Donate $25 to CCFA, get an AWESOME painting!

Want to take these paintings home with you?

Make an online donation of $25 or more at http://bit.ly/kantvegas before 5 p.m. Wednesday, November 16 and one of these paintings is yours.

Make sure you specify in the “Would you like to post a comment to this person’s webpage? If so, please enter your comment here:” section which painting you would like.

Thank you for helping me fight Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis!

Patty’s Story

When people ask me why I raise money for CCFA, I tell them it’s for my family – my late grandmother, my godmother and my uncle. But I also do it for everyone I have met through the CCFA and Team Challenge. One of these people is my friend Patty. Here is her story, which she shared with us last year. She is also one of Team Wisconsin’s honored heroes this season.

In high school, I struggled with weight loss, feeling lethargic, and the plethora of other problems that come with undiagnosed ulcerative colitis. I was subjected to some treatments that rendered me less likely to continue looking for what might have actually been wrong with me.

When I started college, at age 18, I couldn’t take the pain any longer. I found a doctor to help me. Unfortunately, I didn’t take my own disease seriously. I often skipped years between colonoscopies and only took my medication when I had an outbreak. For 22 years, when I fell out of remission, I fell hard. Each colonoscopy showed severe, active colitis. Last year, I struggled to function like a healthy woman should. I knew I had another outbreak of colitis and this one really scared me because the effects caused me to miss days from work, miss holidays with family, and miss out on moments with my daughter.

I went to the doctor, and he very seriously told me the facts. Because of my years with active, severe ulcerative colitis, the likelihood of colon cancer went up significantly. We could not get the colitis under control this time, and his recommendation was to have my large intestine removed completely. I was devastated and depressed. I know people CAN exist without a colon, but I didn’t want to. I know people CAN survive colon cancer, but the thought petrified me. I immediately changed my diet and my habits. I finally got serious about my disease, but was I too late?

Spring of last year, I met with a surgeon and discussed the procedure. I met with a nurse to discuss how I was going to live without a colon. I met with my boss to discuss the post-surgical ramifications. I met with my family to discuss how our lives were going to change.

Then came the colonoscopy. I went in feeling sure that he was going to come out telling me that my colon was a goner. I was hoping it would not result in a cancer diagnosis, but all of the literature and website facts seemed against me. I received a phone call. My doctor wanted to see me as soon as I could get in. I went immediately. My face was so long and sullen. My doctor’s face was not! Not only had my colonoscopy showed improvement, but my body reversed itself to mild colitis-no cancer!

Everything changed that day. My doctor consulted other doctors and the recommendation changed. The surgery was cancelled, my diet changed, my medications changed, and right now I am in remission. I feel better than I have ever felt in my life. Because of research done, I was able to change my regiment and therefore, change the ulcerative colitis. I also have to add, because I really do admire him, that my doctor was willing to listen to my needs and willing to admit that he needed to consult with other medical professionals before my colon was removed.

Mary, Me and Patty during the Napa to Sonoma half marathon.

Donate now to help me help people like Patty and all others who suffer from Colitis and Crohn’s.

Green Bay Packers Family Fun Night

Are you a fan of the World Champion Green Bay Packers? Now that the lockout is over, your first chance to see the Green and Gold at Lambeau field since they won the Super Bowl is THIS SATURDAY for Packers Family Fun Night (@Lambeau Field, 5:30 p.m. Saturday, August 6th).

Guess what? I have a pair of tickets to the event. You see where this is going.

For every $25 donation between 1:30 p.m.Thursday Aug. 4 and 5 p.m. Friday Aug. 5 you will be entered to win this pair of tickets plus cash for parking ($5).

The seats are on the 40 yard line, in Section 121, Row 16, Seats 3-4. So, they’re pretty good seats. And you’ll get to see Aaron Rodgers. And Clay Matthews. And Donald Driver. Do I need to go on?

All you have to do is donate online. Or, if you’re in the Shorewood area tonight, I’ll be selling tickets at Performance Running Outfitters on Oakland.

I will close this raffle at a total of 50 tickets sold, and will update this page as donations/raffle ticket purchases come in. So you have a 1 in 50 chance of winning this awesome pair of tickets! You must be in the Milwaukee area. When I pick the winner (drawn at random), we will arrange a drop off for the tickets.

It’s official – Rock n Roll Las Vegas BABY

It’s official! I’m going to be a mentor for Team Challenge Wisconsin and raise money to kick Crohn’s and Colitis to the curb – again!

I’m sure you’ll get annoyed by my tweets, Facebook posts, emails and blog posts, but you can get me to shut up by donating today!

And, if you’ve ever considered running a half marathon, please let me know! We’re looking for you to run with Team Challenge! Watch this video below and try to tell me you DON’T want to run this race. You know it’s not possible, right?

Bondi Band for Charity!

Slow, it's the new fast! Pink ink on yellow, black, white, green, purple, grey OR white ink on navy, blue, yellow, maroon, orange, black, green

I’m now selling Bondi Bands to raise money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Yes, that’s right, I’ve joined Team Challenge – again!

If you would like to support a great cause AND get a killer addition to your workout wardrobe, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m selling the Bondi Bands for $8 each or two for $15. Shipping in the U.S. is $3 for regular, $4.95 for flat rate shipping (your choice). I have a few payment options available – Paypal, personal check or cash.

Head on over to my Bondi Band page for more info!

 

Something’s different…

So, this happened:

What a fun Saturday! I got to hang out with my AWESOME stylist, Dawn, and get a killer hair do. I mean, really… look at that! I freaking love it. I was nervous about the colors being super annoying, but I think I can totally pull this look off!

Here’s the “Before”:

Here’s how the process went.

Step #1: remove color – aka BLEACH

Step #2: Wash and Dry – and look like a trashy hooker

Step #3: Prepare dyes (blue, orange and brownish red for all-over color)

Step #4: Process color (aka – get high as hell off the fumes)

Step #5: Wash and lightly shampoo out color

Step #6: Cut, blow dry and style

Then freakin’ rock your new ‘do!

Postscript:

Pardon my language:

But to the woman who actually STOPPED and started pointing and staring with a puzzled look on her face through the salon window on Mason St around 2pm today, please kindly fuck off.

Your behavior was rude, offensive and quite honestly, juvenile for someone your age. YES I have blue and orange streaks in my hair. I’m not a circus freak show. I did it for charity. If you wouldn’t have been so rude, maybe I could have told you how my wonderful stylist Dawn Albrecht donated her time, talents and dye to make my hair look pretty kick-ass… oh and the charity thing? I’ve raised almost $6500 this year for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. I’ve trained to run a half marathon – twice. I’m not some punk kid trying to rebel. So, the next time you see someone with “different” hair through the window at a salon, think twice before you stop, point, stare and look like an intolerant idiot.

Sincerely,
Amy

Today’s the day – my hair is going blue and orange for CCFA!

I can’t believe the day is finally here! In just over an hour, I’ll be sitting in my stylist’s chair, getting blue and orange highlights put in my hair to show my support and commitment to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. I’ll be honest, I’m super excited but also a bit nervous. Like, what happens when I go to work on Monday? What about church? Will people stare? Will people ask me why I have these colors in my hair? How long will it last? Will people think I’m – GASP – a Chicago Bears fan?

I really do hope people ask me why my hair is blue and orange. I will tell them the reason why – that I’m doing it to bring awareness to the diseases that have affected my loved ones. The friends I’ve made through my work with the CCFA. To find a cure.

I’m doing this because you all were so generous in your donations – together we raised $2520 for CCFA! Since I have already reached my goal, if you are interested in making a donation, I am asking you to consider donating instead to one of the fabulous members of my team:

It’s the final countdown…

Ok folks, I need to raise $280 in 4 days. That’s about $70 a day. Can you help me out? If I don’t raise the money, I have to pay the balance myself… and Monday’s my birthday. Please don’t make me use my rent money to pay the balance.

All donations of $20+ made through November 16 will win a gift certificate to The Establishment Salon in Shorewood!

  • Donate $20 or more, get a $10 gift certificate*
  • Donate $40 or more, get a $20 gift certificate*
  • Donate $75 or more, get a $20 gift certificate & you are entered to win a $300 Aveda Shopping Spree @ The Establishment Salon

*limit of 1 gift certificate per donor, can not be combined with other offers

Blue & Orange Challenge

Ever wonder what I’d look like with streaks of orange and blue in my hair? Well here’s your chance. If we reach my goal fundraising amount – $2520by by 28th birthday on November 15 – I will have permanent orange and blue streaks dyed in my hair. My hairdresser, Dawn, has graciously agreed to donate her time and money to do the streaks.

And don’t forget, we’re Bowlin’ for the Colon tonight! Stop by and join the fun!

Courtney’s struggle with Ulcerative Colitis

You know I’m training for a half marathon. You know I’m raising money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. But do you know anything about Crohn’s or Colitis?

Meet my new friend, Courtney (second from the right above).  She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2006. She is one of my Team Challenge teammates. I asked her to share her story with all of you.

Please take the time to read about Courtney’s journey with colitis. If you are so inclined, please consider donating to the CCFA. You can make a difference, no matter what the size of your donation is.

I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in August 2006. I didn’t think too much of it at the time. What most concerned me was that my doctor said many people have to learn to make dietary changes, and he mentioned cheese as something some patients had to limit. I was appalled – “You mean even like cheese on tacos?!?” was my reply. I clearly had no clue what I was in for.

I maintained on my medications relatively symptom free until January 2008. Right at the start of spring semester, I went through a very serious flare up that eventually landed me in the hospital. I opted to go to a hospital in Kenosha near my family and the GI doctor I had been seeing. I was in the hospital for 10 days, and left in even worse condition having contracted a C Difficile infection on top of the UC flare. I saw my doctor a few times on an outpatient basis and he insisted I was getting better but it would be a “long road.” He was wrong.

At this point, I was barely able to walk (partially due to abdominal pain and partially due to my enormously swollen feet and ankles from the prednisone). I was taking around 25 different pills a day,
and I had dropped from a healthy 130 to 103 pounds. I had been unable to attend school or work for over a month. My father was getting frustrated and urged me to get a second opinion. He brought me
to Froedtert.

I will never forget the look on the GI doctor’s face when he saw me. He went completely white. I didn’t
see him again because when I came back from my X-Ray I was greeted by the surgical team. It was the
scariest moment of my life. Everyone who has UC knows that surgery is a possibility (and everyone who
has UC also knows this means ostomy, perhaps the scariest word in the English vocabulary to a 23 year
old female). I began to cry.

Little did I know, this doctor who was making me so angry was really just trying to save my life. He told
me I had toxic megacolon, and I needed emergency surgery to remove my colon. However, they needed
to get me hydrated and give me a blood transfusion before they could do the surgery, otherwise they
weren’t sure if I would make it. They scheduled me for the 8am slot the next day. Nobody wanted to
tell me at that point, but I was basically knocking on death’s door – had I waited much longer my colon
would have eventually burst and fatality was a real danger. I found out afterwards that I may have been
in the worst condition anyone there had ever seen.

Surgery for me gave me a new life. Yes, it was a long tough road, but I felt immediately better. Adjusting to life with an ostomy was hard at first (mentally and physically). Because I had been in particularly horrible condition, the construction of my jpouch had to be broken up into three surgeries over a 9 month period. I also tended to be a patient plagued with unexpected complications. Even today, I have to be on maintenance medications to treat recurrent pouchitis which my doctors think may be a by-product of the C Diff infections.

However, the ordeal has made me stronger. I am proud to say that even though the most difficult part of my illness occurred while I was in school I was able to stay on track with my program and graduate with my Master’s degree in Educational Psychology in May 2009. Despite small adjustments you have to make for living with a jpouch and pesky pouchitis flares (which, honestly, you may as well just have ulcerative colitis), I feel like myself again. I still have challenging days here and there, and I never know what the future will bring but, given all I’ve already been through, I do feel like I can handle just about anything. For me, this ½ marathon is extremely personal, and will make me feel like I have finally conquered the disease that kept me down for so long.

What is a j-pouch you ask?

A j-pouch is a surgical procedure that eliminates the need for an ostomy (external pouch) for patients
who’ve had their colon removed due to ulcerative colitis. When the colon is removed, the rectum is also
taken out because it is typically diseased as well. The surgeon then constructs a new “rectum” out of
the patient’s small intestine.

The surgery can be performed in two or three steps, depending on the health of the patient, and a
temporary ileostomy is necessary until the new plumbing is healed enough to operate. After the
operation, “j-pouchers” are able to pass stool through the *ehem*” usual route,” but because they lack
a colon, they have to use the restroom much more frequently than other people. In addition, there are
new dietary restrictions – generally, people with a j-pouch would want to avoid veggies and other high
fiber food as they take longer to digest, and well…. Let’s face it, we just don’t have as long as the rest of
you ;).

If Courtney can train to run a half marathon after all she’s been through, I can run a half marathon, too. Hell, we can ALL help out by giving generously.

Please help me raise $1283 in the next 9 days. Visit http://tinyurl.com/vegas10 to make your tax-deductible donation today. Can you spare $10?

Help me leave the craps in Vegas (and win a prize!)

I’m begging now…

I need your help. As you know, I am training for a half marathon (48 days!!!!) to raise money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

I’m asking for your help, both financially and in spreading the word. I know my e-mails/blogs/tweets/facebook/dailymile messages are out of control, but I’m totally freaking out. I have to raise $2520 and the clock is ticking down.

Currently, we have raised $1,073.39. I have 13 days to raise $1446.61 in order to meet my goal of raising $2520 by the end of October. That means I need to raise an average of $111.28 EACH DAY for the next 13 days.

And remember, if I hit my goal by the end of October, I’m getting blue and orange streaks put in my hair. My stylist already bought the dye, so don’t make me look like a fool.

What’s in it for me?

From now until Oct. 31 at 11:59 p.m., I will do one crunch for EVERY DOLLAR DONATED. Yep, you heard me right. Donate $1 and I’ll do one crunch. Donate $5, and I’ll do 5. Donate $13.1, and I’ll do 13ish. Donate $25 and I’ll do 25. You get the idea (and the answer is YES. If you donate $1446.61 I will do 1446ish crunches. My sister will verify. Hell, if you donate $1446.61, I’ll live stream it).

For every $25 you donate, you’ll be entered to win a $25 gift certificate to the store/restaurant of your choice.

What’s the big deal with Crohn’s and Colitis?

They’re quite literally shitty diseases.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are collectively known as inflammatory bowel diseases. Crohn’s disease is a chronic (ongoing) disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Although it can involve any area of the GI tract, it most commonly affects the small intestine and/or colon. Ulcerative colitis on the other hand, affects only the colon. The inflammation involves the entire rectum and extends up the colon in a continuous manner. There are no areas of normal intestine between the areas of diseased intestine. In contrast, such so-called “skip” areas may occur in Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis affects only the innermost lining of the colon, whereas Crohn’s disease can affect the entire thickness of the bowel wall.

I have three family members with either one or both of these diseases. When I was 20 years old, I had a colonoscopy because my doctors thought I, too, had Ulcerative Colitis. There is a strong possibility I could be diagnosed with the disease in the next 15 years (most people are diagnosed in their 30s). I already have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and am scared of the possibility of developing this crappy disease. I hope that if I am every diagnosed, there is already acure in place because I’ve seen first-hand how difficult it is to live with. And let’s be honest, I don’t want to have a raw ass for the rest of my life because of constant diarrhea.

Ok, I’m in. What should I do?

So, please donate today (http://tinyurl.com/vegas10) and/or tell your friends to donate. If 145 people each donate $10, I’ll hit my goal! C’mon interwebs, I know you know 145 people with $10 to spare.