February Flew By!

As we say goodbye to super-short Heart Month, a.k.a. February today, I want to share a few items of note:

  1.  I am 1 in 100!  
  2. I started my fundraising with the Adult Congenital Heart Association in their annual Congenital Heart Walk back in 2011.  So this year is lucky #7 & my 40th!
  3. I have walked every year (except 2012, you don’t want the why!)  with family and friends by my side all the time.  Mom, Dad, a boyfriend, a fiance, now my husband!, step-daughter, in-laws, a niece, girlfriends, and most special – the daughter of a girlfriend, who was also born with Congenital Heart Disease. (that is right, we were 2 in 100 that year!)
  4. Friends & family & friends of family amaze me every year.  This year I set a high bar for $4000 (10x my age!) and with just two weeks of fundraising complete as of today, I have raised $1445 from 20 kind, generous & super-supportive people.  That’s an average of $72.25 per person!  Average!  I gave just a measly $40 in honor of my 40 trips around the sun!  What will you give?  As little, or as much, or as clever an amount you want to donate will be most appreciated and put to good use – all for the cause!
  5. Since you know I kept track, I have to say that my first year of fundraising was my best yet – let’s do it again!  As of today I’m neck and neck with the top individual fundraiser to date for this year’s walk.
  6. Please – Join us April 29th – I promise it will be as spring-y then as it has been lately in the area! 

For me, for forty, for the other 1 in 100
Donate Today!

hover over pics to see corresponding year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Hearts Day!

 

Hello Dear Blog Followers,

All of you are my friends, some of you are family, and most of you are long time loving and loyal supporters, and for all of you I am grateful!

I am writing today because – you guessed it – it’s Valentine’s Day and what better way to celebrate than to kick off my fundraising efforts for the annual Congenital Heart Walk. I have signed up to participate in and raise funds for the Walk on April 29th.  This year, wheelchair-free and 40, I will walk to prove that, yes, you can be born with a congenital heart defect, have three open-heart surgeries, turn the big 4-0 and still celebrate 32 years with the same St. Jude mitral valve.

“It looks like a well-oiled machine,” to quote my new Johns Hopkins-based cardiac specialist!  It keeps on tickin’…

It is quick and easy to support this great cause by making your tax-deductible donation. Below is a link to my personal page.

Whatever you can give will help – it all adds up! I greatly appreciate your support, last year, this year, every year!  Thank you!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

To make a donation online, visit my personal fundraising page.

 

Thank you, one and all, from the bottom of my ticker…pictured here!

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Happy Heart Month!

Pretty sure we can all agree that January was full of Inaugural festivities, quibbles, rants and definitely some alternative facts.  But beyond that, there was the day after which was one for the history (ahem, her-story) books as so many of us participated in the Women’s March on Washington.  It was not necessarily a march, but more of a mass amount of women showing up with creative signs, catchy chants, a crystal clear crowd, and several pink pussy hats for what turned out to definitely be something truly inspiring!

This rowdy crowd of ladies (complete with a photo bomber, the photographer’s wife, perhaps?) was very fun to share the day with, and every day since doing various outreach by email, twitter, facebooking, calling and mailing.  We hailed from Virginia, Maryland, New York, Illinois and Orlando, Florida to get city specific!  We started with breakfast with the Florida delegation at the Library of Congress and were pep-rallied with “We Will Not Go Back” chants from Senator Bill Nelson, Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz, my sister’s, younger than I, Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy & Val Demings.  Maryland’s own Steny Hoyer even made a rousing speech in a pink scarf!  It was an invigorating morning!  Then…we marched.  Or rather, shuffled. 

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Pics from The March are all here!

But now it’s February and the man who wears cheeto colored foundation has gotten me about as down as I think I can get on life, so I’m shifting focus!

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HAPPY HEART MONTH!

Why is it that the shortest month of the year gets devoted to the most important part of our bodies?  I digress, see, I’m about through being perplexed by all of these questions.

So begins the I am #1in100 campaign raising awareness about Congenital Heart Disease as an issue belonging on the forefront to those of you who know and love me.  


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Born with a broken heart…

 

A Quick Wrap-Up of 2016!

Those of you who know us and read my blog may know most of this, but for those of you who just want a fancy piece of paper to read by the fire in your most comfy winter socks, here’s a quick run-down of my (ooops, our) farewell to 2016. 

In May, Ja & I went on our honeymoon to London, Windsor and Nottingham.  It was a jam-packed & fun-filled few days.  We thoroughly enjoyed every minute and totally spoiled ourselves. #BetterLondonThanNever Click for pictures here.  

In June, I road-tripped to a little slice of heaven, right here on the East Coast: Bald Head Island. I met up with friends from Texas and crashed their family vacation for a few days and nights and it was great to see them all and play in the sand!

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July ended quickly with a lot of activity.  Thanks to NBC4’s promo on the DC Animal Welfare League’s Clear the Shelters weekend, we found ourselves an already TV-famous four-legged friend.  His name fits as he is a complete mix of shar-pei, basset hound and something else …or a few somethings, Rhino!  #Rhino2016

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Rhino bonded with Ja for a few days while I headed to Philadelphia to volunteer as a suite bouncer at the Democratic National Convention.  I worked hard, made new friends, saw old friends and most importantly:  witnessed a lot of history up close!  I’ll leave it at that, you can read this blog for wayyyy more details and pictures!

We took in a lot of Washington Nationals (NLDS Champions!) baseball, headed to Edisto Beach for a week, saw Molly turn 10 and even built an almost life-sized Tower Bridge out of Legos!  

All in all, life is good, but bring on 2017 already!!!

For the Facebook official year-in-review you can click here!  Fun Times!

 

I Can’t Put it Into Words, but…I’ll try

I feel like I’ve read it all.

I haven’t.

I feel like I’ve felt this all before.

I have.

Folks, we’ve been here before. We’ll be here again. History repeats itself.  We were “with her” and we are “stronger together” as a result. We just didn’t chant that as frequently or with such fervor as they chanted “lock her up!”

But the facts are the facts: feet on the street win elections. We should have done more. We assumed minds were made up so we ignored middle America. You cannot win with the seaboards alone, though 77 electoral votes in the West Coast were worth staying up for.

There were carbon copy flashbacks of Election Night 2000. Remember “Sore Loserman”? What’s old is new again.  We were counting down the days “until we win” while Ralph Nader’s shit show paraded back and forth in front of our Nashville HQ.

We did all we could until it was “return watch party” time.

And it got later, and later, and later.

The stage was set, the balloons ready to fall from the ceiling, and then…it got later, and an older man with not quite a full head of hair came out INSTEAD of our candidate, and the woman we had been with during the entire campaign, did not.  Remember Warren Christopher?  There was no real end to that night. Either night.  But in 2000, the recounts were underway.

After all that time and singular focus, you throw in the towel, you go to sleep, you wake up and POW!, you find yourself in a different world where the one with the most votes is NOT declared the winner.  Again.

We live in a democracy. It was a real-life (long & drawn out) episode of Survivor (or the Bachelor, or however best you can relate), someone gets voted off the island and not handed a rose. There was only going to be one winner. But for the sake of SO many, and as I had wished it in 2000, I wished it had been HER.

My lucky big-city-livin’ brother was IN the Javits Center in the heart of the excitement and energy….until it wasn’t anymore. When I asked if he got any pictures he gave me a quick reply and I wished I could have eaten my words.

“You know what I got last night? I watched a Muslim man writhe in agony on the floor in front of me. I saw a woman take off her keffiyeh and throw it in the trash.”  

I cried when I woke up and I cried again when I heard the news and time stood still. This is real. This result means so much and so many different things to so many.

Kindness & love, people!  You just never know what Tuesday meant to so many lives around us. Start talking to people. Everyone. This is an all too divided nation and it needn’t be.

I wish I had answers. Protests and riots are not the answer. We should each strive to be our better selves and hope our new president and our fellow citizens will learn to love their neighbor.

Onward!

Some articles that meant something and that I wanted to share.

Forget Canada, Stay and Fight for American Democracy

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/11/forget-canada-stay-and-fight-for-american-democracy.html?mid=facebook_nymag

Finish Your Ugly-Crying: Here’s What Comes Next

http://nymag.com/thecut/2016/11/finish-your-ugly-crying-heres-what-comes-next.html

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank our gracious hostesses with the mostest, we did have a lot of fun for a while and did punch two fists into the air when we won Virginia!  Thanks, T & L

 

Seeq-ing Answers after 31 years!

Technology just might never cease to amaze me.

I’ve had three open heart surgeries.  An artificial valve that is no more than 15mm across “ticks” inside my chest every second of every day.  This St. Jude’s Mitral Valve was placed there very carefully by Dr. Frank Midgley & his team at the Children’s National Medical Center 31 years ago today, October 30, 1985.  I’ve been ticking ever since!

What I have not been as of late, however, is regular!  My heart has been racing, ticking loudly and forcibly for a few months now.  It’s been taken for a good ride this past year between moving, a wedding and honeymooning across the pond and walking literally all over the great City of London.

Arriving home on Thursday evening and suspecting just a little flutter on the trans-Atlantic flight, I could really hear it ticking in overdrive on Friday and took myself to the local Emergency Room.  Needless to say, I have been frequenting cardiologists offices ever since.  Seeing the Adult Congenital Specialist at Johns Hopkins was a real eye-opener for me and my mother (a nurse) alike.  I am an amazing case, one they all love to study a little more every time.

To track my abnormal rhythms, I was asked by my latest Cardiologist, Dr. Joann Urqhart (new to my care team as my adult cardiologist recently retired) to wear the Medtronic SEEQ wireless wearable heart rate and rhythm monitor.  About the size of an iPhone, I stuck this on my upper left chest for one month’s time.  Changing it every Friday, I had four total, and was able to do all activities of daily living with it on.  Once the month was completed, I boxed it all back up and sent it back to Medtronic.  Days later, a report arrived in a FedEx envelope on my door with a whopping 81 pages (double sided) of EKG strips.  See, I had to push the sensor on the monitor every time the ticker was out-of-whack and a kind soul who was looking at my continuous EKG all this time, would call me to collect my symptoms and find out what I was doing at the time of out-of-whack-ness.  Ross and I became fast friends, as he seemed to call and check in on me the most.  Turns out he graduated from my husband’s high school a few years before he did.  Small world!

Anyway, as if Election Day isn’t doomsday enough, or enough to make my heart skip some beats with excitement, the day after I am trekking to Hopkins again for an echo cardiogram and meeting with the Adult Congenital Heart Specialist again, Dr. Thomas Traill, lucky man soon received a copy of all 81 pages and is probably still reviewing them tonight.

We shall see what the future holds, but until then, I’m going to keep on tickin’ – 31 years later & counting!

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My Ticker!

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Born with a broken heart…

Teachable Moment

Those who know and love me know a teacher I am not, but those same folks never thought I’d sport the title of “step-mom” either, but alas – as a step-mom today I spied with my little eyes a teachable moment and went for it … all the way & all in!

We went as a family to vote early at the local rec center. Having already made mine count by voting absentee, I stood in the periphery and watched the process. Technical difficulties and a minuscule tear in page two (yes, the ballot is front and back of two legal sheets of paper) made someone have to go “re do” his ballot and so the youngest and I stood together between the scanner and the door.

A family of four, clearly first time voters, placed their ballots into the scanner one page at a time and the poll worker stood beside ensuring that they saw the flag, meaning their ballot was cast and counted. I froze, thankful for what I was, what we were, witnessing.

After receiving their stickers, the voters cooed over how cute she was in her cheer uniform and hot pink breast cancer awareness hair ribbon. Once they walked out I leaned right in between her cheek and shoulder and whispered in her ear:

“Do you notice anything about what is happening?”

“Yeah, they’re voting for Hillary!” She proclaims.

“Shhhh! No, not that, what else?”

“No. I don’t notice anything else?!” (Like, “what’s wrong with you, yes they are?!”)

“What do you notice about that nice man next to the machine?”

“He’s tall?!” (Like, “where are you going with this?!”)

“What else?”

“He’s brown?” I personally noticed his J. Hopkins name tag, but ok.

“What’s he saying to the people?”

“There you go (handing out the coveted “I Voted!” sticker) and thank you!”

Exactly.

And there it was – – – I should have teared up, but instead I just said:

“Not that long ago people like him didn’t get to vote, and now he’s thanking all of these people for voting” – and she stops me excitedly, “for a woman!?!”

YES!

Whew! Poor thing thinks Hillary is the only thing on that two page, double sided legal sized ballot! I’ll take it!

Personally, I wanted to know that everything we discussed sank in so once her dad finished she says, “Dad, guess what I know about that brown man?!”

OK -let’s leave! Now.

“In the olden days…” she began.

I had said “not that long ago” but, ok, she’s 9 3/4!

Teachable. 

My history major and women’s studies minor heart is happy today. More on the ticker in the next post.

#GetOutTheVote #IWillVote #MarylandWillVote #VoteEarly #EveryVoteCounts #StrongerTogether

 

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