Posts Tagged ‘pilgrimage’

L’Chaim: To Life.

March 10, 2015

First, a piece of good news from last week.  I qualified for a new trial, an immunotherapy trial at that.  Some how during the pre-qualifying EKG test for the PRI parameter was good, as well as my blood test.  So I am in for now.

The doctor explained to me how it works.  This new trial involves two drugs: a chemotherapy agent that suppress the growth of tumor and an immunotherapy agent that boost my immune system at the cell level to attack cancer.  Picture this: two wrestlers, one holding the cancer cell in a grapple hold and the other, pumped up with steroids, beating the sh*t out of the cancer.  Hopefully, it works because the chemo drug to be used is for colon cancer, which fits my profile.

I still have to do a final test (CT scan, EKG and blood work) again before starting the treatment which is scheduled on March 30 and 31.  By then I have been weaned out of my previous trial drug and ready.  I pray I pass.

Speaking of prayers, what better place to pray than in Jerusalem and Rome.  I leave for the Holy Land today and I have been looking forward to this trip.  A new journey of self-discovery and prayers.  I am also going there to run the Jerusalem half marathon on Friday, March 13.    Am I ready?  Hardly.  This is one race I am full of anxiety.  Since being “booted” out the trial, my mind has been filled with tumor growths, things to do, and ITB rehabs resulting in half-hearted training.  My longest run so far was 8 miles on the Alter-G at 60% my full weight.  Normally, you need to hit at least 10 miles with confidence for a decent 13.1 (21k) mile finish at full weight.  We will see.  I don’t do well with hills too and that’s Jerusalem for you.  Full or half, marathons are unforgiving; like life.  You take what is given and you just have to have absolute faith to carry you over.  Faith is what I need.  Peace of mind is what I seek.  Prayer is my mantra.

Here is my prayer.

Lord, I am in your ‘hood.  You have walked the well worn trails of Jerusalem and its country side, or perhaps have tried to out run your Roman captors.  I have come far to run, pray, and seek peace within.  If you are there, just carry me across the finish line this one last time.  I carry a big burden in my chest much like the cross You carried on your shoulders.  I asks you keep me safe so I bc can be with my family (for a while longer).

L’chaim! (To Life!)




P.S.  JamieM (Novacare), this one is for you…and Alice the Alter-G.

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The road to salvation: Jerusalem and Rome

February 8, 2015

TThe road to salvation goes through Jerusalem.  I am going to Jerusalem to run the a half-marathon on March 13.  Sound crazy, but I am.  As a pilgrim, I have never been to Jerusalem.

I have always wanted to go to the Holy Land.  My mom has been there on a pilgrimage tour many years ago with my aunt, so seeing the Holy Land has always been in the back of my mind.  My conviction to go was further strengthen by the uncertainty of living with cancer (see my previous post The Uncertain Furture).  If not now: When?

With the restrictive schedule of my chemo treatments, a window of opportunity is coming mid-March, when I have one-week break from treatment.  But it is not that simple, especially mine.  All the stars have to align to make this pilgrimage run happen.  First, while most marathon races around the world are run on weekends, Saturdays or Sundays, it is not in the Jewish state of Israel.  They have Sabbath, so March 13 falls on Friday or for the superstitious Friday the 13th.  I have treatment on March 11 and have to travel.

Then there is my injured foot, the still recovering left ITB injury, and I have not run outside or on a treadmill since October last year when I fractured my foot.  So why, you may ask, should that stop me from getting to the starting line of a 13.1 mile race in one of most sacred places in the world.  What have I got to lose? I already got cancer in my lungs, have lost half my liver and a gallbladder; I have an embolized spleen, and expect to change clinical trails soon to stop the trending growth of my lung nodules.  WTF.

I called my clinical trial nurse, LindaJ to “beg” and “pleaded” my insane case to go on a “holy” pilgrimage.

The company (that sponsors the trial) said it will only allow a one-day adjustment.  You can have your treatment one-day ahead.”  Done.  I’ll take it.  Thank you.

Next, I called my physical therapist JamieM of Novacare and told her of my idea of running the Jeruasalem Half.

What? Are you crazy?  That is so cool!  Do you realize we got less than six-weeks to work with?”  She did not exactly boosted by confidence.  I told her it is just one my moment of weakness and succumb to a dumb-ass idea, but I need help.  

We got to get you quickly on the Alter-G.”  Alter what?  And that we did.  Wow!  I am so in love with that machine I named her Alice.  You would not believe the immediate endorphin rush I got the first time I use it; especially after so many months of not running.  I felt so alive.  Oh, Alice I love you.

Since I am off on a pilgrimage or on the road to salvation, I might as well complete it by going to Rome to see the Pope on the way back.  If I don’t get to see the Pope, I would like to attend Sunday mass at St. Peter’s Basilica.  Like Jerusalem, it will be my first time to see Rome (but not Italy).  Also, like Jerusalem they will be running the Rome marathon on the weekend (March 22) my wife and I will be there.

Hmmm?  Is this a sign for me?  Are the stars aligning again?

Shalom.  Ciao.

P.S. My wife will be running the 10K in Jerusalem too.  This weekend we did 5.5 miles at the lakefront and it was beautiful.

Alter G running1

Getting high on life!


Training for Jerusalem Half on my new love, Alice.

Training for Jerusalem Half on my new love, Alice.

Beautiful weekend run.  We did 5.5 miles.

Beautiful weekend run. We did 5.5 miles.




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