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|Newsletters: Consumer Carries the Olympic Torch|
Consumer Carries the Olympic Torch
Dana Lovorn, an HPN consumer, celebrated her love for the Olympics and life, carrying the torch through Austin, Texas, December 11, 2001 — just five days before her 51st birthday. The day was cold, wet and rainy, but Dana was elated. “The Olympic spirit runs deep in my family. I was proud to be chosen to carry the torch,” she says enthusiastically. Dana had seen some of the Olympics when they were held in Los Angeles in 1984, and enjoyed teaching her students about the games when covering mythology in her English classes. Dana taught 7th grade English and life sciences for 20 years before her condition forced her to retire early.
Since she retired, Dana’s taken to writing and volunteering. “Volunteering is good therapy”, she says, it keeps her upbeat and active. It also led to her nomination to carry the torch. She gives credit to the President of the home owner’s association she belongs to for the first nomination, but she was also nominated by several friends from her Scleroderma support group and the staff at the hospital where she volunteers.
Dana hopes her actions will inspire other disabled persons to reach for their goals. “I’m such an active person, I don’t think people realize how difficult some parts of my day are. Just hooking up is physically demanding with my hands, and I depend on my mother’s help. I can’t spike a bag and have trouble twisting the needleless connectors,” she explains.
Dana was diagnosed with Scleroderma 19 years ago. Unfortunately it is a progressive condition with a variety of manifestations that can severely reduce the functioning capability of individuals living with the disease. Among other body systems, the disease has wrecked havoc on Dana’s digestive tract, causing her to develop pseudo-obstruction with malabsorption, and making her dependent on HPN since August 1996. The damage is severe enough to rule out tube feeding, and she is able to eat very little by mouth. Instead, she hooks up 6 nights a week for about 13 hours. Dana is on her third Groshong catheter. She needs to take extra care with her catheter; Scleroderma has made her skin tight and tough, which makes it very challenging for her surgeon to insert a catheter.
A positive thinker, and outgoing woman, Dana is glad for the HPN. In the years before she was put on the therapy, she had been declining in weight and energy. As she puts it, “The TPN allows me to live, and to live better. It’s what made it possible for me to run with the torch.”
Dana’s been an Oley member since she went on HPN and reads each newsletter cover to cover; although, once she had stabilized her nutrition status, she has been more active in her local Scleroderma support group because of the severe complications brought on by the disease. In addition to the digestive organs and skin, her limbs have also been affected. She has lost parts of three fingers and the use of several others. In fact, she planned the latest surgery on her hands for early in the fall of 2001 so she would have enough time to recover to carry the torch. “I carried the torch with both hands,” says Dana. “Combining the two, I have 4 working fingers and a thumb and a half.” Her can-do attitude inspired at least one individual in her community. When she heard about Dana’s hands, a local weaver knit Dana some special mittens, since she could not wear the gloves supplied by the Olympic organizers.