Thursday, June 6, 2013

Nothing To Talk About!

I want to tell you about my checkup at Vanderbilt today.

I got some immunizations. I saw the Nurse Practitioner, lovely and charming Cathy, and one of my favorite doctors, Dr. Jagasia.

Yeah, my best checkup report ever. There is really nothing to report! In fact, there was so little to report, I forgot even to check my blood counts, which I usually do on my iPhone before Catherine ever comes in the room. (What do you call a room like that? A seeing room? A patient room?)

But I'm going to chat anyway. Thanks to all those who have said they are interested in my inane ramblings.

Conquering GVH of the Skin

I've been training—doing squats, sprinting, jogging, walking, playing soccer—in vain hopes of legs of steel. Today, I was happy to have legs of pale, human flesh, rather ordinary except for the large amount of varicose veins around my right ankle.

Today was checkup day. Usually Vanderbilt likes to give me two months between appointments, but I had a May appointment due to the large amount of GVH rash I had. For the last week, though, I've had no rash at all.

No rash at all.

My lower legs have been covered with a red, bumpy rash—that doesn't itch or bother me—for as far back as I can remember. At least 8 or 9 months. The rest of my rash comes and goes, but I have always been able to count on my entire lower leg being covered in rash except the upper calf area.

I still can't reveal the new treatment that I added in late April, which produced immediate results. Afterward, circumstances prevented my added treatment for a couple weeks, and the lower leg rash was still pretty bad for my appointment in early May.

Between then and now, though, circumstances have changed, and I have been pretty diligent with my secret treatment. The result has been no rash on my entire body, even though I've only been treating my lower legs.

However, since I don't care to tell my awesome care team at Vanderbilt about this secret treatment—yet—I can't tell you, either. I need more data.

So I go back in two months, August 2, for another checkup. If we have managed to stay GVH-free between now and then, I will reveal my treatment to them and face my just desserts. They're such nice people, I really don't want to kill them with astonishment. Nor do I want them to choke me to death for trying it.

So I have to have a lot of success under my belt.

My New Exercise Goal

I have a new goal. Remember in one of the last posts I told you I ran a whole mile, but it took me 13:56 to run it?

Well, the very next day someone told me that a friend of mine has been out jogging with her two children, and they ran a 14-minute mile with her. I blinked a couple times in silence, and then I asked, "How old is Tanaya?"

Tanaya is my friend's daughter.

She is 4.

The day after that, I saw my friend, her son (Jaden), and Tanaya come running in the gate of our village. My friend was pushing a baby stroller while she ran. Jaden and Tanaya ran casually beside her, clearly not tired. Jaden is 7 or 8 years old.

I tried to decipher the scene in front of me.
Yep, that's her (photo by Ashley Hartle)

People from our village run on that road all the time. If someone is coming in the gate of Rose Creek Village running, then usually they have either run to the end of Lola Whitten (2 miles), or to the end of Rose Creek Road (4.4 miles), or around a loop that we call the King Road loop (6 miles). (Or sometimes back from my warehouse, which is about 15 miles.)

I'm pretty confident that Abby would not have run with three children down Rose Creek Road, so I'm guessing they only ran two miles.

I looked at Tanaya's smooth, casual stride, the turn of her head—both sideways and upward—to impart some bit of adolescent wit to her mother as she hit the end of her 2-mile jog, and I realized that this 4-year-old girl, over which I had a 4-second advantage, had surpassed me; indeed, left me floundering in the over-sized wake of her success.

So today, on the way to the hospital, my wife read a social network post from Tanaya's mom. "The internet results show that Jaden and Tanaya ran 10:57 for that mile!" (paraphrased)

I was depressed. My wife assures me that I can catch her.

I'm thinking, well, by the time Tanaya is 11 or 12, it's going to be hopeless. I'll be 60 or so and slowing down. However, if I can make some real strides (no pun intended) in the next three or four years, a 55-year-old guy ought to have an advantage over a cute, but 4-foot-tall, munchkin.

So that's my new goal. First, catch up to Tanaya's standard right now, which will take at least six months, probably a year. Then apply my extensive knowledge of speed training to this tired, beat-up old body, and I ought to be able to compete if I don't let her get much over 4 feet tall.

I got a nice email from Tanaya's dad, Nathan. He told me his family only ran one mile that day, and he also corrected my spelling of Tanaya. He told me he doesn't know if he'll be able to keep up with Jaden, who has run backward in order to slow down enough to stay with with his little sister.

Another anecdote: Before all this, my wife saw Abby racing up the hill towards here house at full speed. Worried, my wife sent her a text asking if everything was all right. The answer? "Everything's fine. It's just that if I don't work on my speed, Jaden's going to outrun me real soon."

Final Note

Well, that's my fun for the day. I am so excited to go in, see the doctor, and feel like a normal person getting a checkup. I never imagined that could happen this soon!

I'm still on immunosuppressive medications that help make that result true. We are tapering off them very, very slowly. Why?

Cause that's the way we run.

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