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Dec

24

Christmas, Already?!?!

By Leesa Gabel

I went to my first Team Captain meeting tonight for Relay For Life. FUN!!! I’ve been to the relay before, this will be my fourth year in fact. But it’s my first with my (our) own team – Team WOBO

Here’s a great piece from some of the info I picked up tonight. I really like it — so don’t be surprised to see me use this as a way to explain what Relay For Life is…..

Cancer Does Not Stop at Nighttime

Relay For Life starts at dusk and ends the next morning. The light and darkness of the day and night parallel the experiences of the cancer patient undergoing treatment. The Relay begins at sunset, which symbolizes the time a person is diagnosed with cancer. As evening progresses, it gets colder and darker – this represents the patients’ struggle as they endure the emotions of being a cancer patient.

The time between 1 to 2 a.m. represents when the cancer patient starts treatment. They become exhausted, some sick, not wanting to give up. As a participant in the Relay, you have been walking and feel much the same way. Like the cancer patient, you cannot stop or give up.

The time around 4 to 5 a.m. symbolizes the completion of treatment for the cancer patient. Once again, they are tired, but they know they will make it.

The sun rising represents the end of treatment for the cancer patient. They see the light that life will go on. The morning light brings on a new day, full of life, and excitement for new beginnings. As a participant, you will feel the brightness of the morning and know that the end of the Relay is close at hand.

When you leave the Relay, think of the cancer patient leaving their last treatment. Just as you are exhausted and weak, so is that person, but there is hope in the new day! The money raised at Relay will support patient services, lifesaving research, education, and advocacy efforts….and that is why we Relay!!

Craig and I are co-captains of Team WOBO….we would love to have you join our team!!!

Dec

19

Results

By Leesa Gabel

Drum roll please…….A1C went from 8% to 6.7%!!! Very, very good results. The goal is to get below 6%, stay there and get off the pills and insulin!! I’m so close!!

My other appointment didn’t go so well. The needle broke off while doing the bone marrow aspiration – not a good thing. So I rolled over and we tried it on the other side — it worked. I won’t know results until next week. I’m very sore today and I’ve been told not to do any heavy physical activity for 5 days. So I guess 10 miles on Saturday is out. But I have to be honest….I wasn’t looking forward to doing it. Not for the distance, but for the weather conditions. I’m a fair weather runner….not a bitterly cold weather runner. Craig will be out there though…..I think he’s actually excited about it. I’ll make sure to have hot coffee and a foot rub waiting for him when he gets home.

Back to my results…There’s a very good chance that I’ll be going back on a low-dose chemo pill. I’m OK with that. I feel better when I have properly working blood.

Did you know that it’s only 22 days until the marathon?!?!?!?!

Dec

17

Doctor Visits

By Leesa Gabel

Tomorrow is my doctor visits. I’m nervous. I promise to post in the evening to let you know how the visits went.

Dec

13

8 Mile Run or Flight?

By Craig Gabel

Talk about windy!  Today’s weather was not too cold but very windy.  We had a headwind going out and thankfully a tailwind coming back.  Coming down that last hill (which is a mile long) I felt like I was flying at times when the wind gusts hit my back.  I think that was my fastest mile yet.   It was rather uneventful.  Trail had a few slick spots still but was otherwise a nice run.   Can’t wait till next weekend…the BIG 20 miler has arrived.  I am excited but at the same time at bit exhausted just thinking about it.

Dec

11

Doctor Visits

By Leesa Gabel

I have two doctor visits next week. Today I had lab work done for my endocrinologist (fancy word for diabetes doctor). Many of you may not know that I also am dealing with Type 2 diabetes, in addition to leukemia. Diabetes started when I was pregnant with Ashlee (who turned 5 yesterday!!!) – gestational diabetes. It never went away – in fact, I had to give myself daily insulin shots while pregnant with her. Diabetes has been hard to overcome — it’s caused me some problems. I’m a little anxious to get my results next Thursday. Three months ago my A1C was the highest ever – slightly over 8%, up from 7%. I’m hopeful that the exercise and weight loss over the last 3 months has had a positive effect and my A1C will be closer to 6%. Also next Thursday I’m having another bone marrow sample taken. Having it done is something I’m used to now. Which isn’t to mean that it doesn’t hurt or bother me — it hurts like heck!! But it’s a necessary evil in monitoring my leukemia. Oddly, I’m not concerned about the procedure or the results — what concerns me the most is that I might not be able to train on Saturday! It just depends on how I’m feeling — last time I still hurt too much to go to Saturday training….maybe it’ll be different this time.

OK….I take back the sentence about not being concerned about the results. I’m very concerned. I’ve been here before…..went a few months on the path to remission only to need treatment again. *sigh* It’s really out of my hands, I’ve done all I can do. I should have my results back before Christmas. I think I’ll add ‘remission’ to my Christmas list for Santa!!

Dec

8

Blog Readers

By Leesa Gabel

I know it’s been a while since one of us has posted — sorry about that. For me, lately it seems that I just run out of hours in my day and by the time I’m ready to sit down and write out my thoughts, my body tells me it’s time for sleep. I’ve been making an effort to listen to my body and get the sleep it needs. I am feeling better -  I don’t think I’m as tired as I usually am. I still have days when I really have to push myself to not come home and immediately crash into my bed. I’ve had a few days while at work that I’ll daydream about my bed. Those are the days when I’m just too wiped to blog about what’s been going on.

I hope everyone who reads this realizes how blessed Craig and I are because of you. It means a great deal to us that you take time out of your day to read our ramblings. That you’ve taken a serious interest in what’s going on in our lives — how training is going, how I’m feeling — all the little things that make us, us. Thank you!! In fact, those two words just can’t do justice to how I feel when I see the tracking reports for the site. All of you are amazing and we’re so thankful to have you in our lives!!!

Dec

8

Divine Moments

By Leesa Gabel

Perseverance – Determined continuation with something. Steady and continued action or belief, usually over a long period and especially despite difficulties or setbacks.

Motivation - Giving of reason to act. The act of giving somebody a reason or incentive to do something.

I’ve been thinking a lot about those two words. I’ve come to realize that perseverance comes from within me (I do have some divine help) and that the motivation I have comes from those around me. Let me explain further…

This past Saturday I had some time to be with my own thoughts. Craig and I did the first half of training together on Saturday – I was just doing 9 miles, he was doing 18. Before we left the house we had a plan for our route that wouldn’t require me to use my MP3 player – so I didn’t bring it. BUT….things changed once we got to the starting point. I’d have my first 4.5 miles to talk with Craig, the way back (4.5 miles) would be on my own. After singing a few Christmas carols, I began to just enjoy the silence around me and let my thoughts wander. Besides, I think my singing was scaring the squirrels.

I know I don’t write very openly of my faith and beliefs – my hope is that they always just come through in my writing, but I know that might not always be the case. So here it is in black and white — I have a very strong faith and belief that God has a plan for me. He and I are on very good terms. I am very well aware of His presence at work in my life. No matter what happens, I know without a doubt, without hesitation that God will always be there for me. Sometimes it’s not until after something happens that I realize He was there the entire time. But when I realize in the moment that He’s there….WOW….talk about a powerful experience!!

I’ve had lots of these moments of late, here’s one the happened last week.

Our doorbell rang one evening….surprised to open it and find one of our neighbors standing there. She and her youngest daughter came bearing a gift – a beautiful pink pearl and Swarovski crystal beads bracelet with a 13.1 charm. The bracelet was made by a little girl who has neuroblastoma cancer and her mother (you can read more about Sydney here – www.sydlets.com). The bracelet is beautiful and the story behind it inspirational (read more about what Sydney’s dad and others are doing to raise awareness and money for cancer here: http://www.graceoughtoncancerfoundation.org/loneliestroad/). My neighbor had no idea that for the last few days I had been praying to God to help me with my strength and motivation for training. His answer to my prayer knocked on my door and handed me a small gift. I did well not to cry while she was there….but the tears came as soon as I closed the door. Tears of gratitude for an answered prayer.

I’m a person who needs tangible motivators. The purple TNT bracelet I wear reminds me what I’m a part of. The quilt made just for me by a complete stranger helps remind me that I’m surrounded by people who love and support me. The new bracelet now reminds me what I’m working for – to complete 13.1 miles in 3.5 hours!! The tattoo I’m going to get after completing the race will be to remind me of what I accomplished!!!

I hope everyone who reads our blog will have their own divine moments. Please feel free to share them with us if you do – we love hearing your stories as well.

Dec

4

18 Miles this Weekend

By Craig Gabel

Wow! I can’t believe December is already here. It seemed like the 18 and 20 mile weekends were so far away but now they’re here.  It’s been an off week with the holiday and all. I did manage to get in 5 miles on Turkey day but haven’t done much since then due to sickness in the house.  We are trying our best to not get Leesa sick.  That the last thing we need right now.  I did manage to get 2 miles in on Tuesday.   I hit the treadmill at the Y instead of going out in the cold elements.  I really dislike the treadmill.  Being outside is soooo much better.  I have heard runners say there is nothing like being outside but I never realized how much of a difference existed until now.  I will go for 4 miles tonight on the treadmill again as I still feel congested and don’t want to risk make my condition worse by going out in the cold air.  I am bummed that I could not make it outside to run with my good friend Jason who is in town from San Antonio.  We’ll have coffee instead to at least sit down and catch up.  That’s always a good time.  18 miles is a little intimidating that’s for sure but I am looking forward to the new Garmin reading 18 total miles.  I have been posting my runs on the exercise tracker page if you are interested in seeing where we go.  This weekend we most likely go out 4.5 miles and back to complete 9 miles.  That Leesa’s goal for the weekend.  Then I will go out for another 9 miles to get an even 18.  We don’t where our team will meet and what course we will take until a couple days before the run.  Leesa and I talked about what course we might be running and came to the conclusion that if we started at one of our usual trailheads for the longer miles (Roe Park), we could meet up at the Panera close to our house as it is right at 9 miles away. She can drive over there after the first 9 and I will run over and meet her at the end of the second 9 for me. Ironically enough we are actually starting at different Panera that happens to be exactly 9 miles away from the Panera by our house. So I guess it is the Panera-to-Panera run for me. The downside is that the route is pretty much all sidewalk along major thoroughfares rather than on trails.  That’s okay though…just as long as I can get my Tomato and Mozzarella Ciabatta Panini and a bowl of Creamy Tomato soup (I think it is actually marinara sauce from Johnny Carino’s….it is so good!).  I hope they don’t run out before I get there this time!

Dec

1

Pinch, Punch

By Leesa Gabel

Pinch, Punch, First day of the month!! (that counts for my brothers, Nathan and Bobby — and my Dad — GOT YOU FIRST!!!) Yes, that’s a wonky English tradition in my family that I can’t even begin to explain. If you’re curious, I suggest you Google it. Moving on…..if it’s the first of the month, then that means there’s 1 month and 9 days left until the marathon!! And 24 days to my birthday!!! Oh…and Christmas!!!! Woo Hoo!!!

After a great Thanksgiving with our families in St. Louis we’re back home and have started our Christmas decorating. It’ll take a few days. Craig stayed home with Ashlee today (she had a rough night, but is doing much better) and managed to get all the Christmas tubs down from the attic and put up the tree!! The kids and I started decorating it tonight — it’s a slow process for me because I have to pause and think about the story behind each ornament. Each one has a story to tell — it’s my hope to put them all into a book for the kids to enjoy for years to come. Perhaps making the thought a reality should be my New Year’s Resolution (well, one of).

I don’t think I’ve fully recovered from waking at 4am on Black Friday so I could get out there and help the economy (it was totally worth the lack of sleep — I had a great time shopping with my Mom, second-mom Janice, and my sister-in-law Kim). I’m still tired though. And I fear that I’m not going to be able to ward off the colds that Craig and Ashlee have. Suddenly germs concern me. I didn’t get to see my “sister” Tina over Thanksgiving because she has pneumonia (I hope you’re starting to feel better). At first I didn’t see the big deal, but then I thought about it. I know it was hard for her to miss the day, but I really do appreciate her sacrifice for my benefit. Good thing we’ll be back in just 24 days — we’ll get to see her then!!!

OK….my ‘quick post’ turned into a ramble. Better go get some rest!!