Friday, September 27, 2013

Heading into Fall

Wow, is October really only a few days away?!  This month (not to mention summer) has flown by but all with good intentions.  September was dedicated to the GP Awareness Walk, which was incredible, followed by more t-shirt orders, donations and putting all of the stats/photos together for the Digestive Health Alliance.  

Last Saturday I woke up feeling pretty good and spent the entire day out supporting my husband and friends at a relay race called the Bellingham Traverse.  It involves a trail run-mountain bike-road bike-road run-kayak.  My dream (amongst many) is to one day take part in this, most likely the road biking.  Seeing everyone there really gave me even more motivation and hope to fight this digestive battle through raising awareness and continuing to explore treatment options (including the ongoing self care plan).  One day I dream to be in it and not on the sidelines.  For now, the sidelines are acceptable though and I must be okay with that.  Sometimes accepting the current situation is the hardest battle.  It's finding that balance between what is and the hope for what may.

If you follow this journey on Facebook then you may know that I've been battling an ugly flu/cold.  After 2+ years of not getting sick I guess I can't be too upset.  In fact, the weather turned just in time when I woke up Sunday to a sore throat and a cool, rainy day.  Perfect for soup making.  A fan of homemade broth, I made what I call kick-the-cold soup, GP style.  Ingredients are simple and include broth, carrots, zucchini, a little white rice, herbs, ginger and small amount of protein such as chicken or shrimp.  Living on this over the week has surprisingly calmed my stomach down after some bad flares.  I'm thankful soup season is here, along with the comforting foods of fall.  

There is lots to share as we head into fall.  I'm excited to post a story from my very first client who has overcome challenges and found ways to drastically improve her symptoms over the past year. Look for this and a giveaway of her favorite GP drink, Orgain, next week via the newsletter and blog!
Also, I will be announcing my plans for a trip to Arizona during the last half of October, exploring some treatment for both the body and mind (and soul if we really get down to it).  The decision has yet to be made whether or not I will be blogging the experience during the trip or when I return.  There is a part of me that feels it may be best to take this time away from the world of computers.  If that is the case, I most definitely plan on journaling and sharing after.
On another note, what ingredient would you like to see used in the fall newsletter recipe? I've been on the kick-the-cold soup-a-thon which is nourishing anytime, but open to ideas 
Feel free to share thoughts and opinions or on the FB post.

Enjoy the weekend and if you haven't signed up for the newsletter you can do so here!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Awareness Walk for GP 2013 Follow Up

Each and every day the week leading to Saturday, September 8th, I checked the weather forecast.  "Please, please let there be sun.  It can rain everyday but not Saturday, please not Saturday!"
Come Friday evening and still a chance of showers.  We had a large tent ready to use as a cover just in case and packed everything up ahead of time  (decorations, t-shirts, printed information to share, auction prizes, Orgain, ginger chews and Macrobars for refreshments, etc) in bins to keep them dry.

I was so excited and nervous that I could hardly sleep and jumped out of bed at the sound of the morning alarm.  Peeking out the window, the dark clouds overhead were covering the sky.  Well, whatever happens, happens and we will make the best of it.  By 9 a.m. the car was packed, including 2 very excited dogs jumping over each other in the back.  Trevor and I arrived to find a few of the volunteers already there ready to go.  The street was filled with farmers market vendors setting up, morning bike riders, and walkers chatting over coffee.  When the market opened at 10, most of the decorations (provided by a very creative Sarah Fredlund, new GP friend in town!) were up and display tables ready to go.

Some of the first to arrive were a few lovely ladies coming from surrounding areas, Lori, Jennifer, and Mechele, not to mention friends and family there to support us.  As you can see from the display table, Sarah generously took time to make tags for all of those who wanted to be here but couldn't make the trip, either due being too sick or too far.  I've received a number of messages to how much this meant to them and will continue this tradition each year forward!

As the market filled up, so did the crowds around the booth, curious about what exactly gastroparesis means, pitching in funds for donations, t-shirts and signing up for the auction prizes.  Lori's heating pads went quickly and the A-wear-ness shirts and jewelry were a hit.  And to top it off, the clouds cleared to a reveal blue skies and bright, warm sunshine!

Noon came quickly and those who were able to walk gathered and started down the trail.  Bellingham is an amazing town when it comes to the trail system, they pretty much connect the entire city.  The walk winds through tree covered paths along the bay and opens up, across the railroad tracks about 1.5 miles down, to a green park and open sea overlooking the San Juan islands beyond.   Perfect place to stretch, rest and take some group pictures.
Some headed back the same way we came and I hopped in the car with checkpoint supplies to ride back.  The adrenaline and movement of the day had me worn out.  I met everyone back at the booth and thanked those who had stayed to watch over and continue raising money and awareness while we marched.  Closing time came quickly and I was feeling quite overwhelmed with gratitude to have the opportunity to meet and educate so many in the community.  As I rested, friends cleaned and packed up all of the belongings.  What a success the day turned out to be!

There are still orders coming in for the t-shirts and necklaces but as of this week we have raised approx. $2,100!  Last year it was over $3,000 so a little short but I am excited because there are close to 100 awareness t-shirts from this year (close to 200 including last years) being worn all over the country, spreading the word about this walk and opening conversations to what it is all about.
To view all of the pictures from the walk you can click on this link to the Flickr Photo Album.

A HUGE thanks to....
Our talented friend Bryan Malley, who created this fun and funky design as well as all the artwork for T's, fliers and posters.  Also to Amjay for donating the printing of all 100 t-shirts.

Our Sponsors this year: ThriveRx, Hoagland Pharmacy, Blendtec, Orgain and CarrDorsch Family Dental.

Orgain and GoMacro for supplying protein rich and GP friendly refreshments to support the volunteer team and share with walkers and community.

The auction items from Blendtec (2 fancy blenders), RoibaGear riding helmets, Trader Joe's gift bag, CB Nuts peanut butter jars, and Starbucks package.

Lori for your comforting heating pads and Sarah for the jewelry, display work, and helping me tidy up the A-wear-ness packages with pretty green ribbon ;)

Our AMAZING set of friends who volunteered there time to planning and making this event happen both years: Stephanie, Lindsey, Alyssa, Sue and Angi, love you girls!

Trevor, Bryan, and Randy for the timeless photos and awesome manpower.

Jill Godsey from the Digestive Health Alliance for helping to guide us along with the planning.  And of course the DHA for providing a non-profit way to raise money for future research in hopes to finding a cure for Gastroparesis.

AND, last but definitely not least, to everyone who supported the event through donations, support and cheering us on!!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Blendtec Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Lin M., you are the owner of a brand new Blendtec!  Your name was chosen through for the A-wear-ness Package giveaway.  An email will be sent to you with details regarding shipping.

Thanks to everyone who participated, how much I wish I could send everyone a blender.  You should receive your lovely awareness packages in the mail by Monday but hopefully Saturday (tomorrow!), the day of the 2nd Annual GP Awareness Walk.

Look for lots of pictures to be posted on FB as the event goes on and a followup on the blog soon after.

Wish us luck and sunshine!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

"Together we can do what we can never do alone."
-Unknown (Yogi Tea)

In less than one week we will be talking the talk and walking the walk at the 2nd Annual Awareness Walk for Gastroparesis!  Sponsors are signed up, including Blendtec, Orgain, ThriveRx, as well as a few of local business's.  100 fun and funky green t-shirts have been ordered with half of them already sold and will go into print on Tuesday.  A local GP'er and talented artist, Sarah Fredlund, has dedicated her time to creating beautiful awareness necklaces, name cards to hang for those who cannot make it and fancy green tablecloths to cover the display tables.  The same wonderful friends that helped make it happen last year are on it once again to make sure every detail is in place.  
Together we CAN make a difference.  To have this opportunity, to not only raise funds specifically for GP research but to raise awareness and educate the community of the affect this illness has on millions of lives, gives me hope.  Hope is necessary for survival, the light at the end of the tunnel, because I truly believe the answers are out there.  I've seen others get better and hope to share some of these stories this fall in addition to my own journey of exploring treatment options.  

Look for pictures from the event, which will be posted on the website in a couple of weeks!