Monkey Business

She arrived on a wintry Saturday morning, her water broken and the first contraction pains just beginning to mount. Due to circumstance it would be many hours before we met: by then she would be in fulminant labor, our opportunity to establish rapport now limited by time, discomfort, her broken English and my total lack of Mandarin.

As is my custom when meeting new patients, I asked for questions, concerns and hopes. This couple met my inquiry with the familiar wide-eyed stare of first time parents-to-be. But their answer was as earnest as it was unique: could I please deliver their baby before midnight? For then it could be born under the Sign of the Monkey, whose long and apparently lucky celestial reign would come to an end in a few short hours.

Whether through divine or medical intervention, she went on to deliver at 11:53pm. With the help of Google translate - and in our broken but best Mandarin - the nurses and I wished them a Happy New Year as their lucky little girl made her entrance.

But as I handed them their tiny screaming pink reveler, I couldn’t help but think about how ready I was for the reign of our monkey to end.

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ASK Fun Walk and 5K 2017

We're back! Team Callen is on board for the upcoming ASK Fun Walk & 5K on Saturday, April 22 at 9:00 a.m. We have our team all set up and we hope you'll join us!

The ASK Fun Walk & 5K celebrates the strength and courage of local children who are battling cancer. Every dollar raised will provide children and their families with assistance, support and kindness through the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation.

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Spin Cycle

Sitting still has never been my forte. For that matter, neither has been moving at the speed of “normal” - whatever that is. When I was Callen’s age, my dad used to joke about my ability to play the Minute Waltz in 30 seconds. Because even as a six year-old I had the keen sense that there were things to do, places to go and people to see. So why would I take a full sixty seconds to do what could easily be accomplished in half that time?

Much to my father’s (and anyone else who shared my orbit) dismay, aging didn’t mellow me. Somewhere between kinetic and frenetic, my energy level was often my most visible personality trait. Had ADHD been a “thing” in the ‘70s and ‘80s, it most certainly would have been my “thing”. But it wasn’t – and so, thankfully, I was allowed to bop, zoom, flit and- yes, occasionally flounder - through life with labels no more pejorative than “rambunctious”, “feisty”, “ambitious” and “spirited” attached to my persona. And this was all before discovering that first delicious drop of caffeine to (jet)fuel my drive.

So this is who I am. Or was. And would likely have continued to be - rather easily and unashamedly so, I might add – if not for Callen’s cancer. So for what is to follow, I feel the need to apologize. Because I don’t want to admit this: not to myself, and certainly not to others. And I don’t want to be judged: not by myself, and definitely not by others. And most importantly, I don’t want to make this about me. But truth be told - which is all I’ve ever tried to do in this space - these past few months have damn near been the death of me. And circumstances being what they are, trust me when I say that I do not use words like that lightly. Or even euphemistically.

But being static is exhausting. Going nowhere is excruciating. Doing the same thing every day and hoping for a different outcome – well, that’s the textbook definition of insanity!

And I just couldn’t take it anymore.

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TeamCallen Goes Gold!

TeamCallen wants to raise the bar on childhood cancer awareness and advocacy, and what better time to do that than during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month?! Those of us who are family and friends continually witness the incredible strength, perseverance and love that the Tyson family and other families battling childhood cancers display day in and day out, and at the same time we wonder what we can do to REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE. How can we move the needle on battling childhood cancers?

Our answer is this: The Inaugural ‘TeamCallen Goes Gold!’ event. What is that? Well, TeamCallen is partnering with Ravenchase Adventures in RVA to host an adventure that is part National Treasure hunt, part Amazing Race, and part Escape Room challenge. TeamCallen wants to see children, youth, teens, and families coming out to fight for other children, youth and teens battling cancers along side of their amazing families.

9/10/16 UPDATE: We have some exciting additions to our event! Carytown Burger and Fries has partnered with us and will be at the finish line with its food truck to feed hungry scavengers. Carytown Burger will further support this event by making a donation to Connor's Heroes Foundation. And for those of you looking for something sweet, the Baking Divas Cheesecakes will also be on site serving up some delicious desserts.

When is this? On Sunday, September 25, from 11-1, we want to paint the town GOLD by taking part in this team challenge adventure and supporting an end to childhood cancers. Funds raised will go to support childhood cancer research and local families.

Registration is happening NOW! Just click on the URL below, and that will take you to the information and registration form. For this inaugural event, we are going low tech (but HIGH energy) and asking for folks to print the form and mail in registration and payment.


Download registration here!

We want to see downtown RVA in GOLD on September 25. Will you be there with us?!?!

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