A few months ago I was home for Mule Days and the baptism of a friend's children. At the baptism party (also a birthday party for her dad), I was talking with Darci's sister who had gone to the hospital earlier in the day with cellulitis. I've known the family since I was in preschool and have watched Kathleen grow up. I've also known she had struggled with health issues while in college but didn't know what exactly was going on. When she got back from the hospital we were talking and she shared that she had had cellulitis about a dozen times in the last year or two. She also shared that it's a biproduct of the leukemia and her treatments. She shared that she is on an oral chemo therapy treatment that she takes daily. She shared that she will likely be on this medicine (or some other variation) for the rest of her life. Kathleen also shared that this new medicine is much better than the old medicine and that there have been great advancements in the last few years with regard to the daily chemo meds. She shared that when she was diagnosed the statistics were that with the medicine they had there was an 80% likelihood of death within 5 years of diagnosis, even with the medicine. The advancements have been so great that now, with the new meds, there is an 80% likelihood of life 5 years after the diagnosis. That turn around is huge. And it spoke to me in a powerful way that the research DOES make a real and tangible difference. Not just "some day" but NOW.
Sharing with Kathleen inspired me. I wanted to do something to help further the research and continue to help them improve the odds and quality of life for those living with leukemia. So I am beginning a journey with Team in Training (TNT) with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society to train for a half marathon in January. And in doing that, I have to say, I am NOT a runner. I really do not enjoy it. But I think it's worth it. And there are some bonuses.
1) It helps Kathleen and others like her who are hoping for great strides in the medical world to help them have a better life.
2) It helps me get healthy.
3) It's becoming a spiritual discipline. Yes, I know, it's physical. But for me. the "spiritual" things like prayer, Bible study, meditation and worship come easily. I don't have to work to make them a part of my life. By regular exercise (beyond walking) without external accountability (like paying $200 for a class and needing to get my money out of it) causes me to be much more disciplined and it gives me time to think and process and pray.
All of that means you'll be seeing a lot more posts about exercise and balance and new habits and struggles around here.