6 days until the half marathon!

Sorry I haven’t posted in so long! I’ve had a lot going on.

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  1. Had a great time in Austin, Texas, visiting my sister for Easter. I think I could definitely live in Austin – it’s a fun city, with a similar feeling to Nashville, except much more Vegetarian food! haha. Jenna and I definitely ate our way through the city during Easter weekend. I had falafel, cupcakes, tacos, chocolate orange pancakes, veggie burgers, fantastic tofu, half-pound cups of frozen yogurt, and a picnic of yummy foods. I also got to know the Austin bus system pretty well – $1.50 day passes were a lifesaver :)stp821751
  2. I have the half-marathon coming up this Saturday. I’m super excited about it and hopefully will be able to blog about my success this time next week. Granted my training this season hasn’t been nearly as intense as last year, but I feel ready for it. I’m not quite as excited about the weather forecast for Saturday (sunny and 80s). Last year it was overcast and 40s, which I have to admit is better for a half-marathon, but whatever.
  3. I have started to venture into the world of couponing, as an attempt to cut my grocery costs (which seem to be the main source of my expenses, other than rent and bills). Luckily I have found a wealth of information out there. Wonderful blogs like Frugal in Franklin, Strecthing a Buck, and Bargain Briana have taught me a lot, as well as coupon sites like Cellfire, RedPlum, Smart Source. Hopefully I’ll be able to start seeing some savings in the near future!
  4. I’m also going to start the infamous “30 Day Shred” Challenge next Monday (after recovering from the half-marathon). It’s a 20 minute daily workout from the all-intense Jillian Michaels of Biggest Loser fame. Since I’m poor and can’t afford to buy the workout video (see #3 above), I was happy to see that there are clips of the workout tape on Youtube, and if I piece them all together, I can do the complete workout from my laptop for free! So anyway… I’ll let you all know how it goes. 2 of my fellow interns, as well as my best friend from college, are going to join me in the 30 day challenge, so I know I’ll have great support!

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Spring is here at long last!

I have so enjoyed the beautiful weather we’ve been blessed with in the past few days. Not quite so excited to get the power bill today and see a record-breaking amount for the month of January…. but that was a very frigid month requiring non-stop heating, so I suppose I can understand. But now that I’ve been able to leave the building without a coat for several days, I’m loving it! 

Rotations began this week. No more clinical stuff, I’m now in the other track, which we lovingly call “MBC land” – short for management, business and community rotations. This week is focused on patient services in the hospital’s foodservice department. Even though I expected to hate foodservice stuff, we’re doing more managerial type activities. So instead of cooking/delivering the meal trays, we’re investigating why delivery times are slow, why certain items receive more complaints than others, help keep staff updated on regulations, etc. Tomorrow, for instance, I’m teaching a few inservices on Joint Commission, since Vanderbilt is due at any moment for a surprise visit. We came up with a spin on “Where’s Waldo?” and have “Where’s JC?”, emphasizing that they will come unannounced, and may be anywhere in the hospital. Of course, being in the south, we’ll have to put in the disclaimer that no, we’re not talking about Jesus Christ, but the Joint Commission. haha. But who knows, maybe Jesus likes red striped sweaters too?

I’ve finally had some more time to get back to reading… which has been long overdue. I have only a few chapters left in ‘Holy Cow’ – an enjoyable travel narrative about an Australian journalist’s move to India and her experience with the culture, religion and lifestyle. I have been looking forward to taking the shuttle to work in the morning so I can have a few minutes to read (with no computer/internet/work to distract me). However, yesterday morning I get settled into my seat, only to find an Indian couple sitting across from me. I immediately felt self-conscious, but desparately wanted to read my book, so I pulled it out discretely and laid it on my lap (to avoid flashing the colorful and provoking cover). After finishing the chapter, I put it back in my bag. When I looked up, the couple was grinning at me. The man said “Can I see the book that you’re reading? What is it about?” I pulled it out slowly, handed it to him, and explained “Oh, it’s just about an Australian woman’s travel to India”. I didn’t know if it offended them or simply intrigued them. The two of them closely inspected the book and read the blurb on the back, then smiled and handed it back to me. “Do you like this kind of book?” he asked me. Again, not knowing what to say and not wanting to upset anyone, I stayed safe with “Yeah, it’s pretty interesting…”. 

Luckily, they were not on the bus this morning, so I read in peace. I’m hoping to finish it tonight. The next books on my list are:

  • Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
  • Epilogue: A Memoir by Anne Roiphe
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald (I just have to read it now after seeing the movie!)
  • The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks (I know….)

And a quick reminder for all you readers out there that I’m still raising money to help fight blood cancer!! My half marathon training is going well, and on April 25th I’ll complete my second half-marathon on behalf of cancer patients, victims, and survivors. Visiting the pediatric oncology floor today, I saw a stack of coloring books that LLS puts out about “My Stem Cell Transplant” and was reminded of the great work that they do. Please join me in finding a cure! So far, I’ve raised over $300, but my personal goal is $1,000. Any amount you can give, no matter how small, will help! LLS is such a good organization to give to, over 75% of all donations go straight to research and patient services, and I can tell you that the funds raised by Team in Training have made a huge impact on the survival rates of many types of cancer. So thank you in advance for your support :)

The motivation behind the miles

A lot of you know about my participation in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program and how I’m working with them for a second season and will finish the Country Music Half-Marathon on behalf of those who have struggled with blood cancers.

It’s amazing to me how many people I have met along the journey that have been affected by blood cancers in some way. Every story I hear is an added motivation for me to keep up with my fundraising or training. They sure do help give meaning to the early Saturday mornings too!

Just today I was reminded again of why I’m in this. One of my patients, a previously healthy 18 year old who just moved back to Nashville to be near family, has been a difficult case to diagnose. We joked that he was the “House” patient on the floor – as the medical team seemed to be testing him for all kinds of strange viruses and asking if he’d traveled to foreign countries or had any exposure to nontraditional animals/pets. As his dietitian, I worked with him to see what he felt he could eat – his illness had completely zapped his appetite. This morning, when I walked into the hospital at 7:15am, I went straight to the computer to look him up and check to see if the team had come up with a diagnosis. They were looking for Parvo virus, Epstein-Barr, and cytomegalovirus, among others. I was happy to see he was out of the intensive care unit, but when I saw he’d been transferred to the oncology floor of the childrens’ hospital, my heart sank. I remembered a bone marrow biopsy had been scheduled;  apparently leukemia is now the diagnosis. 

At lunch, I talked to one of my friends who’s covering the pediatric oncology floor. She had already talked to him – he wanted me to know that he did not enjoy the Strawberry-flavored Boost I sent (I told him it would be like a smoothie…), but he said he feels better than he did in the ICU. I believe chemo has already been scheduled. 

It comforts me to know that he’s in a top-notch academic medical center, and that survival rates of childhood leukemias have drastically improved in the past decades, with much thanks to the money that LLS has provided for ongoing research. And where has a lot of that money come from? The crazy people like us who train for marathons, triathlons and other endurance events and raise money while doing it. 

If you are at all interested in donating to this wonderful cause, please visit my website and make a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 75% of your donation (an impressive amount) goes straight to research and patient services.