Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The most wonderful time of the year!

It has finally hit; the time of year when I knew I would be so busy that simply writing a blog update would take days to accomplish. However, I’m setting aside at least a few minutes to try to update all of you on the adventure that this year is and will continue to be for me!
First let me update you on dads’ condition. I cannot thank you all enough for the continued calls and emails inquiring after not only his status, but mine as well. To say this has been a long journey would be an almost painful understatement. We know we have a long way yet to travel, but at least we’ve reached a very important milestone. Dad has finally finished his chemo! We are so grateful that our weekly trips to the hospital are at an end. What we didn’t anticipate was just how difficult this particular time in this process would be. The compounding of the drugs in dads system over these many months has not ended simply because we no longer make a trip to the hospital. The drugs are still hard at work, and therefore, hard on him. He is still extremely weak, tired, nauseated and immune-suppressed. The week after his last treatment we were back in the hospital, but this time for a few more units of whole blood. But we know that his recovery is in site. We trust God’s goodness and have faith in his ability to continue to give us all strength to get dad through these next few months. I know that by the time I am giving up my Mrs. International crown this will all be a memory. Pray for us as we await his first post-treatment PET scan, which comes in two more months.
I have been extremely busy with the AHA. I have been elected as the state chairman of the Advocacy committee. We had our meeting with the national lobbyist director, Terri Broussard, and it went wonderfully. Terri and I are of an age, and share the same enthusiasm for the AHA and its mission. I think we will really enjoy working together. I spent the day in Little Rock with Terri filming segments for the new You’re the Cure blogspot. I am not a camerawoman, by any stretch, but it was fun to get to be behind and in front of the camera for the event.
Last week I took part in a press conference asking our legislators to support a rather large increase in the tobacco tax in our state. The AHA advocacy committee is part of the Step Up Coalition, which includes other well known groups like the cancer society, the department of health, and many more. The Coalition is going to fight hard to see this tax increased during this legislative session. Our desired increase could funnel as much as $139 million dollars into the state budget, and fund programs like the AED act, and the statewide trauma system. I also met with Jody Woodson, state legal counsel for the state of Arkansas, and sought his support on these issues.
Last Thursday mom and I went to a photo shoot for the cover of Arkansas Life magazine. Our story of surviving heart disease will be featured there in next month’s edition. I’ll provide a link as soon as the magazine comes out of print. Then Thursday I was up at the crack of dawn for the morning news show. I was on air with a representative of Zoll defibrillators, demonstrating how the devices work and asking people to contact their legislator’s in support of funding the act.
In a few weeks I’ll be heading to New York City for a huge Go Red event, then off to DC for National Lobby Day. Interspersed are innumerable activities, on which I’ll keep you posted! We are off and running in the new Go Red season!