Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One Year and Still Here

I just wanted to take this opportunity to give a shout out 'thank you' to everyone in my life. I have been so amazingly blessed to have such an incredible support system around me that includes friends, family, co-workers, neighbors and people that I don't even know but still pray for and support me. I don't know what I have done to receive such love, but I guess that's a good thing because I also don't know how to screw it all up and lose all of that support. Today marks my one year anniversary since I was operated on to receive a new liver, and I think about this miracle every day. I haven't totally figured out why Megan and I have been tested so much recently, but we thank God every day for all of the people we have in our lives that make life so good. I am especially grateful for Megan and her unbelievable heart. Megan blesses the lives of others everywhere she goes and leaves joy and happiness with everyone when she leaves. I am so lucky to have her in my life forever, and her support has blessed me and strengthened me greatly. It's too bad for the rest of you that you don't get to have her as much as I do, but I got her first so deal with that! Anyway, I just want to thank everyone who has helped me be me - not only during this past year, but always. It feels good to look back on where I was a year ago and think about all of the events that have taken me to where I am today. This last year has given Megan and I some difficult times, but we've loved it... I guess I shouldn't speak for Megan - I've loved it. Actually just today I mentioned to Megan how I thought our first trip to the hospital back in mid-April last year was "fun" and she just said, "Fun?" It was fun though, for me. I guess my bed was more comfortable than hers. It was a good learning experience, just as this whole past couple of years have been, and learning is fun, even when it's hard. It also feels good to read back through these blogs and emails and letters and everything that you've all sent us, and realize just how good the people in our lives are. I love you all. I just hope that The Lord will bless everyone who has helped me to know that prayers work, that God is real, and I'm walking proof of that today, and will be for a long, long time. So here's to many more years!
Peace and love.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Just Keep Running!

We did it! What did we do you ask?! Alec and I ran the marathon and 1/2 marathon together! It all started with a once in a lifetime achievement of me waking up @ 5:00 a.m.! (those who know me are probably shocked and extremely proud of this accomplishment in and of itself, I know I am!).

April has become a very special month for us. We started dating in April, Alec recieved his Liver Transplant in April, and now we finished our first big race in April. The marathon was on April 17th, 2010, which was a significant date since Alec was first called into the Hospital for a possible transplant, on that day a year ago. We REALLY had something to run for, the gift of life that Alec's organ donor gave us. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We just wanted to document a few things about this wonderful experience. Our favorite part of this process was being among the 11,000 runners (all of whom I know had a special reason to run). We were smack dab in the middle and it was a beautiful and overwhelming site to look ahead and behind us at all of the runners.

We turned down 21st south and glanced back to notice the morning sun creating a little halo over all of the runner's heads. We both got a little emotional looking at this site, and after holding hands for a brief moment we seperated at mile 5 when the half marathon and marathon split. I have to admit it was a little difficult at first not running side by side with my sweetheart but it gave me strength knowing that I was the one running the 13 miles and not 26! What a relief!
Alec enjoyed the whole experience but also admits that the uphill stretch from 900 S to South Temple (mile 12 for half, mile 25 for full) along State Street is more of a death march than a section of marathon. I often refer to that section as "the beast." We both ran about an 8'13" mile for the first 9 miles, both got a little slower in the middle, and finished strong. I loved finishing strong with a 6'10" mile (believe me, this time surprised me!) and Alec finished with a 7'20 mile only to be greeted by my loving and supportive in-laws at the finish line.

After a brief celebration of my finish I was able to go back with the fam to find and run along side Alec for about a mile. A little later in the race his sweet lil sis Micah sprinted to give him a banana. Alec is absolutely amazing!! He considers mile 22 "the wall" and it was the perfect time for us to greet him and cheer him along. His motivation and strength came from the amazing support from friends, family and loved ones, especially his DONOR. As soon as he finished "the beast" it was all adrenaline from there. I waited right before the gateway entrance to run along side of him to sort of finish our little journey together, snapping pictures and filming his finish. After a quick flashing of his scar, he said to me, "I'm outta here." He bolted to the finish line not once looking back. I was teary-eyed watching him step over the finish line. What an accomplishment for the both of us, but especially him. The events of the past year all came together in a second as it donned on me that we accomplished so many things together in our young married life. The Rampton family hugged and congratulated him and I just started to bawl. "I'm so proud of you, I'm so proud of you!" were the words I muttered over and over while nestled into his shoulder.

He is my hero! I am excited to say that there is a little news column about his transplant and marathon experience in the Deseret News today. I am thrilled to have this experience documented in the paper because I wish we had known a little bit more about the transplant process and success stories. Hopefully this article can provide peace, comfort and education to those who need it. I am also eager to one day show our little kids that article and tell them that their daddy is superman. We are fortunate for such a positive outcome and realize that it isn't always so. We feel a deeper sense of compassion towards others and their own personal trials no matter how big or small. All in all, Alec just wants everyone to know how important Organ donation is. He is a walking miracle today, and ONLY accomplished this marathon because of someone's decision to be an organ donor. We have never met the donor family, but sincerely pray that they are aware that their loss wasn't in vain. We will eternally be grateful for this gift. To Alec's donor: I will always love you. I can't ever look at Alec without thinking of you. We have many years to look forward to together because of you. We will think of you always, but especially in the springtime, when everything comes to life . . again.
xoxo Megan and Alec

Before in April of '09 and now after April '10

Alec's race to the finish