Sunday, February 14, 2016

The History and Meaning of Saint Valentine's Day

Saint Valentine was a Roman who was killed for his faith on February 14, 269 A.D. He had refused to worship pagan gods, and some stories say he was a priest who would marry young couples in secret who loved each other but who did not have parental permission. In 496, his 'saint day' was established. He is associated with love because he fell in love with the daughter of his jailer, and would pass notes to her. His final note, before he was executed, read 'from your Valentine'. 

Over the centuries, February 14th has become firmly associated with love, romance and sweethearts in every country around the world. There are many traditions involved with Valentine's Day. In most countries it is a traditional day to become engaged. In Italy, it's a day when men and women listen to music together and share poetry. In Victorian England, elaborate Valentine's Day cards were shared with family and friends. In Germany, flowers were definitely expected! 

The key to a tradition is that it comes from the heart. Valentine's Day is NOT about expensive jewelry or $100 bouquets of hot-house roses. It is about showing someone you really care, and that you have made or found a present for them that only your intimate knowledge of their personality could have known about. It's about that connection between two people, a connection that money can't buy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mitch Simmons and Family - Fundraising Campaign Day 16 (Monday, June 15)

With $9,894.00 raised thus far, we are knocking on the door of $10,000 raised in a little over two weeks!

Only $106 to go to hit $10,000 (and me sharing another high school photo).

Raising Awareness for Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia (ATN) - Black Hills 100 Race Training (Sunday, June 14)

Raising Awareness for Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia (ATN) - Black Hills 100 Race Training (Sunday, June 14)

Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia (ATN) - What research is being done?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a part of the National Institutes of Health, is the federal government’s leading supporter of biomedical research on disorders of the brain and nervous system. NINDS-funded projects are exploring the mechanisms involved with chronic pain and trigeminal neuralgia, as well as novel diagnostic methods and treatments. Other research addresses TN through studies associated with pain research. Additional NIH research on TN is being funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

One NINDS-funded study for people with post-herpetic neuralgia of the trigeminal nerve uses a nasal spray applicator to deliver a drug to the tissue that lines the nasal cavity (nasal mucosa). Current drug therapy is absorbed through the body, which may lead to adverse effects such as drug interactions.  The local drug delivery affects nerve endings and suppresses the activity of neurotransmitters (which help cells communicate with each other), which makes the trigeminal nerve less able to transmit pain. The study will monitor people’s daily assessment of overall pain and note any adverse effects.

Little is known about how the nervous system becomes closely aligned with the vascular system during development. Scientists are using a mouse model to understand this interaction, which may lead to better diagnosis, therapy, and prevention of several neurological diseases, including diabetic neuropathy and TN.

Women are at a greater risk for pain in many acute and chronic pain conditions (including TN), but the reasons behind this aren’t well understood. Researchers are looking at the role estrogens may play in affecting nerve pain activity.  Understanding estrogen activity on pain nerves may increase the knowledge of why women are at risk for pain and possibly lead to the development of compounds that dampen the activity of estrogen on nerves that send pain signals to the brain and spinal cord.


Black Hills 100 Race Training (13 days to race day)

Day off from training today.

Mitch Simmons and Family - Fundraising Campaign Day 15 (Sunday, June 14)

Mitch Simmons and Family - Fundraising Campaign Day 15 (Sunday, June 14)

(Kenny Wheeler taking over fundraising for the week)... 

First, a sentence or two about my great friend Mr. Patrick Tschetter. One of the greatest human beings on earth and someone I am honored to call my friend. 

Mitch Simmons, the man, the myth, the legend. I remember the first time I met Mitch. I was standing in the lobby of Dakota Junior High (yes Junior High) waiting for the activities bus. Down the stairs came this curly haired kid and asked me where the pay phone was. Simple enough, right? I forgot to mention Mitch had just moved from Memphis. So his straightforward question sounded like this to a young South Dakotan, "Y'all know were a fern is?" Alright, so maybe his accent wasn't THAT thick, but I definitely remember a "Y'all" thrown in there.

Little did I know, that kid with the funny accent would become one of my best friends for life. Liking Mitch was easy. He was, and is, the best athlete I've ever met. We liked the same movies (anything with Bill Murray or Chevy Chase). It's safe to say we just clicked. Throw in a couple of other locals (Pat & Garrett) and a hyper little skinny kid from Iowa (Kelly) and you have a recipe for endless amusement. There were many other friends that we ran around with and I by no means want to exclude anyone. But over the years, our band of brothers has been these guys and Roboto. Friends ebb and flow in and out of your life. They don't leave for good, they wash back in when nature see's fit. It's just how life works. But in everyone's life, they have that coral reef that remains no matter what the tide does. 

That was our poetry corner for the day. 


We are here to raise funds for Mitch and his family to offset obscenely high medical bills. I will be posting this week on the site. 

My first official act as commissioner of the pledge drive is this: 
I will match the next $200 donated. As I am typing this, we are sitting at $9,469. When we get to $9,669 I will donate $200. 
My challenge for someone, ANYONE is this: 
after I have honored my matching pledge of $200 pick up the baton and KEEP RUNNING. 
You don't have to match $200, it can be more or less. If 20 people match $20 donations, that's like a million bucks right there (if you know me, you know I suck at math). I do know this much about math, many small donations equals one or two big donations. There are ALOT of us out here on the internets so lets all get involved, give a little and make a huge difference. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Raising Awareness for Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia (ATN) - Black Hills 100 Race Training (Saturday, June 13)

Raising Awareness for Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia (ATN) - Black Hills 100 Race Training (Saturday, June 13)

What are Trigeminal Neuralgia and Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia? (1)
Trigeminal neuralgia results in sudden, severe, painful, stabbing, or electric-like shock in the face.

The trigeminal nerve has three sections, which affect:
The forehead and eye region
The cheek
The jaw

Blood-vessel compression of the trigeminal nerve causes trigeminal neuralgia.  Pain can be caused by:
Brushing teeth
Facial touching

It can occur in one or all areas, though symptoms usually begin on one side of the face, and affect both sides in about 5 percent of people.

Atypical trigeminal neuralgia shares several symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia. Microvascular decompression surgery may be indicated in certain cases, but the effectiveness of this treatment for atypical trigeminal neuralgia is less favorable.

Trigeminal neuralgia is first treated medically before surgery is considered as a treatment option. If medication is not effective, UPMC neurosurgeons usually recommend Microvascular Decompression. This minimally invasive surgery treats the cause of the problem, offers the most long-lasting relief, and minimizes risk of postoperative side effects like numbness.

UPMC’s high volume of trigeminal neuralgia patients has allowed our surgeons to research treatment effectiveness, making UPMC a world leader in the management and treatment of both trigeminal neuralgia and atypical trigeminal neuralgia.

Dr. Raymond Sekula discusses treatment options for trigeminal neuralgia.|Neurosurgery&vid=301&pagename=trigeminal-neuralgia

(1) Source: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Black Hills 100 Race Training (14 days to race day)

5.50 mile Fartlek training run this morning which (as previously posted), put me over 500 miles for the year in preparation for my first 50 mile ultra-marathon.

- Fartlek Training:

There's No Unselfish Good Deeds - Mitch Simmons and Family GoFundMe Campaign Day 14

In a little less than 2 weeks, 91 people have contributed to help Mitch Simmons and his family raise over $9,300 to help with the expenses from his of his brain surgery (along with the medical expense balances that have accumulated from trips to the ER, hospital stays, seeing specialists, prescriptions, tests, etc.)...or over a 1/3 of the way to our goal!

Per the video posted on Mitch's GoFundMe page, there is a "Group of 6" who have been friends since Junior High. After heading up this campaign for two weeks (and instead of you only getting my perspective/stories on Mitch during this fundraising), beginning today another member of our group, Kenny Wheeler, will be leading this charge...and after his 25+ years of military'd better be ready!

But, before I hand the reins to Kenny, I just wanted to share a thought on what I have seen and learned over this last two weeks.

"There's no unselfish good deeds" -  Joey Tribbiani, Friends (TV Episode)

What I realized over the last couple weeks is that everyone has their own story

In the donors to Mitch and his family are people who have:
- Suffered a stroke
- Lost a spouse
- Changed careers
- Lost a child
- Gotten divorced
- Lost a parent
- Declared bankruptcy
- Gotten Cancer
- Lost a brother or sister
and like Mitch...
- Had a major surgery and health issues

So what Mitch is going through, Mitch's story, this story, is about all of us.  Because out of these hardships all of us have learned how to:
- Survive a stroke
- Survive the loss of a spouse
- Survive changing careers
- Survive the loss of a child
- Survive a divorce
- Survive losing a parent
- Survive bankruptcy
- Survive Cancer
- Survive the loss of a brother or sister
and like Mitch...
- Survive a major surgery and health issues

For me, one of those came in 2011:
On June 10, 4 years ago, I got a call to "get into the hospital right away" from Dr. Paul Gotlieb - Internal Medicine at Fairview (Edina, MN), as he found I had Bacterial Endocarditis (a bacterial infection in my heart...that had been there for months!)

Thankfully, there was no damage done to the valves in my heart and with the help of the great Doctors and Nurses at Fairview, the support of family and friends, and 6 weeks of daily I.V. antibiotic treatments via a PICC line, I made a full recovery!

Fast forward 4 years to today (June 13) and on a beautiful day in Seattle I will cross over 500 miles run for the year...and am now two weeks away from running my first 50 mile ultra-marathon.

When I talked/texted with Mitch at the end of last year and started figuring out how to help him and raise awareness for Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia (ATN), it motivated me. That motivation pushed me to begin running (I had run a TOTAL of 26.7 miles the year before), that running motivated me to begin training for a race, that training pushed me to register for the 50 Miler of the Black Hills 100 and use that outlet to raise money for Mitch and his family and raise awareness for Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia (ATN).

So I urge you, be selfish. I promise you if you donate to Mitch Simmons and his family today, you'll feel better. Donate today and you'll feel better. Today, be selfish.

And with that thought, I turn fundraising over to my friend of 30+ years, Kenny Wheeler

Raising Awareness for Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia (ATN) - Black Hills 100 Race Training (Friday, June 12)

Raising Awareness for Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia (ATN) - Black Hills 100 Race Training (Friday, June 12)

While reading up on Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia I found this resource: TNA Facial Pain Association

Black Hills 100 Race Training (15 days to race day)

10 mile run today on the Alki Trail in Seattle...
oh, and this is the kind of stuff you see running around Seattle.