Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chicago Half Marathon for NBTI

The early morning of May 16, 2010, we found ourselves in Chicago again to cheer Ted on as he ran a half marathon that benefitted Northwestern Brain Tumor Institute. Watching the runners come in from the 10K and the Half Marathon was amazing. I think I had a few tears. And just as Ted thought, we saw him at about the 2 hour mark. He ran by and hugged us and I was so proud of him. What a great thing to do and we helped him raise so much money for a place that truly saved Kenny's life. To those that donated - THANK YOU so much!!

We hung around this area while we waited for Ted to approach the finish line...

There's Ted - third person back in black.

And that was about the moment Ted was crossing the finish line...

Charlie finally decided to hold his sign.

Charlie and his buddy.

You are Number 1, Uncle Ted.

Kenny and I had voluteered to work at the NBTI tent and just after we got there, a man walked up in a stocking hat. He had obviously just run the race, but I knew he looked familiar. He introduced himself as a resident in Neurosurgery at Northwestern. My eyes got big and I said "we know you." He looked at me and then at Kenny and smiled as his eyes got big too. It was Dr. Smith. A wonderful guy, someone who Kenny loved to joke with and someone who was truly there to listen to us during our hospital experience.

Dr. Smith checked Kenny in on August 28, 2008, the night before his tumor was resected. When Kenny met him, he asked him if he was the Evil Dr. Smith from Lost in Space. Poor guy didn't know who that was. Kenny started explaining it to him and he probably thought Kenny was a little bit off, but really Kenny was being his usual funny self. That was one of those moments that week that I knew Kenny was really in there.

I know he was in the operating room with him at points during his surgery. I know that he is training with our awesome neurosurgeon. I HOPE someday he will be on staff at Northwestern.

He was there on the night of September 9, 2008, when we readmitted Kenny through the ER because of his CSF leak. I was sitting in the ER room by myself while they had Kenny up in CT. Dr. Smith walked in and said "I was hoping it wasn't you. What happened?" We talked about the leak and what would be done. He helped push things along so we could get out of the ER and up the the 9th floor. He let me stay in the NeuroICU room that night while they tried to do a bedside procedure to drain the fluid.

During that 12 day stay, he not only did the usual resident things, but also visited with me more that once, on slow afternoons, he would wander in to chat about life, ask about Charlie and see if we had questions about Kenny. He cared and he listened and I was always grateful for that. One thing that stuck with me was that he said "In a year, this will just seem like a bad dream." I was having a hard afternoon, missing my Charlie and just wanting to bring Kenny home.

When we saw him at the race, I was so grateful to be able to truly thank him for all that he did. He was surprised when Kenny and I told him we talk about him sometimes. He made an impact on our lives. He told Kenny that he really did look amazing and we reported on our recent news of the tumor shrinking. He was thrilled. I immediately remembered him telling me that this will all seem like a bad dream. It kind of did at that moment.

Kenny with Dr. Smith

A bit later we ran into the Gamma Knife nurses, Amy and Debbie, that helped us through that day, one year ago. They were awesome, loved seeing Charlie in person and loved hearing how well Kenny was doing.
(Side note: The next day we had a visit with Kenny's endocrinologist and she also commented about how far Kenny has come and how wonderful he is doing. It's SO nice to hear that from those people that saw him in the hospital, that know how bad it was and those that appreciate how normal life is now!)
On the way back to the car, we stopped at Millennium Park and took the classic Chicago shots...

Grammy and Charlie

Just the three of us

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