goal (even though some of the donations are still in the mail and not visible on my website yet). I have been selling my handmade greeting cards at work to raise money and would be happy to connect with others that want a few cards to send out. $2/card adds up and will go a long way towards fighting blood cancers!

Thanks again for all of the encouragement and support!