Anita Watson, my favorite server down at Bob Rice’s Breakaway Cafe, sent good news recently. One of her dear friends is tops in the nation, once again. Congratulations to Debbie Emery of Glen Ellen whose blog “My Journey Past Breast Cancer” was voted one of the top breast cancer blogs for the second year in a row by Healthline, an online health encyclopedia and resource.
In recognition of Debbie’s blog the Healthline website says, “Debbie is a true warrior and survivor in her fight against cancer,” suggesting that you can “gain strength from Emery’s blog.” And it is true.
Au’makua, alpacas, maremmas, oh my
Debbie’s home page features a lovely painting of a hummingbird, which she calls “My Au’makua” (Hawaiian spirit god). She also emphasizes her multiple and happy roles as wife, mother, grandmother, alpaca farmer, fiber fanatic and gardener.
In addition to her cancer blog, Debbie also writes for Brookfarm, the alpaca farm that she and her husband, Mark, run on Sonoma Mountain. That blog, called the “Poop Scoop,” details the adventures of their small herd of alpacas along with their guardian dogs (a big and shaggy breed known as Maremmas, from the Maremma region of Italy, where for centuries they have guarded sheep from hungry wolves). No doubt, the job of scooping is a frequent chore on the farm, but Debbie can make even that sound fun, such is her enthusiasm.
A recent post on Debbie’s cancer blog recalls her brother Richard Dallara’s 1985 heart transplant and the international media attention that he received.
As a newspaper story from that time states, “Dallara was the first patient in California to have mechanical assistance for both sides of his heart, and the fourth patient in the United States to receive two pumps at the same time.”
I remember the news stories well because Debbie and I were both Dunbar moms at the time. Then, like so many others in our village, I was sad when Debbie’s brother Richard, a former marathon runner and a happy fellow, died some seven years after his transplant. But, as we all understood, those seven years of life were a wonderful gift he received.
And in receiving he also gave: Richard’s surgery was early in the development of artificial hearts and heart transplants. His surgery led the way to a greater understanding of these life-saving procedures. Procedures that have brought renewed life even today to folks in Glen Ellen.
We know a dear neighbor in our village who has personally benefitted from the added knowledge of heart transplants, getting a good new ticker of his own.
Though I respect that individual’s wish to remain anonymous, I just want to convey how happy I felt catching a glimpse of this good Glen Ellenite walking down Arnold Drive recently.
As for Debbie, we thank her for the courage and encouragement she shares in both of her blogs. You can find them online by simply searching her name.
Peripatetic Onchorhynchus redux
Last Tuesday morning, the very day my column hit the streets, I heard from Steven Lee who read my fish story. Briefly, if you missed it, I stated in last week’s column that all of the trout in New Zealand hailed from Glen Ellen, specifically citing the species Onchorhynchus mykiss.