Delurking to answer questions about cures, survivor rates, and fears of long term effects, part 1

June 11, 2016 at 3:46 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I haven’t added to this blog much at all since at least 2007, almost 10 years. I’ve left this blog up for information/internet research purposes. I have behind the scenes statistics and know people do stop by to read information periodically. And I get notified when someone leaves a note on one of the pages. The “About APML” page has had over 100 responses left from people who have been forced to go through this disease, and looking for a little light at the end of the tunnel of their own. I’m a little ashamed to say I haven’t always responded to everyone, but I have sent private emails of support to some. But I haven’t responded publicly. I’m glad to have given at least one spot on the internet where people can share their experiences and feel a little less alone in their struggles with this disease.

Yesterday a post by Carolyn on the “About APML” page asked this:

I’m so happy to hear you are doing so well. I was diagnosed in August 2015, and feel scared all of the time. I can’t seem to find much information online regarding long term survival rates. Can a person actually be “cured” of this, meaning they could live a long life? I haven’t read one study showing long-term survival rates.
Also, do you worry about long term effects from your treatment?

These are great questions overall, unaddressed by what I have up here on the blog, and I want to answer them to everyone.

A few caveats – I’m not a physician, and the best source of information for your situation is a good personal physician who knows your particular circumstance. Information on the internet is better than when I was first diagnosed in 2001, but understanding the information itself (often written in complicated medical research language) and how the information applies to you is difficult. You, the reader, may be in a higher risk group (age, other medical complications) or may not be responding to a certain type of therapy like others do. Online sources talk in generalities, and I can talk of my experiences. Neither may or may not be applicable to you.

Yeah, I know, not what you may want or need to hear. But let me go through what I understand and what has happened to me, based upon what we know today in 2016.

1 – What is “cured?”

Carolyn, first thing to remember is that with cancer doctors don’t like to say the word “cured.” (Some of the responders back to Carolyn have mentioned that their providers did use the word “cured” – and good for them – but I find that to be in the minority.) In general, if not from a recurrence of the original “cancer” there are so many other secondary symptoms and cancers that may occur that make providers reluctant to use the word “cured.” When you look at studies they talk about long-term survival rates, or years being remission free or cancer free.

But you seem to understand that as you shift from asking if you can be cured (which they don’t like to say) to what’s the long term survival rate.

2 – How long can someone be a disease free survivor of APML?

Remember that the main current treatment for APML is all trans retinoic acid, or ATRA (either alone with chemotherapy or with arsenic trioxide added). ATRA was introduced by the pharmaceutical company Roche in 1996. (Happy 20th anniversary, ATRA!) As I note elsewhere on this site, there was no treatment for APML before that time, and everyone died from APML prior to that date. It was completely and relatively quickly fatal.

So the upshot: the longest life expectancy we could be talking about from any treatment for APML in 2016 is 20 years. Each year that number obviously will go up, but for now, we only know from 1996.

This is another reason why no one can really say we’ve been “cured” of APML. We can be disease free, but how do we know we’re “cured” forever?

One of the uncertainties of life is that we don’t know what the future holds. Maybe in year 25 after treatment the chromosome 15;17 that becomes translocated causing APML becomes translocated AGAIN, and we all go out of remission. Or maybe an asteroid will hit the earth tomorrow. All we know is there’s 20 years survival for some people. For me, it’s now 14 years disease free. That’s good enough for me.

3 – So what’s the chance that someone diagnosed and treated today can make it to 20 years + disease free?

Here’s a very understandable description of what APML is from CNN. An American football coach came down with APML in 2012, and this article was written for American sports fans (so, easy to understand!). It has the least amount of medical jargon I’ve seen with the most amount of facts about current APML treatment:


It says that with ATRA, arsenic trioxide and chemo, the long-term survival rate (that studies usually calculate at five years disease free) is about 90%. If you can or want to wade through medical journals for more information, Google “APML treatment survival rates” or something similar. There’s a fair amount of info out there.

Another good medical journal article lays out the overall treatment options of APML, including what happens if the initial treatment and consolidation with ATRA, arsenic trioxide and chemo do NOT allow for the five years survival rate, the 10% from the study above. Specific to long term survivorship, the article concludes with the following:

Relapses occurring after a five-year remission are unusual. There are single cases in which late relapses are observed, even after a period of ten years. According to long-term observations, a rate of secondary leukemia subsequent to APL of about 2.5% must be assumed. Long-term follow-ups including annual checkup examinations are recommended in order to register late toxicity, late relapses, secondary leukemia or other secondary malignancies.


So some “lay person” conclusions about an initial diagnosis of APML:

  • With current treatment, research seems to suggest that 90% of patients can make it to 5-year survival disease free.
  • A “secondary leukemia,” usually related to chemotherapy and unrelated to APML, can develop in 2.5% of patients within 5 years.
  • Relapses after that time are very rare, with “single cases” of late relapses after 10 years having been seen.
  • Participate in follow up care! That way you can find out if you continue to be “cured.”

Given the much worse five year survival rate of other types of leukemias, it’s pretty clear why providers oxymoronically consider this a “good kind” of leukemia.

The final question Carolyn asked, “Do you worry about long term effects from your treatment?”, is an important question that deserves more attention. I’ll answer it in a subsequent blog post.



September 28, 2009 at 6:53 am | Posted in honoree, Reasons why I run, TNT | 1 Comment

Thanks for stopping by.  I know a lot of Team in Training people are sent over here because I’m still an honoree, or honored patient, for the Peninsula Run Team.  Others may be wandering here from some google search of APML or some other term (I get a lot of hits from “sea turtles” interestingly).   Whatever the reason, welcome.  I have gone inactive on this blog for about the past year, and wanted to update.  And to give special mention to some of the TNT participants who’ve particularly inspired me lately.

The last entry here, about a year ago, showed some pretty nasty injuries from a bike accident.  I did decide to not recommit for that season after that incident.  I had been getting a bit further behind in training (and being new to cycling I needed all the training I could get).  I also had some job troubles at that time as well.  I’ll come back to cycling at a later point.

But I have stayed active with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, both with TNT and with Walk the Night at work.  Right now, I’m an honoree for the Fall Peninsula Run Team, and have spoken at several information meetings each season.  I’ve spoken at some track workouts and have worked a few waterstops during some of the longer training runs.  Here’s a picture.

At a waterstop

At a waterstop, Pacifica CA. August 2009

After having the difficulty with the cycling program I began to question if working with TNT and for LLS was still what I wanted to do.  But I have continued.  And this weekend, I had an experience which reminded me why I continue to work with runners/fundraisers for TNT.

I worked a waterstop at a training run at Portola Valley, where the participants ran anywhere between 8 and 12 miles depending on what event they were doing.  It was a beautiful day, just beginning to be a bit warm at the end of the run.  The program has many athletes of differing abilities, but having ran my first few events a couple years ago I’m always more impressed with the less experienced runners.

There was one, named Alissa Winzeler, who made a big impression on me.  The runners went by our water stop on two occasions, once on the way out and another on the way back to the finish.  On the way out Alissa looked good, and was in very good spirits.  On the way back, she had run several miles, more she said than she’d ever run before.  And she was crying.  A lot of runners have physical ailments which may hurt them.  And while she did have some aches, she said she wasn’t crying because she was hurting.  She said the whole experience of the run, along with everything else going on in her life (she mentioned she was in the middle of a move this weekend) really moved her.  She seemed a bit overwhelmed by the experience, thinking she wasn’t sure if she could complete this run, and making it through it. I saw her again at the end of the run, as she was finishing.  She was still overwhelmed and tearful.  I couldn’t have been more proud of her.

Here’s why I was so proud of her and her accomplishment, and this is why I love this program.  Alissa is VOLUNTEERING her time and her energies to fund raise (she’s already met her minimum), and going through this program.  Allissa didn’t have to fundraise.  Heck, with her moving this weekend,  she probably shouldn’t have taken the time to run.  But she did.  She ran farther than she ever had in her life,  pushing herself further to achieve, being and doing more than is required.  And all the while, doing something that raises funds for research into blood cancers, so others can live.  That’s FANTASTIC.

She’s a better person for doing it, and the world is a better place for her doing it.  She should be very proud of herself right now.

Alissa Winzeler

Alissa Winzeler

Allissa — and all other TNT participants — should be very proud of themselves right now.  Because I’m proud of all of you.  Thanks for all you do.

I’ll likely not update this again in the near future, but I’ll keep it up as an archive, and come back to it and update again at a later date.

Crash! Bang! Boom!

September 15, 2008 at 4:58 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

They say there are two kinds of cyclists — those who’ve crashed, and those who have yet to crash.  I’ve now joined the former.

Last Saturday, September 6, I was about six weeks into training.  And it had gone pretty well.  The gears and the shifting was getting more understandable.  I was better able to make the distinction between some important concepts —

  • The goal isn’t to go fast uphill.  You should keep the same cadence, or rate of the pedals going around.  They aren’t the same.  I had been trying to power my way up the hills.  Doesn’t work well.
  • While going the same cadence is the goal, it’s not a realistic goal on really tough hills.  You may be pedaling really slowly on the steepest hills.  And that’s okay.   You’re still going up.

Funny, when Lance Armstrong is going uphills, it looks differently.  But I’m not quite Lance just yet.

So that Saturday, we had a 30 mile ride that had some pretty tough hills east of San Francisco, around San Pablo Dam near Orinda.  They call the ride “The Three Bears.”  The bears, as you might guess, were three pretty tough hills.

I did really well — I was learning the lessons above (the hard way at times), but I did make it up.   The last one was the toughest — they call it “Papa Bear.”  I did freak out a bit on the descent — very steep decent.  I’m not a wild risk taker in a lot of ways, and speed I have to work up to.  So I did it, but it was kinda freaky.

But the Crash! Bang! Boom! wasn’t on the Three Bears, or the descent.

Just as I had finished the last of the descent, and came upon the straightaway that went on about a quarter mile, the road curved and came to a small bridge over a creek.  Right at the edge of the bridge was a fairly large pothole.  I wasn’t nearly going as fast as I was on the descent on Papa Bear, but I was going fast enough to lose control after I hit it.

Apparently, I fell forward, crashed on the handlebar, and skidded a bit down the, uhm, concrete bridge.  At a pretty good speed.  Just to be clear, I wasn’t injured much at all — nothing broken, etc.

I was a little dazed at first.  I was riding with a coach at the time, and he was TERRIFIC.  He was really supportive, cleaned me up, got the SAG (Support and Gear) team vehicle to stop with a first aid kit.  We got the bike into the truck and we went  back to the start.

Here I am, at that moment (someone in Team in Training always seems to have a camera around, particularly for these kinds of moments).  I didn’t look that bad.  At that point, a really bad road rash scrape on the elbow (note the really dark circle on the bottom of the elbow) and on the knee.

And the bike wasn’t that badly hurt either — mainly just the handlebars.  The frame is thought to be OK — it’s at the bike shop for a check.

So that was on Saturday.  The coaches warned me the road rash scrapes would look and get worse over the next few days.  And it did.

Here’s what the knee and elbow looked like by Wednesday:

Note particularly the bruises on the upper leg.  The bike shorts covered that, so no road rash like the knee.  Also, check out the yellow circle in the middle of the bruise.  From what I can tell, that part of the thigh hit the rounded end of the handlebar right there as I went down.  That area was depressed on my skin on Saturday after the accident, prior to the bruising.

Here’s another bruise that showed up a few days later, on my abdomen just below my navel:

This one I love.  It looks like that large spot that you see in pictures of the planet Jupiter, the hurricane on the surface of the planet.  I didn’t even feel it during the crash or after, and yet it showed up.  I’ve been using it to show people, picking up my shirt and showing it off like LBJ did with his appendectomy scar (if you’re old enough to remember that).

None of the bruises ever hurt.  The road rash, oh, that’s a different story.

The worst was at night.  Even with it bandaged up, the road rash would tingle, itch and sting.  It wasn’t terrible, but it would wake me up at night.  I was reminded that the road rash is, well, where the concrete had scraped off a couple layers of skin, and nerve endings were exposed.  So the tingling is normal and part of the healing process.

But compared to other options — broken bones, other internal injuries, I’ll take it.

The bike is in the shop for a week, and I’ve taken off a few days of training to heal up.  I’ll be ready to start up after that.

This season dedicated to the spirit of Travis Wallace

September 14, 2008 at 8:26 am | Posted in honoree, Reasons why I run, TNT, Travis Wallace, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This has been a very hard post to write.  I’ve been putting it off.

While the last couple of seasons I’ve had a number of personal honorees I ran for, and still are a part of me and inspire me, I’m dedicating my training and my event to Travis.

I introduced Travis Wallace at this post.  He was a nine-year survivor of leukemia and a fellow honoree for Team in Training.   Travis had a tremendous spirit and zest for life.  In the time since his last battle, he got married to a woman who I think is just terrific, Amy.  Amy and Travis became very active in Team in Training.  Not just as an honoree, but both of them became active participants, running in several marathons and half marathons.  They also became mentors to other runners, and captains to help set up the program.

The picture below is my absolute favorite picture of Travis.  It perfectly demonstrates his contributions to TNT and the people who he touched in it.  Even though he was an honoree, it wasn’t about himself.  It was about the cause, helping others understand the cause, and motivating them to make it through their events and succeed in their dreams.  He touched hundreds of people in this program, just like this one instance captured forever in this photo.

If any of you ever wondered what makes Team in Training so special, this is it.  People with gifts and talents helping others to meet their dreams, while helping to raise funds to help a worthy cause to find cures and make the lives of others better.  Travis was one of those who people who made this happen.

Another is Travis’ wife, Amy.  She was particularly helpful to me during my marathon last June in San Diego.  It ended up being a very hot day, and I had a lot of difficulty with the heat and my water and sodium intake.  I was basically sweating like a pig.

Amy ran with me for about 3 or 4 miles, giving me fluids and other refreshments, and just being there, encouraging, being very perky and friendly as she usual was.  I really honestly wouldn’t have made it without her.  I’ll always fondly remember her and another captain Carolyn who also ran with me that day.

I took a picture of both of Amy (on the left with the alien deely bobs) and Carolyn taken during the marathon:

Amy left just about after this pic was made because she wanted to finish with Travis, who was running a half marathon that day.  He did well and finished.

Earlier this year, Travis and Amy gave birth to a beautiful daughter, McKenna.

A month after McKenna was born, about March, Travis found out he had relapsed.

He started treatment almost immediately.  He went — for the third time in his 32 years of life — into the hospital and started chemotherapy.  He found he would need a bone marrow transplant.  He began a search and was able to find a suitable donor.

While in and out of the hospital, Travis spent time with McKenna.  For his wedding anniversary, Travis took Amy on a very special trip. Here’s Amy’s words from her blog:

June 24th was our second wedding anniversary. We spent the night in Half Moon Bay at the Ritz where Travis proposed three years ago. It was awesome! We had massages, a great dinner, wine and champagne and an amazing time together, watching the sunset and walking on the beach. That’s the way to live!

On Thursday Trav chartered a helicopter and surprised me with a tour of San Francisco. We flew from the peninsula up through and around the city, under the Golden Gate bridge, down the coast and back up over the mountains. We even saw a whale off the coast of Half Moon Bay. It was amazing! My husband is incredibly romantic. Sorry ladies, he’s mine!

Here’s a pic of them on that special day:

A few days later in early July Travis went back into Stanford for his bone marrow transplant (BMT). He had to have more rounds of really harsh chemo to get ready for it.  The BMT went well, and it was starting to take.  But because of the harshness of the chemo Travis underwent, he developed both kidney and liver failure.

He struggled.   But it was too much for him to overcome, even as young and strong as he was.  He passed away on August 21.

In the last couple of years, Travis married a terrific beautiful person, ran marathons and helped others to run marathons, raised money and awareness of his struggles and the need for leukemia research, had a beautiful baby girl, and lived life to the fullest.  If quality of life is the measure, Travis lived a great life.

A couple weeks before, I had contacted Amy to ask if I could train and ride in honor of Travis this season.  I sent an email, and was afraid to take up too much of her time.  This is what she wrote back:

We are absolutely honored and thankful to be a part of your training and help you with your fundraising.  Please feel free to share with your friends, family and others, Travis’ story and website.  Trav and I hope to ride along side of you in a century someday.

Well, Travis and Amy are riding with me this season.  I’ve already on many occasions thought of Travis and Amy riding with me, encouraging me as Amy did in the marathon.  They’ll be with me both during all the training and at the event.

The world is  a little worse off without Travis here.

If you would like to see pictures of Travis and his family or read his story, please visit his caring bridge site:

So, here’s the deal….

August 26, 2008 at 5:06 am | Posted in Reasons why I run | Leave a comment

After two successful running events in 2007, a full marathon in June and a half marathon in November, and enjoying some well deserved time off from any training, I have decided to do another event.

Only this time, on a bike.

I’ve signed up to cycle the el Tour de Tucson this November — 109 miles around the perimeter of Tucson.


First, I was looking for something besides running to do.  I always wanted to get back into cycling — I had a bike for about a year about 25 years ago when I started college.  But that was on a bike with a banana seat and streamers.  I’m mostly not kidding — it was a very rudimentary bike, unlike current road bikes with multiple gears.  Also, I was living with my parents in a very rural area on flat mostly empty roads in Texas, unlike cycling over hills and in urban areas around San Francisco.  So I figured, what a better way to get back into it than joining Team in Training again?  You get terrific coaching, training on some of the most beautiful areas of the world (the San Francisco Bay area), and lots of advice and assistance.  They could take a novice cyclist and turn them into an experienced cyclist by the end of the program.  It was definitely the way to get back into it.

But more than anything, I want to raise more funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  The needs are still there — another person dies from a blood related cancer every nine minutes. There’s still a lot to do.  I have more people for whom I’m running this season who I’ll introduce you to.

And, now it’s six and one half years disease free — in full remission with no evidence of the disease.  I CAN get out there and cycle.  Why not?

So, get ready to join me as the season progresses.

I’m a little behind on the blog — we’ve been training for most of the month of August.  I’m learning A LOT — something every time I’m on the bike.  Like, how to shift.  And how to make it up a hill.  Hills will be my friend.  Someday.

I’m training with the San Francisco Cycle Team, and they’ve all been TERRIFIC to work and train with.  Here’s a pic from when I was on a training ride with the team a couple of weekends ago, in Golden Gate Park.

Do I look like I’m having difficulty shifting?  I was.  But behind me in yellow in the pic above was my awesome Honoree Captain, Michelle, who rode with me and gave me terrific advice and support.  That ride was 20 miles; we did another 20 miles this last weekend.

But I’m enjoying this SOOO much.

And, it helps to think on whose behalf I’m doing this.

I have a special honored patient for whom I’m cycling this season — Travis Wallace.  I talked about him last year in this post, but there’s been more since then.  I’ll talk more about him and his family in a later post.

Suffice to say, Travis will inspire me to train and will help me make it up the most steep hills this season.

Update: What I learned about myself from it all, and the best in 2008 to you

December 28, 2007 at 6:08 am | Posted in Those who supported me during my recovery, TNT | 1 Comment

I had a good friend who I lost touch with in the last couple of years. She googled me and found this blog. She got concerned, though, because there hadn’t been any updates since June. In an email to me seemed to be afraid that something had happened to me.

So to Angela, and everyone else, I’ve been fine. In fact, I ended up enjoying the Team in Training experience so much I did another event as a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I did the Santa Barbara Half Marathon in early November. It also went extremely well, and raised another $2,500. That means that between the two events in 2007 I raised over $9,000 for research into blood cancers. Yay!

I also learned something very important about myself through these events. I sent it out in a note to my supporters over the holidays, but I wanted to share it here, too:

During the holidays it’s common to look back on what has happened in our lives the previous twelve months. As you know, this May I celebrated my fifth year of being and complete remission and good health from leukemia by running a marathon, the San Diego Rock N’ Roll Marathon on June 6 to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I enjoyed the experience so much that I ran another half marathon as a fundraiser, The Santa Barbara Half, in early November. I can’t express enough thanks to you for contributing and to help raise funds for leukemia research.’

“But, there’s one other thing about completing these events that make me very grateful….

I spent many years in recovery not truly understanding what I was supposed to “get” out of having leukemia. You hear about people who after recovering climb Mt. Killamanjaro or something, or have a renewed understanding of life. I never got that, and always thought I had “missed” something.

“I realized something about myself through my two events this year – there’s a lot of similarity between going through chemotherapy and completing an endurance athletic event. Both have stretches that, even with the best of training (or, conversely, the best of medical treatment), require a LOT of strength, perseverance and determination to make it to the finish. To complete either means a lot, to complete both means even more, and to appreciate the strength and perseverance one actually has from life experiences is, well, as they say, priceless.

“THANK YOU for helping to make this, and the over $9,000 raised for leukemia research, possible.

“The best of health, happiness and peace to you and your loved ones in 2008.”




And one final thought — Watch this space in 2008 for more to come. Here’s a hint: I just bought a road bike…..



The marathon — more of the aftermath and what it all meant

June 7, 2007 at 4:58 am | Posted in chemotherapy, marathon, Rene McGillicuddy | 1 Comment

First, the physical. I had pretty significant blisters on the ball of my feet, both of them. One had a blister a bit smaller in size than a credit card. Luckily, they have pretty much healed, although the feet are still a bit tender.

And I moan a lot when I get up from a lying or sitting position, particularly when I have been there for a long time. I sound just like an old man. Which I suppose I’m becoming.

Fortunately, there really hasn’t been any other physical ailments. I’ve recovered really well.

The biggest changes have been mental.

You know, the end of the marathon itself had not been one where I was in the best of mental states. For about the last ten miles or so I had such a challenging time with the heat, dehydration, and everything else, that the end of the marathon took so much out of me — I was struggling and in such pain that I couldn’t think about what it meant. I was just so over everything and was ready to finish and take my shoes off.

But the longer I get away in time from the marathon, the more it means to me. I didn’t go into this marathon “for myself” — I did this really for to celebrate my 5 years of being disease free, the cause, to expand my involvement, to raise money, and to be an even bigger motivator to others. For me, it was never a question in my head that I’d finish the marathon. Of course I was going to finish the marathon. I’ve been around the Team in Training program, and knew it was very good in helping new runners finish a marathon, and I knew the program would help me to do that. So it was never a question I would complete it.

But it’s hit me in the last couple of days — wow, I just completed a freakin’ marathon! That’s a HUGE deal, as impressive as other things I’ve done in life.  One of the TNT captains noted that, if estimates that 280,000 people in this country have run marathons, and there are about 300 million US citizens, that means that roughly only 1 in 10,000 people have completed a marathon. Not that many people! It’s impressive an achievement, even without all the other things about it. Particularly me, someone who’s not been athletic in any way in my previous 43 years, some dabbling in high school football notwithstanding.

Another thing I’ve realized is not that I’ve just completed it, but what it took to complete it.  One of the TNT coaches, the one who ran with me to the finish line at the marathon, made this comment about me finishing in light of the problems I had — he said, “Anyone can run a marathon when they are feeling well but it takes a lot more to stick one out when you are not. You showed me a lot out there on Sunday, you have a lot to be proud of.” He’s quite inspirational himself. More on him and that experience in a later post.

Another thing a couple of people have pointed out to me — It isn’t that I’ve JUST run a marathon, something extremely noteworthy by itself, but I’ve run a marathon AND survived leukemia, two very significant and inspiring accomplishments. My good friend and running partner Rene mentioned to me how phenomenal it is to get to five years disease free, and to achieve in an endurance event (she’s also five years disease free and she’s done a 100-mile bike race along with several triathlons). She’s very proud of me, and is pretty insprirational to me as well, and she’s right.

So while the physical recovery from the marathon is almost complete, the mental and emotional experiences seem to continue and develop each day.

I’m quite thankful, and amazed.

The marathon – link for pictures

June 6, 2007 at 7:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s now been two days since the marathon, and I’m still mentally trying to figure out what it all means. I’ve also been very busy with work, and I’m traveling later in the week to go back to Texas for a family reunion, and looking forward to seeing everyone. I’ll be posting more about the experience in the coming days, but until then, here’s a link to a Picassa Web Album of pictures I took during the event (at least during the first half when I could still think and process)….

web album

And below is the first picture I took after the marathon — my good friend from college, David Moore, came up for the marathon and met me at the finish. That’s him with me in the picture, with the finisher’s medal.


See the post above for what I’m understanding about the experience in the moments since the marathon.

Marathon day

June 4, 2007 at 5:08 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

It was a good day for me. A long day, but overall very good. Will post more tomorrow. But if you’re checking, I did make it — I am a marathon finisher. I am proud of that.

As I get more rest and get more perspective, my concept will change I’m sure, but it was tough. I figured out another siimilarity between leukemia and running a marathon — unexpected things pop up that change the way they go. After a cool gray day Saturday, the day of the race Sunday was hot, starting about (for me) mile 12. By mile 16 I was sweating more than normal (which is considerable), having cramps in the calves (charley horses), and was becoming dehydrated (even with drinking and eating appropriately). The TNT staff who were with me and I decided it would be best for me to walk the remainder from about mile 17, so my time wasn’t what I expected. I did better but it was still tough the rest of the way.
More tomorrow, with pictures. Time to rest the legs (and the blisters on the bottom of the feet…).

Marathon weekend — expo and pasta party

June 3, 2007 at 6:22 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

 It’s now about 11 pm the night before the marathon, and I’m in the hotel room.  I knew I wouldn’t drift off to sleep that quickly, so I thought I’d post the pics from today.

As part of the marathon experience, there are a couple of events that those of you who’ve done it may recall. First, is picking up your race number at the marathon expo.


That’s number 22281…..  My lucky number!

Here are my very good friends Mitch and Devin, who came down to support me this weekend. I really appreciated having them there — they really helped me deal with the pre-race jitters.


I spent some of the day Saturday getting my shirt I’m racing in ready. I got some fabric paint, and added some messages on the shirt for the race. That way when people see it, they’ll know I’m celebrating the 5 year anniversary of my remission.

Then it was off to an event that Team in Training has the night before the race for its participants in the marathon — the TNT Pasta Party. At the group comes together for a pasta buffet, and hears a lot of motivational speeches.

Coming into the event it gets a little crazy as the TNT staff and coaches yell and scream for the participants as they walk in. Above are some from my team — the Coach Dan, and two Captains, Carolyn and Carl. They’re all great,  supportive people.


Here’s our team manager Becky. The manager makes the arrangements for the training, and particularly for the event. Apparently wearing a crazy afro wig is part of the job as well.


Interestingly, in the hall where the event takes place, on the screens while everyone files in and sits before the program begins, they put up rotating slides of the honorees from various TNT chapters around the country. I was on one of them. I had seen these before at other TNT pasta parties I had attended for other marathons. The first time I saw it I was a little taken aback. But now it’s standard at all, apparently. I’m at more of these events than I realized.


Here’s one of my good friend, honoree, and person for whom I run, Doug.


Here are some fellow Peninsula Run Team teammates who will be running the marathon with me tomorrow.  Good times.

At the event, they said there are almost 4,000 Team in Training participants from around the country at the event, and collectively for this event we raised $12.5 million.  Pretty impressive.  And $6k of that was mine (well, all of you who donated — thanks again….)

I’m beginning to get a bit sleepy, so I’ll try to get a little sleep (3:45 am wake up call, so it won’t be much.)  I’m nowhere near as antsy as last night.  I’ve been looking over the blog entries this entry, and thinking a lot of how far I’ve come — not just in the last few months, but in the last 5 1/2 years since the first symptoms appeared.  Life is pretty amazing.  I’m looking forward to tomorrow as the culmination of the journey back from those dark moments early on, and the celebration of being able to live and thrive in the future.

Until tomorrow…..

Next Page »

Blog at
Entries and comments feeds.