Saturday, May 19, 2012

A needle in my pelvis? Yes, please.

Not a lot to report on the running front.  I've got a decision to make: there are two local marathons in the fall I'll be deciding between.  One, the Rock & Roll Denver Marathon, is scheduled a third of the way through September...potentially hot.  I hate running in the heat.  Also, the R&R Denver half marathon is a favorite of mine so I may opt for that.

Choice number two is the Boulder Marathon.  Scheduled for a full month after Denver's, I can take it a bit easier this summer, and I can expect cooler temperatures on race day...a full 10 degrees cooler on average.    The drawback is a course with several tough inclines and an elevation gain of 1600 feet.  Still, for every uphill, there is a nice downhill.  Also, with a tough course, I can choose to ignore tough time goals and just run to finish.  Appealing.

Also, I may have a morning running partner a couple times a week.  I could use the bump in motivation to roll out of bed.  But I've never run with a buddy; I'm a little nervous I'll be slow or inconsistently paced or just plain grumpy at 5:15 in the morning.  Here's hoping the arrangement proves to be mutually beneficial.  I know I'm uber-grateful to have a little extra time to sweat beside a lady who I don't know well yet, but impresses the hell out of me so far.

Besides being unable to sleep in the wee hours of the morning, and therefore finding some time sans distractions, here's the real reason I wanted to post a rambling, not-much-point-to-it blurb this morning:

I got the call.  My shoulder has been tapped.  I'm up for duty.

When Gene and I decided we wanted a second amazing child in our family, I wanted to quit work to focus on raising kiddos.  As a teacher, I was a bit overcommitted to other people's children to feel confident I could give two of my own equal and excellent time/attention.  So Gene worked hard to make it possible and I took the leap.

It was an unnerving leap for me, because I love teaching.  It provided me with a strong sense of identity--a sense that I made a generous and positive impact for people.  So when I quit work, I had to connect myself to something that would preserve that sense of usefulness in the world.  I found two avenues: G.E.D. tutoring in a women's shelter and signing up to be a bone marrow donor.  The first keeps me connected to teaching (and beneficially gives me a little resume fodder when I choose to return to work).  The second, bone marrow donation, was an easy way to do something hard.  As a stay-at-home mom, I knew my schedule would be flexible enough, and my family supportive enough, to tolerate temporary discomfort.  In exchange, I could claim credit for being a literal life-saver.   And, bonus, all said-discomfort was purely theoretical.  There was just no reason not to sign up.

So a few days ago I received word: I'm a potential match.  Wowza!  There's a 1 in 20,000 chance that any one person would be a match for a stranger; family members are a much better bet.  Also, it will take further testing to determine if my potential match is close enough to be a thumbs-up, let's-do-it match.  Also, doctors and patients have to work closely to decide the best course of treatment even if a potential match is found.  Sometimes, bone marrow transplant just isn't the way to go.  But sometimes it's the only way.

So here I am.  In the next two months I may get a phone call requesting further testing.  And 3-6 months from now I may be laying down pumping platelets or having a needle inserted in my pelvis.  And it's possible the procedure could disrupt or cancel any race plans I make now.  And then there's the  "discomfort."

And I might get to play an essential part in saving a life.

I gotta tell you, I'm jazzed.  So in case you too want a chance to save a life in theory, sign up.  The signing up part is painless.  If you ever do get to make the decision to donate in reality, you'll have the weight and awe of potentially extending a real-live, awesome-potential, loved, human life.