Beat the Winter Blues - Guest: Long Race 4 Tate

Please welcome my Sister Baby, Gretchen from LongRace4Tate to Beat the Winter Blues!  Gretchen is such an amazing inspiration to me,
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Winter blues have been a constant for most of my life. But this year I don't have the winter blues. Instead I have the baby blues. The "sick baby" blues to be precise.

My 22 month old Tate has a rare blood/bone marrow failure disorder called "severe congenital neutropenia." You would never know he had a chronic and incurable illness if you met him right now, but this past Sunday was a different story.
The little guy I started making hats for (with his dad and mine, and their Buckeye Helmet Hats!)
Could he be any cuter?!?!?!?!
Tate's condition means that he can't fight bacteria on his own - he doesn't produce the type of white blood cell that does the job. When Tate gets sick, which has been about every 4-6 weeks, it really knocks him (and his parents) out.

Last weekend he caught the virus for viral pneumonia, something you might have already caught and fought off this season thinking it was a common cold. Although Tate didn't get pneumonia of any kind this week, he got a fever of 104.5 and had to spend 48 hours in Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital. They tested every type of bodily fluid and pumped him antibiotics through an IV while we waited for the results and his exuberant personality to return.
We are fortunate once again that Tate's health rebounded quickly. Typically Tate recovers from and illness and then my husband and I have to recover. We go through the motions of work for however many days there are before the weekend, when we lay on the couch for 24 hours and watch TV while Tate jumps and plays with his toys on the floor in front of us. Which leads to us feeling guilty that we aren't enjoying Tate and making the most of his good health!

This time we handled our recovery things differently. My husband is training for his second half marathon, so I made sure to encourage him to run the morning after we returned home from the hospital. Although we probably eat healthier at the Cleveland Clinic than we do at home because they make it very difficult to eat junk, we had been sedentary for two days and there is nothing good about being forced to stay still while your heart and mind races with stress.
On the way home from the hospital I called my massage therapist and scheduled an appointment that evening (and yes, I do feel kind of jerky when I say "my"). I know from past experience that getting a good night's sleep after that kind of exhaustion is nearly impossible. When I got home, I packed my bag so that I could stop at the gym on my way home from work the following day). I am on week 2 of the Couch 2 5K program. Not only did I know that exercise would be beneficial, I'm running a 5K at the end of the 10-week program with two of my cousins, so I'm accountable. I know they didn't expect me to run this week but I didn't want to get behind and give myself anything to be stressed out about next week.
Besides completing the couch to 5K program this winter was my plan to beat both the winter blues as well as my "sick baby" blues. I have never made exercise a priority in my life. Since Tate's diagnosis I have felt the need to improve my health to set a good example for him as he grows up.

We also see running as a metaphor for Tate's life, inspiring our fundraiser the Long Race 4 Tate. Tate is in for a long race, so we've asked our friends and family to "sponsor" my husband in his races; we've asked friends and family to dedicate their races to Tate and recruit additional sponsors. All sponsorships are donations to a nonprofit dedicated to raising money for additional research - and one day a cure - for Tate's disorder.

www.LongRace4Tate.com is also a blog where I can update friends and family on Tate's condition as well as write about being Tate's mom. We're just getting started, but we're thrilled about the progress. We've already raised close to $5,000 and so far Tate's race is going to Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Portland and Boston!

Do I have a lot to be blue about this winter (and spring, summer and fall)? Yes. But I refuse to let this get the best of my son, my husband and me. We allow ourselves to have bad days, but we decided from the beginning we would not cope with this disease with tears and lethargy. This winter (and spring, summer and fall), we're running, fundraising and enjoying the healthy days to beat the blues.
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IronFish has joined the cause too with the Longest Race for Tate... the New York City Iron Man this August!
Peace be with you,
And, just for fun, here's an older picture of me and my sisters, they always know how to make me smile.  Enjoy your weekend folks!
Me, Baby Sister and Sister Baby

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