Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

We made it.  September 16, 2010, Gabriel started maintenance.  We are now one giant step closer to the end.  The journey before us is still long, but we’ve survived the hardest part.  We have crossed that line in the sand.

The word itself doesn’t sound like much.  But, truly, this is a monumental point to have reached.

The maintenance phase of treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia is pretty much the same whether it is pre-b, t-cell, or what not.  It is a repeating 84 day cycle that continues for basically 3 years for boys and 2.5 years for girls, based upon the date that the child begins the phase “delayed intensification.”  So, for Gabriel, that means, on April 27, 2014 he will take his very last dose of Chemotherapy medications and on April 28th, he’ll be done with his treatment.

Chet and I are adjusting to a new “normal” now. Once every 84 days he gets a LP (lumber puncture with intrathecal chemotherapy). Gabe is on a daily oral chemotherapy medication.  Weekly he gets another oral chemotherapy medication.  One week every month he gets oral steroids. Twice every 84 days he gets I.V. chemo therapy.  And for the first three cycles, Gabriel will spend 5 days in the hospital when he is given the clinical study drug, Nelarabine.

This is our new normal.

But, with this, we have tremendous freedom.  Starting now, Gabriel is permitted to be a normal activity and is expected to be able to resume the activities he was involved in before his cancer diagnosis.  Monday, his birthday, Gabe will be going back to school.

Life will slowly begin returning to normal.

Once he’s done with all of this Nelarabine treatments, he has the choice to have his central line/Broviac removed.  Once the site is healed, Gabriel will again be able to take baths, go swimming, and be even more active.

Chet and I are currently in Utah for Chet’s 3rd 100 miler of the year – the Bear 100.  I’ll try to pose an update or two.  Gabe and Rebeka are holding down the fort with Chet’s mom and my mom.


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Well, it’s time to catch, those who are interested, up on Chet’s running on Western States 100 this year.  Chet was selected as part of the Silver State Striders lottery spot, which gave him the opportunity to have a second running of the event.  Chet really wanted to run the race again because last year was a snow route and he wanted to run the original course.

Unfortunately, it was once again a snow route due to the incredible winter we had this year.  Chet was mighty disappointed and, honestly, had it not been for getting the Silver State Striders lottery spot, he probably would have bailed on the event just because of all the other stuff going on in our life and his desire to do the original course.

Having the commitment to do it though was great.  And, all things being said and done, he really did enjoy the race again this year.

Pre-race meeting at Squaw Valley.

Chet visiting with Jose San Gabriel after the pre-race meeting.

Chet doing his annual modeling of the schwag from the event – Moben sleeves, leg warmers and a head do-hickie-thing-a-majiggie.

The runners nervous energy in advance of the event.

How quickly it clears out about 10 minutes before race start.

Chet hanging out before the race.

Right before the race start – like 30 seconds.  Looking good and chilled.

And he’s off. 

Due to the snow course this year, crew wasn’t able to meet up with the runners until mile 55 at the Michigan Bluff Aid Station.  Chet wanted food, and he was hungry for the real deal.  He put away a foot long Subway sandwich.  I enjoyed just hanging out with Jenny Dicus and experiencing Michigan Bluff with half as many people as usual.

Chet chowing on his foot long.

Heading back out onto to the trail on his way to the Forest Hill Aid Station.

See you in a few miles.

Chet rolled into the Forest hill Aid Station looking great and ready to pick up Scott, who was pacing him this year.

Getting weighed-in at Forest Hill Aid Station.

Looking good and all smiles.

Lots of conversation with George and I.

Scott and Chet are off for the last 38 miles of the race.

While I made my way down to Green Gate, the next reasonable spot to meet Chet; however, I forgot to take my camera and of course didn’t get a picture.  But, it was dark, dusty and not really all that interesting.  After meeting Chet and Scott at Green Gate, I caught a quick 40 minute nap before taking the shuttle to the Highway 49 crossing Aid Station.

Chet and Scott arriving at Highway 49.

Chet, still all smiles with 7 miles to go.

Scott with some witty comment I suppose.  I don’t really remember much from that time of the day/night/whatever.

Chet coming in for a strong finish.

Yah, the first 100 of the year is done and in the books.

And, even after Chet finished sprinting in his 100 miles, he was excited to our friend Bill and ran in along the track at Auburn High School cheering Bill to the finish.


Enjoying a well deserved beer after a great 100 miler.

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Despite Gabriel’s cancer diagnosis and treatment, certain elements of our lives have had to stay normal, and a major component of our lives for the past decade has been Chet’s ultra running.  Not only has it been a healthy outlet for Chet, but it has brought us into contact with some of the most amazing people and through those contacts, we’ve made incredible friends.  As you may or may not know, Chet’s transitioned from running primarily 50k and/or 50 mile events during the first 5 years of his ultra running life to primarily 100 mile events.

Last year, Chet ran the Western States 100 and he again was selected, through our local running club’s lottery, to run the race.  Chet found out of course before Gabriel was diagnosed at the end of December.  After Gabe’s diagnosis, Chet and I had a bit of soul searching to do regarding his running for the next year.  However, running is such an important component to our lives, and ultimately, it really was a no brainer – of course Chet would be running.

While we were all dedicated to supporting Chet as he trained, this year his training took a new tone and style.  Meaning, Chet basically got his training completed on the weekends.  But, he has been training and running.

One of our “standard” events every year is the Silver State 50/50.  I run the Ranch Creek aid station and Chet runs the event.  This year, Brynda, our neighbor helped me out at the aid station, and I have to say it was a jolly good time.  Brynda definitely kept things interesting!

We have one of the most beautiful locations on the course to set up our aid station, and oooh, yah, there’s a little story behind that.  With all the distraction I’ve had this year, I didn’t give a single thought to where my aid station was until after I was driving up there.  Clearly my brain cells were totally malfunctioning, because I started setting up at the wrong aid station.  My gut kept telling me I was at the wrong location, but I didn’t trust my gut.  Fortunately, we were alerted (thanks Lon) with plenty of time to break down, relocate and set up again.  Thanks to Brynda for indulging my brainless self that day.  Haha.

Brynda was an incredible volunteer and so helpful to me and the different runners.

Chet ran the 50 mile event and looked amazing!

Overall, it was an awesome day.  Not only did Chet and I enjoy having a bit of our normal existence, but Gabriel’s counts were high enough that he was able to go to the pre-race event and hang out at the finish line waiting for Chet.  It was a blessed and beautiful day.

The rest of May and June didn’t involve too much excitement for us.  We transitioned from the interim maintenance phase of Gabriel’s treatment to delayed intensification.  But, fortunately, Gabriel’s little body tolerated the methotrexate he was given that we had the opportunity to have one very special event, and it involved the Reno Aces.  Stay tuned, part 3 of A Whole Lot of Catch Up will be filled with amazement and excitement, I promise!

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This weekend was lovely, absolutely lovely.  It is just such an amazing feeling to have your kid able to do real life things.  We are daily seeing more and more of “Gabriel” coming back.

Friday we met with Gabriel’s school to get him set up to start doing home school until he can go back to school.  Paperwork is signed, and so we should get all the arrangements in place.  But, it’s nice to have that ball rolling.

After all that was done, Gabriel and I went to the mineral store and he did some special shopping.  After the mineral store, we went to REI and picked up a new pair of sunglasses for him and gloves for Rebeka.  Then it was off back home.

But, Gabriel and I were able to get out of the house and it was awesome.  Totally awesome.

Saturday, Gabriel and I had a Toy Story movie marathon.  After Gabriel told me he didn’t like Toy Story, we all very much enjoyed all three movies.  Gabriel, Rebeka and I just chilled while Chet went out for an awesome birthday run with our friend George.

Saturday afternoon, Gabriel got a special visitor, Charlie.  Charlie is our neighbor Petra’s horse.  Charlie has been having some problems with her back leg and finally got the all clear for some good exercise and light riding by a little boy.

Charlie and Gabriel had an great time enjoying each others company and offered a great opportunity for rehabilitation for both of them.

Gabriel kept wanting to go faster and faster.  Charlie kept giving Petra the “look” (yes, all you men know the “look”).

But, it was just awesome to watch the two of them out there.

We were able to cap off the Saturday ride with lots of smiles and a photo opportunity with Gabriel’s new cowboy hat.

Today, Gabriel spent most of the day outside with his Grandma just enjoying the sunshine and working around the yard.

It’s been totally incredible to see my baby boy come back to himself.  He was off the prednisone last Thursday, and like a light switch, the eating was turned off.  No more potato chip cravings, no more popcorn cravings, no more eating like a horse.  I never thought in my life that I would be happy to see my boy eating like a bird again.  But, his enthusiasm for going outside and just working hard is back, and that is just one of those things that makes you feel amazing as a parent.

The other incredible development has been the fact that we’re already starting to see his face come back.  Now, don’t get me wrong, he still has the moon face, but it’s starting to come back, little by little.  And that just makes me feel so joyful.

And every once in a while, you just get a glimpse of his old face, our Gabriel’s face

There’s my boy.  Here’s the calm before the next storm.

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Running, fa la la la la, la la, la, laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Chet’s training again. What does that mean, weekends are consumed with running, running and more running!  Whee!  Did I mention we’re trying to finish up all the outstanding home improvements on the house?  Oh, yah.

Chet’s keeping it local this year with his races, which will be a nice change.  He’s only committed to two 100 milers this year, Western States 100 and Tahoe Rim Trail 100.  Of course he has to do the Tahoe Rim Trail 100, this will be his 5th consecutive year running the event, and that leaves him and one other friend of ours who are vying for the first 1000 mile buckle.  A third 100 mile event is still out there for discussion…

I’ll be heading up two aid stations at different events this year.  While Chet’s running the Silver State 50 miler, I’ll be up at Ranch Creek.  And for the second year, I’ll be captaining the Tunnel Creek Aid Station at the Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Races.  That combined with crewing Chet at Western States will keep me relatively busy on my version of the ultra front for a few months.

Last weekend was the first “big” run.  Chet and our friend Scott ran from the Auburn Dam to Granite Bay along the American River.  I had planned on meeting them approximately mid-way at Rattlesnake Bar to offer water, chips, peanut m&m’s and other goodies.  The kids and I were on our way to Rattlesnake Bar only to discover that the park was gated off and closed for the season.  Welcome to state budget cuts.  So, we loaded up all the goodies in the stroller and headed down to meet Chet and Scott.  After refueling them, we headed to Granite Bay where I loaded Rebeka in the backpack and Gabriel and I headed out for a pleasant hike.

The fun is only beginning and there are sure to be exciting things to come.

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