Posts Tagged ‘DetermiNation’

Go D-Nation

April 19, 2011

MG. LOL. LOF. I was smiling all the way. What started out as a cold and drizzling day turned out to be one of my most memorable run. I am smiling as I write this post. Tell me what’s wrong with this picture.

Yeah, that’s right! Bib #1 and #2 came in overall at 1259 and 1260, respectively, while the winner is bib#3 came first and bib #4 came in second. How can a seeded bib number be beaten badly and only manage to beat two others who are senior citizens.

Chad (Ware)…tsk…tsk.  You put this “Kenyan” to shame.  Ha!  That is so funny!

My wife and I came in last in our age group too…haha!

This is all because of Noreen and Novacare.  I was invited as the starter runner and guest speaker for their annual Lakefront 10 miler and I felt honored. The last time I ran Lakefront 10 was April 2009 and came in at 1:47:48 (see my post April 26 ‘The results are in…‘).  I was on remission then.

Last year, 2010, I got invited to be their started runner but my liver surgery got in the way.  So when Noreen asked me again this year, there was no way I was going to miss it even if it was my chemo week.

My wife kept on asking if I was going to run the whole 10 miles in my condition.  I think she was more scared of the 10 miles but she saw my DetermiNation to finish.

It turned out to be one of my most memorable and fulfilling day.  What got me was I made so many people happy along the way.  When they saw my seeded bib #1 bringing up the rear they would do a double-take.


What the..?

Go #1 go!

That is so cool #1. Oh, there’s #2 also.


Go D-Nation you are #1.”

Those are just some of the cheers my wife and I would receive as we bring up the rear. Then, my wife would just reply to them.

“We got lost!” How funny.

As the pack of runners were returning from the turnaround point, we meet them on the shared pathway. They see #1 and #2 waddling behind with my ear-to-ear smile.

“I am watching you and will be coming up behind you soon!” For a moment, they would break a smile from their strained faces. I love it.

When finally we reach the turnaround point, there were no more runners it was the water station volunteers and medical aids who were cheering us on.  American Cancer Society volunteers were manning one of the aid station so cheered us big time.

Our friend Elizabeth ran with us from the start and kept us company. Taking pictures of us and posting it in Facebook as she was running (that is just so wrong).  She and my wife were so animated in their conversations that they forget about me at times. One time I stopped for my energy gel and water, and they just kept on chatting and running.  They forgot about me.

But it was during those moments that I became Bo the Kenyan running the Boston. I chased down my two ‘pacers’ who were running a punishing pace of 13:30 minute a mile for the last 3 miles.  Yeah, baby. Bring it on.  Oh, I feel the pain now.  My heartbeat rate was up but got to kick those chemo toxins out my system.

Do you think my pacers are feeling the pain?

You betcha! Their animated talking and chatting had slowed down a bit but their laughter was still there. What’s up with that? I think they are playing mind games with me.

But I am BIB #1.  D-Nation! I am running full-throttle at break neck speed.  Woohoo.  Everyday is a good.  During my training runs, I have not gone beyond 5 miles but today this 10 miler is mine!

Elite runners #1 and #2


PS:  I am going to frame my Bib #1.  Also, a great female marathoner champion passed today of cancer, Grete Waitz.  She is the true #1.


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There it goes again.

April 6, 2011

irst it was just a few strands of hair, now there are a bunch of them. In the shower, on my pillow, and in my shirt. It is my normal cycle of shedding as a side-effect from the chemo.

“Stop touching it!” My wife tells me. “Just leave it alone. It is just temporary and it will grow back.”

Yes, it does grow back. I get fresh set of hair when it does. Good thing is that I don’t go bald from this shedding. My hair just gets thin, especially on the side. Think of it as a self-cleaning oven or my very own self-trimming hair; only it gives me an uneven trim. I will leave it alone.

My first race for 2011 is coming up this weekend, April 10. It will be the 8K Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle. It has become a tradition to run this race since it is the closes thing to a mass start of a marathon. Imagine more than 40,000 people running a short race. By the time the last runner crosses the starting line the finishers are just about to cross the finish.  Last year my whole family ran with me (all six of us) and I was doing full-time chemo in between. This year, it will only be my wife and the youngest, Louie; the others did not make it.

For this year, the plan is to try beat my 19-year old son so I can have a year of bragging rights.  I am not getting any younger or faster so this year is my chance to beat him.  I also have been sabotaging his training plans by tempting him with food so he gains weight and give me fight chance…haha! Last year, he finished in 53 minutes, while came in waddling along in 1:06.  My oncologist is in it with me too because we scheduled my monthly chemo after the race.  I am at my strongest now.  All I need is a bit of luck.

I have been training a lot now, while I see my son has been sleeping and eating.  But he is strong.  This morning he ran 5 miles…gulp!  He did tell me his time.  I think he is playing mind games with me.  I need to run at a 10:30 minute per mile pace just to beat his time last year, assuming he did not improve this year.  My knees would surely complaint since my normal pace is 12:00 to 11:00.  I got to feed him some more fatty food.  Hello Chinese buffet!

Finally, I signed up again to be a charity runner for American Cancer Society – a DetermiNation runner.  I feel complete and have a sense of purpose.  Each year I am overwhelmed by the experience of being a charity runner.  I come across stories of people stricken by cancer or have survived.  I know you will be there with me to share the experience.


PS:  If you wish to support me and give a donation, follow the link above to my personal ACS site.

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Sick people

January 19, 2010

“So many sick people.” A lady beside me commented while seated in the waiting room of Dr. M’s medical office.  I agree.  It was 11:00 am Monday, January 18, and all the seats were taken in the waiting room.  My son, Louie, gave up his seat for an elderly.  The receptionist had to bring out more chairs to accommodate the rest.

I was there to consult with Dr. M, my oncologist, of the constant stomach pain I was having over the weekend.  I was unable to sleep or eat, and was always on narcotic pain medication, Tramadol.  My wife was already worried about my intake of pain meds but it was the only I can get through the night.  What worried me more was my lost of weight, not much (3 lbs) but I cannot go on like this for the next chemo cycle next week.

“Hi, Bo.  We are running late but the doctor will see you.  You okay, sweatie?” Nurse Edith said to me in the waiting room.

“No.” I said.  I was also in their office a week ago Monday complaining of the same stomach pain prior to the start of my first chemo cycle.  I was seen right away since not much people then, but on that day it was different.

I saw a parade of cancer patients coming in, sitting in their infusion chairs, getting infused, then picked up or going home.  A mid-sixty Asian cancer patient staggers to the waiting room after getting infused.  He was frail looking, pale, and thin.  Dr. M helps him take a seat while waiting for his daughter to pick him up.  He asked if he was eating but could only murmur yes.  Dr. M told him to take Ensure if he could not eat.  (Ensure is a life saver!).

“Oh hello.  It is good to see you again.  Happy New Year!” The conversation started at the other end of the room by a 50ish old man who had just entered with his lunch.  He greeted an elder lady accompanied by his son.

“How is your husband?  I sat beside him once during our chemo session.  Wonderful guy.  You in for treatment?” He added.  I remember instances like this at the hospital during my chemo sessions.  I remember meeting this wonderful lady who had more sessions than I did.  She was in high spirit even though her hemoglobin count was low.  This is how we make our bonds.

“He passed” replied the elder lady “I am here for my treatment as well.  I see you are doing well and you even brought your lunch for your chemo session.” The conversation continues but respectful of the life taken by cancer.  Apologies exchanged and jokes were passed.  This how we cope.  All part of the life of a cancer patient.  Shit happens.

Suddenly my stomach pain or worry-stress seems relieved.  As much as I wanted to get well myself, I could not help think of all the pain and little victories of the “sick people” there.  I am among them.  We are in varying stages of our sickness and pain, and each of us has our own way of coping.  Most of the time we are silent and finding the will to survive.

Upon seeing Dr. M., I told him that I saw my primary physician, Dr. O last Friday who prescribed Kapidex but the stomach pain continued at night.  He changed my medication to Carafate and Levsin, and told me to continue to use Tramadol for pain as needed.  I prefer Tramadol because it does not cause constipation but makes you weak.  My body is under a lot of stress with all these chemo drugs and medications.  My room is getting to look like a drug store lined up with different medication bottles but I need to be ready for the next chemo cycle.  This is how we live.


PS: Go ACS – DetermiNation!

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