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My First Princess Memories

February 26, 2012 was a day that changed my life! It was that day that I realized I was a runner. It was that day that I realized you can accomplish anything if you set the goal and work towards it.  It was that day that I realized that my MS diagnosis might not have been such a bad thing.

I woke up at 3am and headed onto a bus with many other princesses to run my first half marathon.  I had trained well enough and run fast enough to warrant a Corral A start position and waited in the freezing cold with lots of other veteran runners.  I was terrified and could only imagine finally crossing that finish line. My goal was to run it in less than 2:30, but I had never run 13.1 miles before and I wasn't sure if that was going to be possible.  

As the Fairy Godmother said those magic words, fireworks went off above the start line and the race began.  I took off running!  Was I really going to be able to do this?   Well, there was only one way to find out and I was off.  

The initial 5 miles were uneventful, classic highway miles with some Disney magic.  Entering the park and seeing the crowds of fans was so exciting and turning onto Main Street USA was a thrill.  I was so focused on finishing, I didn't take the time to cherish the moment, and ran down Main St without stopping for a single picture.  The tears started to appear as I turned the corner by Dumbo and realized I was about to run through Cinderella's Castle!  My biggest regret of this first race was not stopping in front of the castle for a picture.  Soon enough we were at the halfway point and Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger" was blaring on repeat and I could feel my second wind starting to take over.  

Scott managed to make it to the Poynesian Resort and was there to cheer me on as I kept on running.  Seeing him was just the inspiration I needed to finish this race.  Miles 7-11 were difficult.  For me those are the "mental" miles - the ones where your head is asking you what the heck you are doing even though your body is ready to keep going.  For some extra support, I started to take a moment to really experience this journey and grabbed  a few character pictures - I needed some memories of this first half marathon.  

I remember entering Epcot and realizing I was almost there!  I was going to complete my first half marathon!  At this point, the tears began to roll down my cheeks as I thought about the moment of my diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis and how I was afraid of what my future might hold.  I certainly didn't think that my diagnosis would ultimately bring me to the point of becoming a runner.  

I passed the choir at mile 13 and could see the finish line.  As I got close, I heard my name being announced and then I crossed the finish line with a high five for Princess Minnie!  

My official time:

2:07:50 - (guess I beat my 2:30 goal) and I finished 1735 out of 16018 finishers! 

I did it!

The Princess Half Marathon was the perfect location for my first half marathon.  runDisney has become more popular in recent years because it allows runners of all abilities to come together, experience Disney magic, meet other like minded people and have fun while accomplishing a goal.  Destination runs are perfect race experiences, even for new runners.    

I was also fortunate to have been selected for a Disney Meet Up on Friday before the race.  I will share my meet up experience in a future post for that is what truly hooked me on runDisney events!

 Princess Half Meet Up - running through an empty Epcot with Jeff Galloway and other amazing runners!

Princess Half Meet Up - running through an empty Epcot with Jeff Galloway and other amazing runners!

 The reality was starting to hit - my first official bib with my name on it AND corral A!

The reality was starting to hit - my first official bib with my name on it AND corral A!

 An example of the mile markers for the runDisney races. 

An example of the mile markers for the runDisney races. 

 The best part of any race - the post race celebration with amazing friends! Here I am in Epcot with Susie and Diana sharing a toast to our success. 

The best part of any race - the post race celebration with amazing friends! Here I am in Epcot with Susie and Diana sharing a toast to our success. 

The Joy of Green Smoothies

One thing that has become a staple in our lives over the past year is our green smoothies for breakfast.  It is something I always would recommend to patients, but never thought I would get my daughters to drink. 

You never know where your children will find inspiration to be healthier - who would have thought that it would be at our local Costco! On a typical Saturday family adventure to the "$350.00 store" both my daughters stood in line to try a Blendtec smoothie sample from the demo guy.  I watched in shock as they drank a full glass of spinach/grape/pineapple juice.  I almost fell over when they turned to Scott and I and asked if we could buy one of the blenders and have those for breakfast!  As they proceeded to stand there for the next 20 minutes while we shopped, they enjoyed chicken tortilla soup and spinach almond milk ice cream and could not stop raving about how amazing it all tasted. 

We bought the machine and walked out spending well over $350.00, of course, but we were on our way to a healthier morning habit.  

A luxury of being a physician, is that I have access to the most wonderful lines of pure, clean, and 3rd party tested supplements. After Costco, I went to our local farm stand and picked up several vegetables and fruits and then went to the office for the necessary supplements.  

For almost a year now, we have enjoyed our variation of a "green smoothie" almost daily.  Yes, my daughters do whine occasionally that they don't want to drink it, but ultimately, they do!  

Currently, the McDonald Smoothie contains a full amino acid vegan protein powder, antioxidants, vitamin D, fish oil, methylated B vitamins, spinach, kale, carrots, beets, chia seeds and frozen fruit (the perfect recipe took a while to figure out - without having it be too heavy on the vegetable taste or too high in the fructose content!).  Not sure how others get all those goodies into their children, but having them drink 6 oz of health every morning makes me feel like a better parent. I know they are able to focus better during their morning classes and they stay healthy when all the other colds and flu's are going around their schools. 

If you would like additional information on any of the items that we put into the smoothies or other supplements, please post a message or send an email to drkayleem@aol.com.

Best wishes on your journey to health! Please post comments with your favorite smoothie ingredients, recipes or success stories.  

Disclaimer: The above information is just my personal opinion and I have no affiliation with Costco or Blendtec.  

Disbelief - Boston Marathon 2013

There are really no words that can describe how I felt yesterday as I began getting the tweets/texts/IMs about the explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line.  I was at the office until 5pm and with patients all day, so I was unable to view any of the news reports or videos and was trying to figure things out based on social media information.  

My sadness and disbelief runs deep, as I am sure it does for many people.  I sit here today, in my runDisney Princess Half Marathon shirt in support of Boston, and am still in disbelief....

Disbelief that this actually happened at an event for celebration and achievement.

Disbelief that there were lives lost and people injured as they participated in or supported others during such a monumental day.

Disbelief that runners' dreams of completing the Boston Marathon were shattered so close to the finish line. 

Disbelief that something that I cherish and use to show my strength and health was subject to such an act of violence. 

I realize I am new to the running world, but it is a community filled with love, support and camaraderie. Within the last 2 years, I have made amazing friendships and received humbling support from relative strangers.  

I started running to prove to myself that Multiple Sclerosis would not stop me from achieving my goals.  As I crossed the finish line of my 5th half marathon with a PR of 1:59, the joy was overwhelming and I wandered the area with tears of joy in my eyes.  

The finish line - a place of pure joy and celebration!  A place to say, "I did it!" 

I will be running 4.09 miles (the time on the race clock when the explosions occurred) today in honor of the Boston Marathon (along with many other runners) and show the world that runners are #UnitedforBoston!

Together we stand stronger than ever!

 Taken from many different Facebook posts, but it sums up many feelings 

Taken from many different Facebook posts, but it sums up many feelings 

Annette Funicello

I was trying to decide on a topic to talk about when the news came over my facebook page yesterday- Annette Funicello passed away at age 70. 

It is amazing to me how FB has become the outlet for news updates. Who needs to watch the depressing news? All your friends will share any major news quicker than the local news.

Annette Funicello, the beloved Mouseketeer from the Mickey Mouse Club,  had MS.  She was diagnosed in 1987, but did not go public with the information until 1992.  It must have been difficult to tell the world that she was suffering from such an unpredictable disease. Thankfully, the world will always remember her as a Mouseketeer, or for her bubbly songs like "Pineapple Princess" or her movie roles with Frankie Avalon.   

Annette Funicello will be missed by many, but may there be some peace in the thought that she is no longer suffering from this disease.  We can hope that she is dancing, singing and laughing again without pain!

We all plan and hope to fight any diagnosis we are given with strength and dignity.  I only hope that I will always remember the positive even when my eyesight might get a bit more blurry,  my arms get tingly or my feet seem numb. 

Rest in Peace Annette!  Thank you for showing so many how to fight this disease with such beauty and joy. 

For more information, you can visit her official page

My First Race Experience

In order to get into the earlier corrals in runDisney races, you need to submit a qualifying time from a 10K race.  Since the Princess Half was going to be my first half marathon, I wanted to try and get into a corral near the front to give me more time to run the race.  By the middle of August, 2011, I was running regularly and feeling pretty good.  I had actually run 5-6 miles at a time and didn't fall over.  I saw a notice at a local run store about the You Go Girl Half Marathon and 10K race and knew I had found my first race.  

Before I knew it, the morning of the race had arrived and Scott and I were up at some horrible hour driving to Tacoma. We got to the start area in plenty of time, so I was able to sit there and panic and freak out at the thought of what I was about to run.  Being the typical female, I ended up looking at everyones' outfits and realized that I was way off on running attire in today's world.  I had on Under Armor pants and top (it was a classic rainy fall PNW day), but most of the women were dressed in really cute running skirts and matching tops.  I made a mental note that I would need to re-evaluate my running gear before my next race!

Soon, the race started and I was off - straight up hill!!  Now, I had looked over the course map and elevation charts and no where did I see the hills like the course ended up having.  Too late to change my mind, I kept moving and wondered how I was doing for time.  Unfortunately, my phone app that I used for tracking my runs decided not to work that day and I was not going to stop and try and get it going again. Of course, with no running app, meant no music to listen to either, so there I was, running alone up these crazy hills and singing to myself.  

When I finally reached the park at the top of the hill, I knew it was all downhill from there and the race was halfway over.  I kept going and soon enough I saw that beautiful arch with the words FINISH on it!  I still had some energy left in me, so I started sprinting to the end and looked around hoping to see Scott.  As I crossed that final timing mat, I head the announcer say "Kaylee from Buckley" and I knew I had done it!  The clock at the finish showed a time of 59 minutes and I was shocked to think I ran my first 10K in under an hour.  

For my first race I came in in the top 10% of my age group! 

Final Race Results:

Kaylee McDonald 41 F (40-44 age group) Buckley, WA

10/110 (division place)

97 (overall finish)

58:09 (final official time)

9:23 (pace per mile)

I have 2 favorite memories from this first race:

1. Crossing the finish line and being given my first piece of "bling!"  Although this cute little necklace was nothing like the runDisney medals I have come to treasure, it was my first and will always be cherished.  

2. Seeing Scott right after and getting that hug knowing that not even MS was able to stop me from accomplishing my goal!

That day was the start of my true love of running and racing.


 

What I learned from my MS diagnosis

When I was originally given the diagnosis of MS, my heart sunk!  It wasn't because I knew I might be destined for a life full of challenges. It wasn't because I was afraid of giving myself a shot daily (which I have chosen not to do).  It was because I had watched my favorite uncle, Joel, suffer his whole life with the disease.  

I remember sitting in my bedroom, feeling sorry for myself, and wondering if I would ever be able to literally watch my beautiful daughters go down the aisle and get married.  It seems like a crazy place to jump, considering they were only 10 and 7 at the time, but that is how my mind was working at the time.  

So, what did I learn?  

1. I learned that MS is still a very misunderstood disease.  As I have gone back through the books and re-evaluated the disease state, I realized many old thoughts have been ignored or skipped over.  My treatment thoughts incorporate all ideas. 

2.  I learned that you need to be very open and honest with your children because they will hear tales from others that will hurt them more than the truth. Trying to hide my diagnosis from them at the beginning was not a good idea.  I am sorry that this may have caused them more hurt than the truth.

3.  I learned that a loving and supportive family and friends will get you through anything.  As cliche as it may sound, I could not have gotten through any of this without my amazing husband, beautiful daughters, fabulous mother, and many other friends and family who have been there for me along the way.

4.  But most importantly, I learned that I am a strong woman who will not let anything stand in my way.

Another Naturopath told me when I was first diagnosed to never own the diagnosis.  
"At the moment you might be experience MS symptoms, but you do not have to experience those often."  'At the moment I am MS'ng' is a very different mindset from 'I have MS.' 

So, at this moment in time, I am NOT MS'ng, but I AM living my life to the fullest!  We will be going to California next week to visit with friends.  My daughter and I will get to see a taping of the Ellen Show with my friend and her son. We will have many moments of laughter and joy as a family.  I will also  be running in the Seahawks 12K later this month and attempting to beat my time from last year.  

So the big lesson I learned:

Live for the moment and enjoy every step along the way!

That isn't a lesson specific for MS at all, so please remember it when the little things start to get you down. Find the joy in everything. 

Welcome to my world of Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust

Welcome to my blog .... which has been a long time in the works.  Do you ever get an idea, but finding the time to make it happen just seems impossible? Well, being a mom, doc in a private practice, lecturer and runner makes my free time a little sparse.

I have been wanting to blog my journey into the running world, my struggle with Multiple Sclerosis, my health tips and my love of Disney for years, so here we go!  

My name is Kaylee McDonald, or as my younger patients call me, DocKaylee (which also has a connection with my love of DIsney).  I have been in private practice in Buckley, WA since 1997 and offer a primary care family physician practice. 

My life drastically changed on 8/1/08 when I lost the eyesight in my left eye.  It was a quick road to a new diagnosis of MS and a speedy learning curve for self treatment.  Although my eyesight has never fully returned, I feel I have battled this obstacle well and would like to share my tales.  

The best challenge presented itself in June 2011 when my friend, Susie, invited me to run in the Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World in Feb 2012.  Until that point, I was struggling with frequent exacerbations and the feeling of overwhelm with my diagnosis and possible future.  When I put on my first pair of "glass slippers" my world changed for the best!

I hope to share with you my success tales, my path to wellness, my pointers and my struggles along the way.  For now, so I don't overwhelm you, I will leave my into basic and will continue my tales tomorrow....

Thanks for joining me along my new path to share my story and maybe help someone else along the way, whether it is with their health, their running or even their vacation questions! 

Here's to many tales of Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust!