Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Happy!

Just a little note of gratitude for all of the wonderful people in my life. :) Best wishes for a wonderful and healthy 2011.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas, My Friends!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season. I feel a great sense of renewal this year, celebrating my first Christmas with my new immune system. :)

Steve arranged a little birthday celebration for me (see pic), reserving a private room at my favorite restaurant so that I could be with my close friends and family. It was such a fun evening, and we could just relax and chat for hours.

I am planning a fun gathering for Christmas, as well. I admit it's hard to get it all together, but that's true for everyone, and I am so grateful that I am able to try! Can't wait! Almost ready...

Last thing to do is build a small dock out front so that arriving guests will be able to "park" despite all of this rain. :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Going Dutch!

Steve has paid his dues with me in so many ways, but perhaps none so great as riding in the hunters.  For the past 3 years (since I was so rudely removed from tennis!), he has diligently taken riding lessons so we could once again share in sport.  Dressed in his coat and tie, he has successfully competed in the hunter classes at the horse shows, stealing only a brief yearning glance now and then at all the OTHER men riding the big jumpers (in regular shirts!) in the grass field.

Now Steve's time has come.  We've gone Dutch!  We purchased Alexander, a 14 year old Dutch Warmblood jumper who had become a bit homeless after the death of his owner last year.  His circumstances and ours aligned just perfectly, and we are a two horse family.  :)

I have been riding Xander as well as Atlas, and having a great time.  My scleroderma does interfere with my riding, and poor Xander is now "bitted up" like my good old Atlas in a stronger port-style bit.  Because I am not able to close my fingers on the reins, I need more control with a strong bit in the horses' mouths.  I tried one day to ride Xander in the jumper field, but my endurance is not there yet.  I am still quite short of breath and need short courses and frequent breaks.

However, just when I was feeling sorry for myself and feeling like I wasn't making progress, I happened to send a video of myself on the new horse along to my doctors in Chicago.  I email with them quite a bit, as I get my labs drawn here and communicate results back to them, so I attached the video on a lark.  I was super surprised to hear back right away--they were quite impressed!  Dr. Burt is hoping to use the video in an upcoming presentation on stem cell transplants.  :)  I made a short version for him, which you can view above, and I hope it helps to inspire hope in others with this disease.  It really felt great to know that I was actually ahead of schedule.

Except on my holiday cards.  :)