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I want to share the latest info on the success of....

Monday, December 31, 2007
our 2nd annual Phenomenal Hope for a Cure.
The following is a copy of the "report" that I just posted on the PHA discussion board. I'm going to try to post the same info here. Thanks for all of your support, love and prayers with this event. As you will see, it was EXTREMELY successful!

Thanks for reading!


On November 17, 2007 we held our 2nd Annual Phenomenal Hope for a Cure Fundraiser in Omaha, NE. We were all very nervous since last year, our first year, was such a success. Well, I'm here to report that the 2nd Annual Phenomenal Hope for a Cure Fundraiser was significantly more successful than last year! We have so far (we got another $1,000 donations this last week!) raised over $51,000!!! That is at least $10,000 more than we raised last year! Included in that is well over $3,000 that was made from silent and/or oral auction items that were made and/or donated by phriends from all over the country!

Just to give you a quick synopsis...We had a sit-down dinner for about 250 people. The mayor of Omaha, Mayor Mike Fahey was our honorary chairman. He declared November 17, 2007 as Pulmonary Hypertension Day in Omaha. He also presented us with the proclamation at the dinner. We had a local sportscaster, Mr. Dave Webber as our emcee. We also had a local and exceptional auctioneer, Mr. Glenn Evert donate his time as our auctioneer.

While people were shopping and bidding on the numerous silent auction items, there was a slide show on a big screen showing the "PHaces of PH." It was a slide show of phriends that I put together with music.

When the attendees "shopped" at the silent auction items, they immediately knew if they were looking at an item made and/or donated by a phriend, because I had their picture and name displayed by their item.

The evening "officially" started with my sister, Kathleen, introducing Mr. Webber and then Mr. Webber thanking everyone for coming and acknowledging the sponsors (drug companies, medical groups and individual businesses and physicians) then introducing the mayor. Mayor Fahey then spoke about pulmonary hypertension using talking points provided by PHA. He then presented the proclamation to the four phriends that were on the fundraising committee.

Following that, we had a local pediatric ph specialst, Dr. Paul Sammut spoke specifically about pulmonary hypertension in children.

Following his talk, my youngest son, Chris presented the documentary he made for this years event, "Hope." This year he focused on 4 children with ph. Of course, it was amazing. (even if I am a bit biased)

I was then introduced. I asked for a moment of silence for the 3 local phriends that we lost to ph since last year’s event. Then I gave my "speech."

"Pulmonary Hypertension is a life-changing diagnosis.
Many of us lived with symptoms for several years before we were diagnosed. These symptoms included shortness of breath, light-headedness and even chest pains. Then once we were given an actual name for how we had been feeling, our lives really began to change. We started visiting the doctor more frequently. We began taking many new medications. Some of us started to use oxygen. We began to learn what our physical limitations were. We began to learn about the potential problems and negative outcomes associated with Pulmonary Hypertension.

PH IS a life changing diagnosis.
Many of us have learned that our physical limitations cause us to slow down and even many of us have had to quite working. We may not be able to do things we once took for granted like walking up a flight of stairs, going swimming, riding a bike or even walking the dog. Our days now include schedules for mixing medicine, taking medicine and even resting.

You see, PH IS a life changing diagnosis. BUT, we are the lucky ones.
With a slower pace comes a better appreciation of what life has to offer. We no longer take things for granted. Time with our family is precious. Time with our friends is precious. Time spent reading a book or listing to music is precious.

You see, WE ARE the lucky ones. Never before have there been so many choices in treatments for PH. Never before have we had so many scientists and physicians working to find more treatments and even a potential cure for PH.

You see, we ARE the lucky ones.

Just look at the people in this room. They are here for us, the people with a rare disease. They are here to support us and to support the hope, the hope we ALL have to find a cure. Thank you for coming."

We then went into the oral auction and the evening closed with Mr. Webber thanking everyone for coming and reminding all to take the information about ph and PHA with them.

So, that's about it. I hope this short report and some of the photos from the evening help you feel like you were there. Because, you WERE there, you were ALL there, in my heart.

Thanks for reading.
Much, much love,

ps First picture is the mayor presenting us the proclamation. I'm shaking his hand.

I have been a BAD BLOGGER!!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I'm hoping this picture makes up for it! I don't have a good excuse for not writing. I've been tired. But, I've mostly been lazy! Although Rod, Chris and I were suppose to go out of town for a wedding reception last night, but I had a terrible headache and was really tired. So, we had to skip out on that one. I feel bad about missing it.
Chris is still in town and it has been great seeing him. We've seen several movies! On Christmas night, we saw "National Treasure." It was an excellent movie! Chris, Rod and I also went to "Charlie Wilson's War." It was also an excellent movie! The three of us also went to "The Great Debaters." ALSO an excellent movie! Kathleen drove up from Lincoln and we saw, "P.S. I Love You." It was pretty good. But, I had no idea what it was about before we went to it. It was good, but I hate paying money to cry. I can do that at home for free.
Well, I've got to get going. We're going out to dinner with another family who has all of their kids home for the holidays also. I took a nap this afternoon so I should be good for another couple of hours.
Again, I'm very sorry for being such a bad blogger. I've decided that "cheating" on my blogger promise is very similar to cheating on my diet. When I've already eaten one handful of Fritos, another handful is not such a big deal. When I've already missed one day of blogging, another one (or two) doesn't feel like as big of a deal either.
M-m-m-m-m-m-m...where is that bag of Fritos?

Thanks for reading.

On the 1st day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Two puppies playing

Two cousins playing

One dad a-smiling

One son a-ginning

and Rod in a motorcycle helmet!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Monday, December 24, 2007
I am so sorry Jacque, I completely forgot to get to my blog these last couple of days.
As it is for everyone, it's a crazy time of the year!
I figured out why I've been feeling so crummy. Bending over is really hard on people with pulmonary hypertension. I realized that I was bending over ALL of the time with the puppies! I would have to bend over to get one of their toys, pick up a mess, etc. So, Rod went up to Lowes and bought me a couple of heavy-duty grippers. It has helped quite a bit. In fact, Asa was getting ready to squat and "do his business" in the family room when I grabbed his rear end with the grippers! Fabulous!!

Chris got home last night. Tonight we go to church then have dinner at our home with Rod's brother and his family. Rod, Nick and Chris took over the Christmas Eve cooking a couple of years ago. We have a delicious prime rib, potatoes, rolls, pie, etc., etc., etc!! Then tomorrow we have Rod's brother and his family and my sister and her girls over for lunch and presents. Usually, Rod,the boys and I open gifts to and from each other first thing in the morning before everyone else gets here. But, Nick won't be around. He's on the transplant rotation and is on-call on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So, we'll do presents whenever he gets some time off. Also, my sister's oldest daughter is still in Taiwan teaching English and won't be home until the fall. So, it's all going to be a bit "off" this year without our oldest "kids" around.

Well, I suppose I should get something done. Again, sorry for missing the last couple of days. Merry Christmas everyone!

Thanks for reading!
much love

Another quick "hello."

Friday, December 21, 2007
I'm really tired tonight. I'm going to mix my Flolan early and go to bed early. Chris is coming home Sunday night, so I want to be finished with shopping, wrapping and resting by the time he arrives.

Thanks for reading (what little there was :) )

An escape!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007
So, "the boys" and I are having a really good day. We were playing inside and they actually would actually lay down once or twice and kind of relax! I had also taken them outside a couple of times and they "did their business" and stayed right with me, coming in every time I told them to! So, we were inside and they started smelling the floor, which is a big "tell" that they need to go to the bathroom. They had been doing such a good job of listening to me that I figured I'd take them out like before. Well, as you have probably already guessed, their "listening time" was over! Not only did they not listen to me when I called them, they started going further and further away from me! I kept walking towards them telling them to "come" and they just kept looking at me and running further away. They were out in the field and heading towards the street! I couldn't drag my sorry rear through the snow drifts to get to them. So, I went to the garage and got Rod's big, giant Ford 350 diesel truck. I revved it up and drove it right out to the middle of the field! I grabbed Haver, since he kind of seems like the dominant one. He's also the HEAVY one. I put him in the cab and grabbed Asa. Of course, before I got Asa inside the cab, Haver jumped OUT of the cab! You have to try to get this visual. Here is this little 35 pound or so yellow lab jumping out of the cab of a giant pickup truck! He looked like he was flying! The only good part of his flying so far was that when he landed he was pretty deep in a snow drift! While he was stuck, I was able to get Asa in the truck and then grab Haver! I can't imagine what a sight I was driving this giant truck out in the middle of the snow-filled field chasing a couple of puppies around!
Needless to say, when we all got back to the house, we ALL took a nap! They, of course, had to take their nap in the laundry room as a "time-out!"
And yes, I am going to bed early!
Thanks for reading.
(the tired, but very happy old woman!)

Another "Pantyhose Dinner"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007
It is now 10:30 p.m. I just finished mixing my medicine and I have to go to bed. These long and late nights of being nice and behaving myself are wearing me out! Sorry for the short post.
More tomorrow.
Thanks for reading.


Houdini in Action!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Just thought you might want to see what Haver does with his free time!

Dragging my kiester!

Monday, December 17, 2007
Well, I think I managed to get the bug that knocked Rod out last week! I've got cold sores on my lower lip, I ache more than normal and I'm also more tired than normal. If this actually turns into something, then I think it will be the first time I've gotten sick (a normal sick) since I started Flolan in July, 2004! Rod has wondered if the Flolan boosts my immune system since I've been so healthy (relatively speaking)these last 3 1/2 years.

The puppies had their first training session today. Haver is a bit stubborn and bullheaded (he takes after his father) and Asa was not really understanding the process (he also takes after his father.)I'm sure tomorrow will be better. In the meantime we're suppose to play with them around the training unit to have them get used to the noise. I'm not really sure I understand the point of that practice (I also take after their father) but, I'll be a good "mom" and do our homework.

Well, I'm going to take some Tylenol and be a bum.

Thanks for reading.

A lazy day!

Sunday, December 16, 2007
It was such a nice, relaxing day! I slept until almost 10:00!! Then, I spent the rest of the day eating leftovers, playing with the dogs and watching tv! Nothing exciting to report!

Oh, I guess there was one small piece of excitement. I decided it was a good night for a fire and I forgot about starting the fire and letting the fireplace warm up for about 10 minutes to make sure there is a good draw. I put the wood in and then started it. So....after the security company called and all of the fans cleared out the smoke, then I came here to write a bit and then head of to bed. (cough-cough-cough)

Thanks for reading.

I'm pooped!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007
Just another quick posting to let you know we "survived" the all day party! The weather didn't really cooperate. We had about 3 inches of snow last night and then maybe another inch or so today. The roads were kind of "iffy." In fact, one of my friends ended up in the ditch on her way here!(Thank heaven's she is ok!) But, we still ended up with about 200 people. It is such a blast getting to see so many wonderful friends! It's also fun to see people make new connections or reconnect with old friends.

OK, it's time to go to bed.

Thanks for reading.

Another quick "hello!"

Friday, December 14, 2007
I've been working all day on getting ready for the big party tomorrow! The puppies have been great (no accidents) and I'm really pooped and my lungs are really tired. I spent way too much time sneaking around without my O2 today. (I was just being a dope. I'd do something that was out of reach of the concentrator tubing and was too lazy to get the Inogen..portable concentrator..out and use it.) So, aching lungs are in direct correlation to me being a knucklehead!
So, I'm going to bed while Rod finishes up baking his cinnamon rolls. I have waited long enough for the first batch to finish so I can get one. They are soooooo delicious!!
OK,goodnight. Don't let the bedbugs bite!
Thanks for reading.

I'm just all full of good news!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007
Well, every time I take the pups outside to the yard, they are now "doing their business!" It's huge! Plus, they're also getting the idea of being outside with their leashes, also good news! AND (drum roll please....) the Invisible Fence people have agreed to come to the house and train both pups for me! That means that I don't have to go outside and walk around the entire perimeter of our acreage to train them, in the cold! Yahoo!!! They are going to be coming next week. So, things in the puppy world are pretty darn good right now.

On the flip side, I went to the vet's tonight to pick up Charlie's ashes. Boy, we miss him. We're glad he isn't in any more pain, and that he is with Oscar, but boy we miss him.

Topic change! We are having our annual open house this Saturday! We invite just about everyone we know (and if you are reading this and you didn't get an invite, consider this your invite!) to come by and have some goodies and visit. People can come anytime between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. No, that is not a typo! Rod's mom did this for 25+ years at their home in Lincoln. When she felt that she couldn't do it any more, we decided that we would pick up the tradition! Rod's mom and dad were our greeters! It was fabulous! Then when his mom passed away, his dad became the greeter. Last year, after Bud passed away, we had some friends volunteer. I'm thinking maybe I'll be the greeter with Asa and Haver this year!!

Thanks for reading.

Ok people, you can start relaxing...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rod's idea with using the training collars and the retractable leashes works beautifully! I've taken the puppies outside three different times today and all I had to do was walk around with them and get them unstuck from bushes or each other a couple of times! Right now they are taking a nap and I'm very, very seriously thinking of doing the same thing!

I really appreciate your concern and your lectures. I honestly needed them. I get a "little stubborn" sometimes and it helps to be reminded that I need to take care of myself also. Although, having these balls of love is taking care of myself, it's just getting that whole balance issue taken care of. Ok, nap time!!

Thanks for reading.

I am very, very, very, very tired!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Asa and Haver now have only one thing in their minds when we take them out...running to the horse pasture to retrieve and eat horse poop! Eating the horse poop is bad enough, but the horses making the poop are very, very large and they live in the same area where their poop is located. So, the first time today I had to pick up Haver and carry him back to the house. Asa followed along just like it was the thing to do. The problem is that Haver weighs about 3 billion pounds. By the time I got back to the house, it took about two hours for me to be able to breath somewhat normally again and for my heart to get back to a more regular beating. When Rod took them out when he hot home, they made a bee-line to the "food bar!" This time the horses Doc and Dude took notice of them. They did manage to scare Asa and Haver out of the back pasture but then the dogs just went into the front pasture and dined on the "outdated treats!" So, my brilliant husband in a moment of brilliance ran up to the store and got some training colors and retractable leashes! He tried it once tonight. They weren't very happy,but they did do their business and didn't need a breath mint when it was time to come in! Whish us luck! My lungs are killing me.:=}

Thanks for reading.

Crap! It's already 10:00 pm!

Monday, December 10, 2007
I'm going to have to try this again tomorrow! Sorry! I can tell you that Asa has discovered horse poop and he loves to "retrieve it!"


I'm too old to be a new mother!

Sunday, December 9, 2007
It is 9:15, the puppies are sleeping, actually, Rod is almost asleep on the couch also, and I'm going to go mix my Flolan so I can go to sleep! I'll write more tomorrow and even add a picture or two. I'm not really complaining. They really are so very, very cute and so very, very good! The only problem I'm having is that they're not really good at steps yet and there are two to go outside to "do their business" and then the same two to come back in. So, I'm having to lift them a bit. Did I tell you that they weigh over 30 pounds? But, they are getting better. We are so very happy to have these guys!
Thanks for reading.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Asa and Haver Markin! Asa is on the left. He is a little lighter color and a bit lighter- weight wise. He probably weighs about 32 pounds. Haver (prounounced haa-vair) is a bit darker and weighs about 35 pounds. They are brothers who were born on August 29th, 2007 somewhere in Nebraska. (They told us and I can't remember....maybe Spencer?) We were trying to figure out some perfect names. We talked about focusing on one of the places we've visited on our trips. I got on the internet and found some favorite dog names from different countries. We really enjoyed out trip to Israel and so I checked out those names. That's where we got their names. Asa means "healer" and Haver means "friend."

So, you may be asking yourself how all of this excitement came about. We have really been missing Charlie. Instead of getting easier, everyday seemed to get harder. So, we decided last night that we really needed a dog. We also decided it would be best to get two again. So, on the way the the Pathology Christmas party last night, we stopped at the humane society. We found 4 labs. I spent the rest of the night trying to explain to Rod why 4 dogs was too many! Anyway, I called the Humane Society this morning to ask about the adoption rules. I was told that you can only adopt one pet at a time, unless the dogs were already together. There was a 30 day waiting period between adoptions. So, that idea didn't work. Then we thought about Tully's Kennels here in Omaha. We got Charlie and Oscar from Tully's and were very pleased with their facilities and of course, we loved Oscar and Charlie. So, we went there and checked things out. They had quite a few lab puppies, mostly chocolate and black. Then, the lady who sold us Oscar and Charlie ten years ago, told us about three older yellow labs, a sister and two brothers. They were a bit older and were living in the larger kennels and were already working on being house-trained. So, we asked to see the brothers and within an hour we were driving home with the new Markin brothers!

I'm worried that I might be too old to be a mother! Haver has already figured out how to climb over the baby gate that we have blocking off the laundry room from the kitchen! But, Rod is so very happy, as you can tell by the next picture. I'm just planning on resting as much as I can when he is home and things will be fine. If worse comes to worse, I'll just shut the door to the laundry room and have them sit on my lap one at a time. In fact, Asa seems happiest when He's on my lap or when I am scratching him.

Well, I've got to find something to eat. I just wanted to share the good news!
Thanks for reading!

A quick check-in

Friday, December 7, 2007
It's 10:45 pm and I need to get to bed. We had the UNMC Pathology Holiday party tonight and I didn't want to go to bed without doing a quick post.

Here's my quick post.

"A Quick Post"

Thanks for reading! (what little there was! :0 )

Another Winter Wonderland!

Thursday, December 6, 2007
It was such a great day to "hunker down" at home, put out some Christmas decorations and read! Omaha received about 4 1/2 to 5 inches of snow today! It was beautiful! Life has been very surreal today. I was just getting use (sort of) to not having Charlie around and then the mall killings happened yesterday. I forced myself to shut the TV off a couple of times and turn on some Christmas music. I either let my mind focus (which can sometimes be a tall order for people with PH, am I right phriends? :0 )on decorating or reading my new book by Alex Kava. Granted, she writes a pretty creepy murder mystery, but I know it's fiction. Reading has always been a solace for me when life gets a little too intense....well, reading and eating ice cream!!!! :)

I did get to have a very, very delicious dinner tonight! A friend that I used to teach with made Rod and I a roast with potatoes, onions and carrots! It was amazingly delicious! I have to admit though, the best part of it was when it was delivered. The doorbell rang, and here on my front porch was my former first grade student and now graduate of the Annapolis Naval Academy! He ran our dinner all the way up the driveway from the street so his Dad wouldn't get stuck in our snowy driveway! Plus, I got a HUG!! It was a wonderful surprise! I had no idea he was in town visiting!

So, decorating, reading, eating a delicious home-made dinner and a hug from a former student. I would call this a GOOD DAY!

Thanks for reading!


A Horrific Day for Omaha!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007
As many of you know, there was a horrible shooting in Omaha this afternoon. Some troubled 19 year old kid stole a shotgun from his step-dad and walked into the Von Maur store at the Westroads Mall and began shooting. He randomly shot 14 people, 9 of those at the time of this posting have died. There have be no reports of who these victims are. It is believed that some of them were employees of Von Maur and the others were customers. After the kid killed all of these people, he turned the gun on himself and died.

We are ok. My sister was up from Lincoln and we had just had lunch and we were on our way to that mall to shop. It was about 1:20. Then she remembered that she had to get back to Lincoln by 3:00 for a meeting so we went to Target instead. The shooting started at 1:45. We would have been there. It is just overwhelming to think about what has happened here. The kid left a couple of suicide notes. In one of the notes, the kid mentioned that he wanted to "go out famous."

I'm fine. My sister is fine. Rod was out of town but is now back. Nick is working at the hospital and Chris is in Chicago. I greatly appreciate the phone calls and emails that I received from friends and phriends outside of the Omhaha area.

Please pray for the victims, the shooter, those who witnessed this horrible event and for all of the friends and families who have been touched by this tragedy.

Hug your families tonight.

much love

Just a quick hello!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007
I really need to mix my Flolan and get to bed. But, I didn't want to worry anyone and I didn't want to not fulfill my promise to Jacque's memory by not writing today. So, hello! I'm fine. The day has just gotten away from me! Take care and have a good night!
Thanks for reading!

I'm afraid that this is going to be a boring post!

Monday, December 3, 2007
You might want to grab some coffee to stay awake!
1. I woke up.
2. I took a shower.
3. I cleaned my site and changed my dressing for my central line which is how my Flolan gets into my heart.
4. I got dressed.
5. I blew my hair dry.
6. I went downstairs. The elevator is broken. :(
7. I let Veronica, the cleaning lady and her brother and her mother into the house.
8. I had some toast.
9. I loaded the dishwasher.
10.I affixed wrestling medals into shadow boxes to hang on Chris' walls.
11.I filed some papers.
12.I started the next Alex Kava novel, "A Necessary Evil."
13.I read my lesson for bible study.
14.I picked up delicious Santa sugar cookies for treats for bible study from a friends daughter. If you need some delicious treats check out: petalsandpastries.com
15.I cooked a meatloaf for dinner.
16.I ate some meatloaf and bread for dinner.
17.I went to bible study.
18.I ate two cookies. :)
19.I came home and mixed my Flolan, switched my pump and took my oral drugs.
20.I "blogged" and "exciting" entry.
21.I went to bed.

Thanks for reading the most exciting blog posting that I have ever done!

Nice, quiet day!

Sunday, December 2, 2007
We got up early to try to get to church on time. But, we didn't see the horses in the front pasture and we needed to check on them. Last night when we went to feed them (feeding the horses was always a chore that Rod and Charlie did...so I've taken over for Charlie for awhile to help distract Rod) we couldn't find them. Rod started looking around and discovered that they had gotten into one of the extra stalls where we keep their sweet feed! Rod thinks he forgot to latch the 1/2 door. They pushed it open, came into the stall and TOOK THE LID OFF OF THE CONTAINER!! They managed to eat at least 1/3 of a 40 gallon container! Anyway, Rod couldn't find them last night and assumed they were in the back pasture sleeping of their grain binge! But, when we didn't see them this morning, we wanted to make sure they were ok. So, before we headed off to church we stopped over at the barn to look for them. They were both there, standing in the back with their butts to the wind, looking a little tired. I have a feeling they might have had a late night, maybe with stomach aches!!

Anyway, we headed off to church (now our usual 10 minutes late!). After church we met up with Nick at the Village Inn for some brunch. Nick came over to the house after brunch and took a much-needed nap while Rod worked on some little projects around the house. I spent a good part of the day trying to finish up my latest book, Alex Kava's "One False Move."

Rod cooked some salmon and rice for dinner, we watched some football and called it a day.

Not too exciting, but also a very pleasant day.

Thanks for reading.

Winter Wonderland!

Saturday, December 1, 2007
I thought you might like to see what a "mild" ice storm looks like in Omaha! This is one of the lilac bushes in our front yard.

I also wanted to share a special gift that I received from a special friend. Yesterday afternoon the doorbell rang and at my door was a floral delivery lady. She handed me a beautiful poinsettia plant with a Willow Tree angel tucked in among the leaves. It's called, "The Angel of Friendship."

Rod summed it up when he came home and saw the plant and the figurine when he said, "We really have some amazing friends, don't we?"

Thanks for reading, my amazing friends.