You are currently browsing the blog archives for May, 2009.



One Year

By Leesa Gabel

One year ago today I learned that I have leukemia. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. A blood cancer.

What I remember most about the day was coming home. Our neighbor, Steve, stopped by on his way home from work. He and Craig were chatting about their rough day. I told them that I could top their days. Craig knew what was coming, poor Steve had no clue about the bomb that was about to come out of my mouth. I just blurted out that I have cancer. Talk about a conversation stopper.

The past year has been a roller coaster ride to say the least. Having leukemia has changed my life, but for the better. It was the wakeup call I’d needed to take control of my health. It brought Craig and me closer together as a couple and it’s brought some very wonderful and dear people into our lives. I’ve learned who my true friends are — the ones I couldn’t get through this without. It helped me see just how blessed my life is. I’ve witnessed grace firsthand.

Sure I’ve had the ‘why me’ days….the days when I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. But it could have been worse. And the sick and tired feelings passed. I’ve had more good days than bad days. And I’ve started something that I never thought I’d do — marathon participation! I do them not for the cool t-shirts, I do them because I still can. I have cancer, it doesn’t have me. Even though I’m in remission, I know one day it will come back. I’m ready for it. I’m ready to fight it once again.

I think my biggest accomplishment this past year was my decision to join Team in Training (shaving my head is a close second). Being a part of that group changed my life. It showed me the compassionate side of people…of complete strangers. It gave me purpose at a time when I could have easily succumbed to my circumstances. Sure I didn’t cross the finish line at Disney, but at least I crossed the start line!!! That’s like giving the finger to cancer and telling it where to go — plus it came with a cool t-shirt and a kickin’ medal!!

On our desk there is an award that I received. It was given to me by a very dear friend, Tom Coones. It’s the Jared Coones ‘Never Give Up’ award. It’s a daily reminder of  how I want to live my life — never giving up!!!




By Leesa Gabel

For some odd reason Craig and I both woke up before 6:30am on Sunday and Monday. Our two days to sleep in and we didn’t!! We figured if we couldn’t sleep we might as well get stuff done and number one on the list was yard work. So by 7am each morning we were outside with gloves on and pruners in hand. I even wielded an ax for a short time – with no resulting injury to myself or others. J  Sunday was spent working on the front yard. Monday was spent in the backyard. In cleaning out the abandoned garden from last year I discovered that we have carrots growing!

By Sunday evening my body was turning against me, reminding me just how unused it really is. I think the worse pain is in my hands. I can’t even squeeze the toothpaste without winching.

I know I need to push through this soreness, but I can’t decide what to do — walk or swim. Perhaps both.

Hospital Hill 5K is just 10 days away!!



Like father, like son

By Leesa Gabel

Craig won’t be the only member of our household competing in his first triathlon come June. Alex has decided to sign up for the Kids Hy-Vee Triathlon!! It’s a quick 100 meter swim, 1 mile bike ride and a 1 mile run. I’m excited for them both!! Alex will have a great summer story to share when he returns to school in the fall — with a medal handed to him by Shawn Johnson.

Ashlee and I have a year to get ready so we can compete next June. She needs to learn to swim and ride a bike without training wheels. The running she’ll be a natural at. I need to work on endurance.

Our lives are difinitely going in a direction that I never imagined. :)



Long fun weekend

By Craig Gabel

Alex celebrated his 10 birthday yesterday.  We had a fun weekend at the T-Bones game on Saturday night followed up by a sleep over with a few of his school friends.  We had a fun time and mom and dad slept most of the day Sunday recovering.  Monday was his actually birthday and I volunteered at his school as a Watchdog.  Watchdogs are basically dads of students who come in and play security guard for the day.  It was a fun day since it was also field day.  I spent the entire day outside watching all the kids play games and have a great time.  Now today I have a really bad head cold or something.  I am stuffed up and my whole body is achy…yuck!  I haven’t trained much at all since my swimming days last week.  Hope to get back on it later this week even though the hip is still feeling really sore and tight.



Loving the swim

By Craig Gabel

Since there is no running or cycling for me this week I have been exclusively in the pool.  Tuesday night I knocked out 2 miles in about 59 minutes.  That felt really good.  Last night I knocked out 2.4 miles in about 1:15.  That felt even better.  I will keep on the swimming for the next few days to keep my caridio going and work on my upper body muscles.  Plus I dropped another 2% on my weight loss.  Hopefully I can keep rolling down this path and make that wetsuit a bit more tolerable come race day.



Personal Challenge

By Craig Gabel

It’s been a little over 2 weeks since I announced my 60 pound challenge.  A few of you have expressed interest in tracking your progress on this site but no challenges other than my own have been posted.  I know I like to put it out there so I am held accountable.  I like it when I get feedback from readers asking about my progress and giving me encouragement.  Do you need some motivation?  Do you need some accountability to help you reach your personal goal?  Jump on the bandwagon.  Let’s help each other.  As of today I am at 10% of my personal goal.  You could be here as well if you’d put your goal out in the public eye.  Come on and help me and I can help you.  We can achieve anything together.  Your goal can be anything.  Weight loss, lose some inches, alter your diet by giving something up, etc…  Little steps make a collective difference over time.  You have to start somewhere.  Are you game?



Training Hiatus

By Craig Gabel

I am going on a training hiatus…well sort of.  I have now seen 4 different doctors and numerous visits to all of them.  All have lead to the conclusion that this hip thing I am still experiencing almost 4 weeks after my first ever marathon is all due to an over exertion of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, etc in my hip area.  I have nothing abnormal showing up on my hip x-ray so thankfully there is no bone structure issues and no surgery options to even talk about…thank goodness!  So my recovery going forward is to stay on my primary physician ordered Celebrex for the inflammation for the next 4 weeks, the orthopedic surgeon prescribed cortisone pill for the next week, the chiropractic Active Release stretching from Dr Jesse and to take a week off from running and cycling.  So it’s all about the swimming.  I love to swim so that’s  good thing.  To me it is relaxing and yet I get my strength training and cardio.  Hopefully a week from now I can write about my miraculous recovery.  :)



Weekend 5K recap

By Leesa Gabel

Saturday’s 5K was ok. Let it be known — I hate hills!!! I’m sure I wouldn’t have thought it too bad had I actually been training for it. I’m so thankful that I ran into Lori before the start. It was nice to see her cheering me on throughout the course….especially at the end. But I was so frustrated at my poor finish that I walked straight to my car. I think I might have even walked right past Craig. He missed my finish by just a few minutes — we met at my car and I gave him a recap. The best part of the morning….going to Panera just like we used to after TNT training.

Sunday’s 5K should have been a lot more fun. But due to the pain I inflicted upon myself on Saturday I was slow….and in pain!! Lauren and Sue were so good to walk at my slow pace. I didn’t miss Craig – with the kids – at the finish. He took pictures, Ashlee had her pom-poms and Alex wore his “My Mom Rocks” t-shirt. Afterwards was Starbucks with my best friends. I think a fun new Mother’s Day tradition was just started!!

I’m in pain today. I’m walking like an old lady. Shins are killing me. I was delusional to think that I could just pick up where I left off. But then, I don’t even remember where I left off.

So….I guess I’m starting over…..and that’s OK……



5K + 5K = 10K

By Leesa Gabel

Tomorrow is the Corporate Challenge 5K out at Shawnee Mission Park. Honestly, I just want to get it over with. For some reason it’s making me nervous. Maybe because I’m going out there on my own. I don’t like crowds much. Craig has TNT training so he probably won’t make it out there until the end….I’m slow, he’ll have time. But still. I am looking forward to finding Lori’s face in the crowd!! :)

But…what I’m looking forward to the most is a Mother’s Day 5K out at Corporate Woods! I’m going to register tonight — it was a last-minute addition to my calendar. Who knew I’d be excited about getting up early on Mother’s Day and going for a 3-mile walk and passing up my usual breakfast in bed. But I am!! The fact that my two best friends will be walking with me is what’s got me all excited. Plus I get another t-shirt!! One that Craig won’t have!! HA!!

Maybe this weekend is the kick-start I’ve needed. It darn well better be!!



Three More Days

By Leesa Gabel

There are three more days until I do a 5K as part of our company’s Corporate Challenge team. I’m nervous. I haven’t had a chance to really walk the course yet.  Here’s the course map:

It’s out at a local park – Shawnee Mission Park. Check in starts at 7am. Not a bad time, plus the weather should be darn near perfect. I have 60 minutes to finish the course. Which, unfortunately, is hilly….I hate hills. Ugh.

Guess I’m just nervous because this is the first event I’ve done since Disney…and we all know how that turned out.