Tom’s Top Five Memorable Days of 2011

January 1

New Year’ Day saw a change in how I would approach New Year resolutions. I had spent four months researching and building a wellness vision. The more I found out about how a wellness vision worked, the more I was convinced that it was for me.

As part of this new vision, I made the decision to refocus this blog to talk about wellness topics. My blogging would become a means by which I would support my personal wellness. The good news is that it worked. I used the vision as a roadmap to complete my goals this year. I often exceeded the goals.

June 25

On June 25, I pedaled east from Pittsburgh heading to Washington D.C. with my friend Chuck Gough. This eight-day bicycle ride was without a doubt the most challenging thing I have ever undertaken. After almost 300 miles, Chuck and I cycled into Georgetown late on July 1. It was a week of accomplishment and discovery.

To say I was nervous on the morning of the 25th would have been an understatement. As we left the Eat ‘n Park parking lot, I wondered if I really could ride that distance given that my typical ride is 25-30 miles. It turned out that each day presented a new challenge that Chuck and I overcame. The mileage was very doable and passed quickly. This tour taught me that I am up to future cycling tours and other challenges.

August 14

This was my second year in cycling in the Bike MS Pedal to the Point ride from Middleburg Heights to Sandusky and back. Sunday August 14 was the 2nd day when we were returning to Cleveland. The feel of this ride is different on day 2. Cyclists are mostly serious road cyclists and a sprinkling of amateur cyclists who ride for the cause and the fun of it. We lost our race against the approaching rain at lunch when rain descended on us and followed us for the remaining 40 miles.

I was determined that rain would not stop me. The Pedal to the Point organization and volunteers kept me going. They were out there at every rest break. Even more inspiring were families of MS patients who sat in the rain and cheered cyclists on. The MS organization, volunteers, and families made me see how valuable this ride is to them and their cause. It is now as valuable to me.

September 16

On this pleasant Friday, I was the subject of a five-hour video and photo shoot session at many locations. I participated in three additional video sessions over the month with my surgeon, nutritionist, bicycle club and weight loss surgery support group. Summa Health Systems had selected me to be the subject of an upcoming advertising campaign for their Bariatric Center and was telling my story in these videos and photo sessions.

It is an honor to be the subject of an advertizing campaign. I never pictured myself as being in this position since my weight loss is less than many other patients at the bariatric center. Summa wove together my love of cycling and my weight loss story into a nice video. I believe this campaign will start in late winter with the video posted on the Summa Bariatric Center website and the print ad to run in local newspapers.

November 22

In late October, I followed a tweet to Summa Flourish, a women’s health blog from Summa Health System. I came upon a two part (part 1, part 2) guest blog by Jone’ Carpenter, a cancer survivor. The posts spoke of her determination to battle her disease in a very upbeat and positive manner. I contacted Jone’ and asked her to speak at my weight loss support group.

She agreed and on November 22 delivered a presentation that really hit home with me. Although I am not a cancer survivor, she spoke from the heart on how she used her running as an integral part of her recovery. She relied on friends and family, surrounded herself with positive people, and shed herself of negative people and thoughts. What great advice. Thank you Jone’ for teaching me some important life lessons.

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