Start of the Boston Marathon

Twenty-six miles is a long way to run. And it’s not just the miles you pound the day of the marathon, but the hundreds of miles you travel in preparation. The thousands of miles I have run preparing for the last few marathons is nothing compared to the medical marathon my mom, Sandra Fowler, has traveled over the years.

A brief overview of my mom’s history:

  • experienced her first migraine at 25
  • suffered her first stroke at 26, when my brother was only months old
  • her rare case of carotid arterial dissection was researched and investigated by top doctors at St. Luke’s Medical center in Houston as well as in San Francisco
  • she was spared experimental (and later what was discovered to be detrimental) procedure
  • suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage secondary to aneurysm in 1991
  • her case was again, so unusual—and so positive—doctors presented a paper on her case
  • not once, but twice, had to relearn how to swallow, walk, talk and speak
  • suffered acute onset hydrocephalus as a result of the hemorrhage and had to have a shunt installed
  • since 1991 has managed chronic pain as a result of life-saving procedures
  • was used a lead case example of pain management by internationally renowned pain doctor
  • in 2009/2010 diagnosed with “sagging brain” as a result of dysfunctional shunt
  • successfully had shunt removed March 10, 2010

Despite all of her medical battles, over the last 30 years she has successfully been an incredible wife, an amazing mom, a great friend, an inspiring aunt, an excited new grandmother and, oh by the way, managed to secure a PhD in neuropsychology and is now a California licensed clinical neuropsychologist!

Tomorrow when I run the Boston Marathon, I run in honor of her, and the support team that has helped her make it through all of this.

I run for my dad, my brother, my grandparents, my aunts, uncles and cousins who have all been supportive. I run for the doctors, nurses, and medical teams who have saved my mom’s life and I run for my colleagues, friends, and other family members who have been affected by stroke. Each mile has a dedication and my mile markers will be:

Mile Markers:

1 My mom—she started it all 🙂

2 My dad

3 My brother

4 The doctors and medical team including: Jack Alpert, John Burdine, Jerry Marlin, Andrew Cole, Steve Stratton, Greg Albers, Harold Crasilneck, Clay Johnston, Michael McDermott

5 In memory of my grandfather, Leon Fowler

6 In memory of Gloria Diamore Morrison, my colleague, Samantha Morrison’s mother

7 Holly and Ed Kimball

8 My grandmother, Beryl Compton

9 My coaches over the years, especially Mike and Troy

10 My great colleagues at Pathfinder International

11 My grandmother, Nancy Fowler

12 In memory of my grandfather, John Compton

13 My incredible extended family

14 My wonderful nieces Holly and Peyton

15 All of my wonderful friends who have been so supportive

16 Every single person who donated!

17 My uncle, John Weissert, who will be at 17/18 tomorrow!

18 My aunt, Julie Weissert

19 My amazing girlfriends Lauren, Caitlin, Jen, Sara, Ash, Kel, Erica, Maeghan, Nancy, Mic, and more 🙂

20 Ditto

21 Ditto because these are the toughest miles and you ladies are the best

22 Christine Ryan

23 The millions who are affected by stroke every year

24 Jon, who needs to words 🙂

25 My dad, who is always there during the difficult moments to help lend a smile

26 My mom, who has overcome everything in her way—watch out finish line!

Tomorrow will be a special day and hopefully at the end, we’ll be a few steps closer to eliminating stroke for good. Till then, I’ll keep on running.

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