Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 Recovery, 2013 Rejuvenation

Who doesn't have a love-hate relationship with the holiday season? I mostly enjoy this time of year, but I always seem to be crawling across the finish line towards the end, barely able to drag myself out of bed for the last few weeks of December, and usually feel my body falling apart just before the New Year.

2012 has been no different. Let's start with the weekend of the Dec. 15th-16th. I started off Saturday with a 10-mile run with the DFMC team, where I met a number of really nice, inspiring people and enjoyed a beautiful morning running along the on the Minuteman Bikeway in Lexington. Kristen and I spent the rest of the weekend making:
  • 152 glitter ball sandwiches (2 cookies each)
  • 190 caramel turtles
  • 114 peppermint shortbread bars
  • 304 candied and chocolate-dipped orange peels

This fulfilled our first big order, following a very generous donation from our friends Sasha & Carrie, for 38 double-decker treat packages that were delivered to Kristen's colleagues at Oracle. The baking continued all the way through the next week, intermixed with our day jobs, Christmas shopping, Boot Camp, running, and preparing for my parents' visit.

Our holiday dessert packages were a huge success. Thanks to the many purchases by friends and family, we raised over $1400 towards my fundraising goal, which brings me pretty close to the $4000 minimum amount. There's still plenty of time to donate, and I'm really excited and motivated to meet and exceed my goal. And stay tuned for information about homemade chocolates we'll be selling for Valentine's Day.

Now, the baking's over. I'm nursing a hip injury likely sustained from over-use between ramping up my mileage and attending Boot Camp twice a week-- a bit nervous about it to be honest, but hopefully I can recover quickly and get back to training. I'm also catching up on sleep and enjoying some quality time with my family, and looking forward to a really fantastic year.

Also worth noting is that I have stitches and scars on my stomach, back, and face marking the conspicuous spots recently removed by my dermatologist.  I consider skin cancer to be an inevitability for me, based on my fair skin, lifetime sun exposure, and family history, but can only hope that if I am someday diagnosed with melanoma like my father was many years ago, I, like him, will have caught it early enough.  Hence the annual checkups-- which are pointless without the treatment options made available by the great work performed by organizations like Dana-Farber...

The Barr Program's research has led to the discovery of abnormalities in cancer growth proteins leading to the development of successful drugs including a 42% increase in survival for patients with advanced lung cancer, and a 63% improvement in survival for certain metastatic melanoma patients.

The Kinome Project, with initial Barr Program funding in 1997, discovered mutations in a family of genes called “kinases” that prevent cell growth stimulators from being turned off, resulting in cancer cells that replicate uncontrollably. These discoveries by William Sellers, MD and his colleagues led directly to the development of targeted drugs used by patients worldwide for the treatment of multiple cancers including lung cancer, leukemia and melanoma. Examples include Tarceva leading to a 42% improvement in lung cancer survival, and Vemurafenib, producing a 63% improvement in survival for metastatic melanoma when the mutations are present. This work has become the model for personalized medicine in cancer treatment and is widely credited for helping transform the approach that pharmaceutical companies use for drug development.

There's still a lot of work to be done. For now, I'm going to finish out the remaining days of 2012, thinking about this year's accomplishments and celebrations. But next week begins a new year, and regardless of how my hip is feeling or the results of my biopsies, I'll be out there pushing myself in my training and focusing on my $6500 goal and the 26.2 miles I'll run in April.

You still have a few days before the tax deadline, or you can wait and file your donation in your 2013 return-- or both!  Either way, I really appreciate your support!

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