Written by JKM on August 11th, 2010

Have you missed me?  Well, I’ve been busy!!  I’m very proud to say that I’m up to 10 miles with Team in Training!!  I’m quite impressed with myself.  It’s funny how when I’m driving around town, 10 miles feels like quite a distance, but when I’m out there on the trails with everyone, those few hours go pretty quickly.

Thank you so much for your donations.  You’ve donated $1,890 so far!!  Only $60 more ’til I reach my minimum for the VA Beach Half Marathon!  Once I hit that mark, I’ll be in full fundraising mode until I raise $2,650 more for San Francisco.  Pass along my page (http://pages.teamintraining.org/nca/rnrh10/jmatthews) to whomever you like, share it on Facebook, ask your company if they would consider doing a matching donation…any help is greatly appreciated!  I plan on organizing a local happy hour too so stay tuned for more details.  And speaking of fundraising, I came upon this article while looking through my google alerts for breast cancer at work: http://www.thedailytell.com/2010/08/brits-ride-rollercoaster-naked-for-breast-cancer-research/…perhaps I’ve been going about my fundraising the wrong way!  Anyone up for a nude coaster ride?! hahahahahaha

As you can see from the photos below, the past couple months have been full of activity…a friend’s wedding, a moonlight kayaking tour, the Gipsy Kings concert, a sunset ceremony at the DC Marine Corps barracks, a trip to Richmond for Katie’s TNT fundraiser, lots of fun dates with “Perfect Pete”.  :)  Two years ago at this time, I was preparing to head out to Seattle and I was dreading it.  Little did I know how much I would come to love the city!  Neither could I have imagined walking ten miles, exposing myself to the dirt and bugs in a kayak trip, sitting in a crowded room to celebrate a wedding, enjoying the Lawn at Wolf Trap, dating a wonderful guy.  I am not surprised I’m able to go out and do all these things now, but I am very grateful.  Thank you, Laura, for the gift of life!

And speaking of, Laura is going to give someone else the gift of life soon!  No, she’s certainly not sharing her marrow with anyone else–I stake claim to that–she is, however, going to have a baby!!!!!!!  That’s right, folks!  Come March, there will be a little Tiso running around!  Well, it probably won’t be running around in March…that would be weird.  It takes a while before they can walk, you know.  Nevertheless, there will be a baby and I will have my first niece/nephew!  Don’t laugh, but I googled “how to be a good aunt”, you know, just to see if anything came up that I might not think of.  It’s pretty self-explanatory though…spend time with them, that’s what builds the strongest bond and it is what they will remember the most.  Of course, I just had to look at my own aunts (and that of course includes you, Aunt Bitsy!!) to know the answer.

By the way, I think if the baby’s a girl, Julie would be a beautiful name, don’t you think?  I’m just saying.  Laura and Tiso, you will be wonderful parents and I can’t wait to meet the little guy/gal!  To read more about Tiso, check out his blog, which is now up and running:  http://bentiso.com/.  He will be leaving for Iraq very soon (he’s been training up in Wisconsin), so please keep him (and Laura AND little baby Tiso) in your thoughts.

In health news, I’m heading in to see Dr. Kales next week for a bone marrow biopsy.  Yes, I requested it!  I’ve had some headaches, minor random bone pain and some cramping, and the only way I can achieve some peace of mind is to hear the words “Everything looks good”…not just in terms of blood counts, but deep down in my marrow.  I honestly don’t think that the leukemia is back, but of course I worry.  I’m encouraged by the fact that I do not get short of breath when I do my long miles with Team in Training on Saturdays.  When the leukemia came back, I remember feeling out of breath while just playing with the dogs in the front yard.

I discovered today though that I have shingles.  I know, gross.  It’s on the right side of my stomach, and I noticed it a little bit Saturday night, and it’s gotten progressively worse since then.  My mom told me not to post a picture of it online.  I was all ready to show you what it looked like–you know by now that I bare all (remember the shots of my bone marrow biopsy?)!  I saw my dermatologist today, and she is 99% sure that it is shingles.  I was worried about graft versus host disease (GVHD), and I insisted that she biopsy the area just to be sure.  We should get those results in 10 days or so.  In any case, she started me on Valtrex, so hopefully I can kick this and avoid the severe pain that so many people get with shingles.  Right now, it’s just incredibly itchy and slightly uncomfortable.  It’s right where one fat roll folds into another one when I’m sitting which does not feel good.

Anyhoo, I’m hoping upon hope that the shingles disappear and the doctors allow me to continue Team in Training.  I will keep you in the loop!  In the meantime, enjoy the photos below and have a wonderful rest of the summer!

Lots of love,
Julie

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