How did I get the name theBrainrunner?

Well it's a long story but I'll keep it breif. On November 3rd, 2008 I was getting ready for work and passed out in the shower. Luckily, my wife was home at the time and ran upstairs to find me and after having trouble reviving me she then called the paramedics. After an ambulance ride, followed by a CT scan, then a helicopter ride to another hospital I ended up having surgery to repair a ruptured Brain Aneurysm. 5 months later I had two more aneurysms clipped. I was thankful to be alive, as 40% of ruptures are fatal, and 66% suffer from some permanent neurological deficit. I use to be a runner in High School, and after I had recovered from the surgeries I wanted to be healthier than I had been at that time so my wife and I started running again. Every time I run I'm thankful to be alive and able to be outside doing what I love. Thus, theBrainrunner was born.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Hospitals love us Insurance hates us

I can't believe it's been almost a year since my last blog post. What a year it's been! I haven't been just hanging out there has been some significant stuff going on.

First of all shortly after or right before my last post my wife was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Crappy yes! Terrible, no. Her cancer was young stage 1/2. She opted for a double mastectomy, and you can read more about her journey from her here. During that process she was subsequently diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). Without the Breast cancer diagnosis the MDS could have gone undiagnosed for a long time, so in a way it was a blessing.

What the heck is that? Yea that is what I said too. So this is what the MDS Foundation says about it:
Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) are a group of diverse bone marrow disorders in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. MDS is often referred to as a “bone marrow failure disorder”. MDS is primarily a disease of the elderly (most patients are older than age 65), but MDS can affect younger patients as well. To help you better understand MDS, it might be helpful to first consider some basics about bone marrow and blood. The bone marrow functions as a factory that manufactures three kinds of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Healthy bone marrow produces immature blood cells — called stem cells, progenitor cells, or blasts — that normally develop into mature, fully functional red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. In MDS, these stem cells may not mature and may accumulate in the bone marrow or they may have a shortened life span, resulting in fewer than normal mature blood cells in the circulation.

So she finished her Breast cancer treatment, skipping Chemotherapy but having radiation, and then reconstruction. Once she was cleared from that she began treatment for the MDS. That basically entails high doses of Chemotherapy to kill your immune system and bone marrow, bringing the patient to the point that without new cells they would die from the high doses of Chemo. Then grafting in new stem cells through the blood that eventually take over and start producing new blood cells the proper way.  Sounds easy enough, but as she lays here in the hospital bed waiting for these new stem cells to start working I can say it's much more difficult then it sounds. That being said her MDS was caught early, she's young, and was in good shape, it has been a difficult journey for her so for those whose diagnosis comes later in life, or detection, and are in poor shape I can't imagine their journey. 

Needless to say this is where my focus has been, rightly so, for the past year. I've run but it's been sporadic, I had a minor injury that was the result of genetics, and that's about all on the running front. 

On a side note: Special thanks to the 25 year old guy, who is O+ and lives somewhere in the Mountain Time Zone. This is where Tammy got her new stem cells from, We're not allowed to know his name for at least a year, then only if he agrees. She was lucky, her Dr. had 15 matches to choose from, but others aren't so lucky. For the donor the procedure isn't painful like it once was, it's just like giving blood now, thanks to advanced technology. So, I encourage everyone to go to BeTheMatch and register as a donor.