The Time has Come! Open Heart Surgery November 2009, NYC Marathon November 2010.

My wife and I, and one of our best friends Sal Merlino depart for Staten Island now, the starting point for the NYC Marathon.  We're meeting my surgeon Dr. Allan Stewart, who will be running with us.  I also found out Friday that my primary doctor Mark Singer is also running.  Mark is the doctor who after a routine physical; sent me for the stress test that diagnosed my aneurysm.

It's a year after my open heart surgery for the aortic aneurysm, and in a twist of fate I find that things have come full circle.  Coincidentally it was on or around this day last year (November 7) that Sal and Ali Merlino, my parents, my wife, and Dr. Stewart were all in the same building at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.  I, lying on a stretcher maxed out on morphine with tubes and wires coming out all over, and them at my bedside.  Who would have thought we would all be coming together a year later in the same great city to run a marathon?  It would have seemed silly, if not impossible at the time.

I set out on this mission today for a number of reasons, but at the deepest level I run out of true grit, and defiance of giving in and letting the open heart surgery get the best of me.  This has been about "living", not merely ticking away the minutes of a life in "existence".  It is an example of strength for my children to look back on, and remember the year of adversity that preceded the Marathon.  I run to spread the word about my book, and to create an awareness about aortic disease to save lives.  I run in memory of John Ritter whose passing has shown the importance of proper screening and preventative care of aortic disease. Focusing on this race has helped me heal, and I'm glad to be in the same company again a year later.

In an hour or so I'll be in Staten Island preparing to get through 26.2 miles.  I'm guessing that it will take me about four and a half hours or so to complete the race.  I suppose that's roughly the amount of time I spent with Dr. Stewart and Nicole by my side last year on the operating table.  As my mom says; what a difference a year makes.


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