Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Running’

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.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

Years ago, a good friend of ours, Jim from New Zealand, used a term when encouraging Chet about running his first 100 miler – R.F.M – which stands for “relentless forward motion.”  Jim was instilling in Chet the mentality that to achieve your goal, to cross the finish line, you had to just continue to put one foot in front of the other. You must continue with relentless forward motion.  It doesn’t have to be fast, it doesn’t have to be steady, it just has to be relentless.  No matter what, you’ll take that next step closer to your goal, the finish line.

It occurred to me this evening that those same words, that same concept is applicable in so many aspects of life.  And for Chet, Gabe and I, we just have to keep it in mind – R.F.M.  Eventually we’ll get there.

This is the race of our lives, it is the battle of our lives.  And, we haven’t won the war until Gabriel is all better.

However, the last couple days I was down, really down.  I was angry at myself that some how we had let something through the defenses.  I was sad watching Gabriel be clearly miserable while dealing with whatever it is attacking his body.  I was worried about whether or not what he was going through was normal.  I was scared about what the bigger implications of fever might mean.  I was anxious about the potential financial burden another air ambulance ride to Oakland might mean.  All of this was truly just breaking me, plucking away at the last threads of strength I felt as though I had left in my soul.

Then, this morning it just felt worse.  We received some concerning news regarding Gabriel’s blood counts from this morning.  What we were being told was mind boggling and beyond comprehension.  We were being told that Gabriel’s platelet counts looked to have plummeted overnight – to the tune of 200,000.  We had no information on his ANC, which we had been told was 88 the day before (keep in mind a “normal ANC is around 2500 to 3000).  His fever had spiked again the night before.  He had been vomiting the day before.  And well, his body was just being beat up.  So all of this just felt extraordinarily overwhelming.

However, even though it felt like there was so much not going the direction we needed it to be, there is always a glimmer of hope through faith.  Although, honestly, I was having a very difficult time seeing that glimmer.  That hope came in the form of one of the treating oncologists from Oakland Children’s Hospital who was in Reno for the Reno clinic,  Dr. Torkildson.  The first round of encouragement was when he was shocked to find out that this was Gabriel’s first fever since his diagnosis in December.  According to the doc, it’s extremely common for children with leukemia to deal with fevers and even more so for kids with t-cell leukemia.  He answered all of Chet’s questions and gave us both the comfort that Gabriel was being given the best possible care here in Reno as he would have received in Oakland.  Yes, we’ve become pretty partial to the Oakland folks.

The next round of encouragement came through Gabe’s temps throughout today.  All day he was hanging in the mid-99 range without any medication to treat the fever.  More encouragement came in the form of final blood test results from today.  The early numbers were just bad, as the blood sample had coagulated on its way to the lab.  So, the second blood draw and testing showed that Gabriel’s ANC counts have come up to 300 even though is platelets have come down a very small amount.  And finally, capping off a trickle of good information was the fact that this evening when Gabe’s temps usually spike to above 101 and into the 102 range, his highest temp today was 100.2 without medication.

Relentless Forward Motion.

Truly, there are days where this journey feels like an extraordinary challenge.  There are moments where I doubt my own ability to hold it together.  Yet, just when I’m pushed so close to what feels to be my breaking point, the pressure is relieved and I’m able to take a deep breath again.

I don’t know what the purpose of this is, but I’m content to never know how much more I can handle.  Sadly, I don’t believe for a second that I’m not going to be challenged again.  Yet, this experience is strengthening me to be prepared to handle the battles that are yet to come in order to win this war.

Right now, Gabriel’s still got a lot of road to cover before he can be discharged from the hospital.  We’re not in the clear as of yet.  But, we’re a couple steps closer to that outcome. Prayers work, positive thoughts and encouragement is so appreciated by Chet and I.  And, for Gabe, well, I know he just is ready to get out of the hospital and start feeling better.  Right now, he just doesn’t feel good and honestly looks utterly miserable.

Thank you for all the love and support.  You, our friends, are appreciated and cherished continually!

Read Full Post »

It has come and gone, and truly, it was a pretty good weekend.  I think we got a lot accomplished.  But, looking back now, I’m not absolutely certain of that.

Saturday Chet and our friend Scott went out and did a nice 17 mile (give or take) run on Peavine, Chet’s old stomping/running grounds in Reno.  Truckee was able to accompany them, and his foot seems to be doing much better.  He’s got a bum knee I guess is the best way to put it.  But, he did great and none of the guys, Chet, Scott or Truckee were any worse for ware.  Well, I assume Scott wasn’t, but I wasn’t there today to see how he was feeling.

I felt like I got a bit accomplished yesterday.  I got the kitchen cleaned up (amazing how quickly it can all be undone) and the house picked up a bit along with sewing a comforter cover for Rebeka.  Ahh, yes, that time is upon us and we finally decided it was time to transition to the big girl bed.

Rebeka’s been able to crawl out of her crib for a while already, but it was infrequent.  She also has a very controlled manner of dropping out onto a nice carpeted floor.  But, she was generally content to just chill in the mornings.  But, this past week we were having more incidents of her climbing out coupled with one night her climbing out, leaving her bedroom, and being almost all the way down the stairs to the living room at around 2am.  So, we decided it was time to move into the big girl bed.

Our friends had given us their daughter’s old bed when she upgraded a while back, which we were extremely grateful for.  So, yesterday after Chet’s run he stopped at my parents storage unit and picked up the bed.  Today was the big transition day.

It started with totally repainting Rebeka’s bedroom a bright green color from a pale yellow color.

Ultimately, we’ll replace the trim and I need to clean the carpet, but it’s MUCH better than it was.  Got the room painted and redecorated before noon!  Not too shabby.

I am very happy with how it turned out.  So, once I finish putting a hard coat on the switch plate covers and Chet replaces the sockets and switch, all we’ll have left (besides the trim) is artwork.  But, not a bad room for our little big girl now.

And of course, what’s the first thing you do when your 2 and you get a big kid bed….JUMP of course!

After Chet and I got Rebeka’s room done, Chet headed out to restock our firewood stores near the house, since we might be getting some weather.  Gabriel worked hard with his dad helping him to stack firewood and moved a ton of kindling for us too.

Not only did he move kindling, but he moved some of the smaller logs on his sled.

He is such a hard worker.  It was just awesome that he felt like hanging out with his dad in the yard today.  All in all, it was a great day.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Gabriel is doing AWESOME!  Okay, I took a cue from Matt Hammitt, lead singer for the band Sanctus Real and primary author of Bowen’s Heart, and that is to be very judicious in the use of exclamation marks.  But, today is a joyful day worthy of emphasis.

Today Gabriel officially was taking off the I.V. full time!  This is truly wonderful news that he doesn’t have to be attached to the tube 24/7 right now.  He will still have the I.V. at night, but he’s been doing well enough and processing enough fluids orally that they were comfortable to allow him the freedom from being attached to the I.V. during the day.  I can’t tell you how much it made me smile just to think about it and to see him able to walk around without managing his tubes.

We got the results of his bone marrow and spinal tap, and both have moved positively in the right direction.  Gabriel has made significant progress.

Compounding the wonderful day, last nights round of chemo went effectively unnoticed by Gabriel.  It’s amazing, but he hasn’t had any of the unfortunate side effects from the Chemo so far.  He’s just been a happy, fun loving, bouncy little boy today, and those are things that just make Chet and I feel so fortunate and blessed.

Looking back on this past year, it’s been a amazing year.  Here is our 2010 in review:

After a 5 month marathon of remodeling, we sold our beloved Craftsman home in Reno and purchased our now beloved home in Washoe Valley.

We made a terrific trip to Lava Beds National Monument.

During the escrow closing and moving and getting adjusted, Gabriel has surgery to repair a perforated ear drum that hadn’t healed after one of his ear tubes fell out.

This past summer, Chet ran the Western States 100 in his best 100 miler time ever thanks to the hard pushing of George and Scott.

But, a 100 miler with Chet isn’t just focusing on the task at hand, it’s full of laughter and good times, including a bit of pre-race nervous energy expenditures.

(p.s. I left out the non “G” rated images)

Eating a healthy breakfast…

And then enjoying some well deserved time off the feet with your pacers.

Chet three weeks later ran the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 for the 5th consecutive year.

Gabriel started First Grade and Rebeka had her very first pedicure.

There’s been a bit of home remodeling.

I kind-of-sort-of got another half-marathon under my belt.

Found MY beer …

Gabriel became a Cub Scout.

And we ended the year with a bang here at the Children’s Hospital in Oakland.

Wishing everyone a Banana Happy New Year!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »