Thursday, February 14, 2013

Recovery

Recovery is going slow. After spending last week in Tulsa and running everyday, my knee is yelling. I am taking this week off from running and the knee is better. I am spending more time in the pool and on the stationary bike. I need to learn to pace myself and not be in such a rush to get back out on the running trail. I know better and coach my athletes to take their time to heal injuries. I guess it is time to practice what I preach.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Finish Line

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:" - Ecclesiastes 3:1

So ends our chapter on Remission Run. After five years of very hard, trying, but rewarding work, our family is moving on to the next chapter of our lives. We are grateful to everyone that has supported us through the years. We are thankful to all the athletes that came out and ran the race each year. We are indebted to our volunteers who were relentless at getting the job done. As Dana-Susan and I raised our glasses of champagne last night, we celebrated Remission Run and thanked God for remission.

So what is next? We don't know. We will still raise awareness about cancer. We will still raise funds for cancer research. We are just not sure of the vehicle we will be using to do this.

Thank you all for celebrating my remission for five years in a row with a party of over a thousand guests. Thank you for your passion to help us find a cure.



"For every FINISH LINE tape a runner breaks, complete with the cheers of the crowd and the clicking of hundreds of cameras, there are the hours of hard and often lonely work that rarely gets talked about." ~ Grete Waitz

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Post Surgery Blues

I think I am reviving the blog because of my boredom and my lack of swimming. After I injured my knee at Thanksgiving, I was very limited in  the type of activities I could do for exercise. Namely I could lift weights and swim. I was putting in close to 20,000 yards of swimming a week. On January 14 (day of my surgery), My swimming went to 0 yards per week. I had grown used to swimming and really had been enjoying the challenge of swimming against one of my good friends, Robi. Now I am limited to lifting weights and either riding a stationary bike or doing the elliptical. Neither of those offer the opportunity for friendly competition. The saving grace is that most likely by the end of next week I will be back in the pool. I know I won't be hitting 20,000 yards a week for a while, but I will at least be challenging myself and Robi and putting in some good yards.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Heroes - Just Some Thoughts

The dictionary definition of HERO is “someone of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities”.

Over the past several months a lot of people have asked me to talk about my feelings about Lance Armstrong. My typical answer is that Iʼm grateful for any good heʼs done for the cancer community and then I change the subject. Some people have even said, “what has happened to Lance is tragic because the cancer community has lost its great hero.” What Iʼm about to say to you has nothing to do with Lance, but everything to do with the lie that the cancer community had only one great hero and no longer does. If a hero truly is someone with distinguished courage or ability, admired for brave deeds and noble qualities, well then the cancer community remains full of heroes, some alive and well, and others fallen.

My sister Michelle became a hero in my eyes when she was only 5 years old. I will never forget the moment my parents told me she had leukemia. I was 7 years old and scared. But I watched her courageously endure chemotherapy and radiation. I saw her laugh and smile when she was in pain and proudly pull off her wig in front of everyone to jump into the pool to swim with me. Michelle was my best friend. For a year, I saw a true hero in her as leukemia ate away her life. On the last day of second grade, I went home from school to hear the devastating words that changed my life forever, “your sister died today”. One year after her diagnosis, my sister became another victim of blood cancer. In my eyes, Michelle Crews, is a fallen hero. Sheʼs not out living strong, she never had the chance to run a marathon or become an Ironman. She never had the chance to even finish  kindergarten, but she was was one of the greatest heroes of my life.

Recently I read an article about teenagers with cancer. The teens wrote about how they feel about their disease. Kids are so honest. They donʼt feel the need to put a spin on cancer. They just tell it like they see it. One of the girls said how she just wishes she could go to PE class and hang out with her friends, all the normal stuff sheʼs missing out on. Every one of them said they just wanted to go back to the normal stuff, not that they wanted to be some great hero, doing big extraordinary things, just the ordinary things all the other teens take for granted. But the quote that stood out the most to me came from a 14-year- old boy. He said, “Cancer has messed up my life, thereʼs no getting round it. People say Iʼm inspiring and strong – I hate that. Iʼm no superhero, just a boy who wants to stay alive, doing what the doctors and nurses tell him in the hope of one day getting his life back.” This got to me more than anything else because itʼs how I feel too. My photo is in magazines and on posters at MD Anderson. In it, I stand next to my bike with the word “lymphoma” crossed out and the caption talks about my triathlons and marathons. Iʼm told that my story of beating cancer and becoming an Ironman inspires people and makes me a hero. Although I appreciate the kind words and Iʼm glad to motivate people to pursue their dreams, the simple truth is Iʼm not a hero for having cancer. I was just a 37 year old man who felt just like that 14 year old. Cancer messed up my life. My hope was that the drugs would do their job of getting rid of my cancer so I could go back out and live again.

My hero is Rick Hagemeister, the man who saved my life. His decision to use RCHOP chemotherapy was the reason Iʼm alive today. Itʼs not because I did anything great. I was lucky. The drugs worked for me. My  sister was unlucky because they did not work for her. Does the fact that she died make her less of a hero? Does it mean she wasnʼt brave or strong or filled with courage? No. It means that the drugs did not work for her.  Strength and courage do not save your life. Maybe, if youʼre lucky, the chemo works. Thatʼs  why we need more funding for research. Cancer research saves lives. Oncologists, nurses, researchers- those are the  heroes. They are the ones who have devoted their lives to the eradication of cancer. But without funding for  research, they canʼt do their job.

Knee Surgery and Remission Run


This is in reference to the fact that I had knee surgery on January 14, 2013. I see in my last post that I was going to be more regular with posting. Well let's try again.

Day three of training back from knee surgery

Felt good overall. This week I really need my workouts as it is the end of an era. the BCRR comes to a close on Saturday. It will be bitter sweet as what started out as a gift to me has become such a blessing to so many. I look forward to seeing old and new friends out there. I regret that knee surgery will keep me from actually running, but also look forward to greeting each cancer survivor as they cross the "finish line" this weekend. There will be friends in town that I haven't seen in years. I look forward to the fellowship and just catching up on life with them. There will be friends that have been a part of this from day one that can't be there. You know who you are and can expect a call from me at some point on Saturday. Mostly, I look forward to some time of rest and relaxation with my beautiful wife. She has poured her heart and soul into this for over five years now and needs a break. Thank you Dana-Susan for an amazing event and an amazing life of adventure together.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Rebooting

Wow it has been two and a half years since I posted in this blog. It has been a rocky two and a half years. That is not to say there haven't been great times. I have had many great times with my family and friends. I have slowly started getting more into running and less into triathlon. I did not do a single triathlon in 2012 and I only have one planned for 2013, likely my last tri. In the meantime, I am training for the Houston Marathon and likely The Woodlands Marathon as well.

In just two weeks, I will celebrate the ninth anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. The day I was diagnosed seems so long ago, but at the same time it stays with me all the time. I plan on documenting my feelings here for the next few weeks as I also approach my annual visit to MD Anderson on November 8.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A New Beginning

It is time to say goodbye to 2009 once and for all. 2009 had many heartbreaks and hardships in it. That is not to say that I did not have some great victories. Through it all, I learned a lot of lessons. God has been faithful. I have had to patiently watch as He transformed me. I am not the same person I was when 2009 started. My family is not the same either. We endured hardship in job losses and in injuries. We endured biopsies and cancer scares. We fought hard against people who violated our trust. In the end we have come out victorious. 2009 is in the books and 2010 is well under way. I know that there will be challenges, but I also know that we can face them.

2010 started off with my 11 year old daughter running her first half marathon with a time of 2:46. We then took a trip to Disney where the family got to ride roller coasters in the sleet and I became a certified running coach. After that, my wife and her Remission Run committee put on one of the best 5k's I have ever been to. Finally, next week I start a new job back in the industry that I had been a part of for 19 years.

Life is good. It took patience to make it through 2009. So far 2010 was worth the wait.