Saturday, May 21, 2011

you go, Marissa!

Marissa Parks is celebrating her very own special day: Marissa Parks Day, officially May 21 in the great state of Georgia. I've written about Marissa before; she's a young lady in her mid-20s who was diagnosed with GBM a few months ago. She's chosen to live her life to the fullest extent possible, and from what I hear from her father, she's a bundle of energy, fiercely independent, and a woman with goals. One of them, at the moment, is for her to participate in an upcoming walk to raise awareness about brain cancer. Marissa and her dad are both amazing fundraisers and boosters; I could learn a thing or two from them.

Marissa has chosen to stick with the good docs at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. As she notes in her latest blog post, she'll be undergoing a second surgery-- it sounds as if she'll finally be having the "debulking" that was denied her at the outset. It's unclear whether this will be a partial or full debulking... then again, no surgery ever removes 100% of the cancerous tissue: GBM tumors tend to be "fuzzy" at the edges, which is why it's dangerous to try to remove them completely: a surgeon risks taking out functional brain tissue as well.

I've had exchanges with Marissa's intrepid father, Brad, on several occasions. For privacy's sake, I don't want to comment here on what we've said to each other over the phone and via email, but I think Marissa's lucky to have such a father: he's proactive, decisive, aggressively inquisitive, and very much in his daughter's corner. One thing Brad and I agree on is that no one knows when their time will be up. In that sense, cancer or not, we're all in the same boat. There's no harm in wanting to live as full a life as possible, and Marissa's doing just that. I admire her attitude, and her dad is very proud of her.

My hat is off to the whole Parks family, as well as to Marissa's wonderful friends, who provide her with so much support.

Happy Marissa Parks Day! (Someone needs to write a Wikipedia entry about you, M!)


Monday, May 16, 2011

official weigh-in

After one week on the Atkins Diet, I've gone from 296 pounds to 291.3 pounds. That may simply be what folks colloquially refer to as "water weight," but at least it's something. As mentioned before, there seems to have been little or no ketosis (the strip did change color, ever so slightly, when I peed on it), but it may be that ketosis, for me, may take longer than it does for others.

I haven't started exercising yet, and don't plan to start until after the induction period is over. There ought to be more weight loss once I begin walking and lifting (the apartment complex has a gym that I haven't used even once since moving in). Keep those fingers and tentacles crossed.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

stay tuned

Upcoming posts in the "lessons learned" series include:

7. tents versus bivy sacks (and how not to lose your damn tent)
8. traffic, narrow road shoulders, and me
9. weight, conditioning, and knees
10. shoes, blisters, and weather
11. food, drink, peeing, and pooping while on the road
12. protection from the sun, wind, rain, and cold
13. whether REI is just for elites/snobs with money