Saturday, June 30, 2007

Good training run, Dori gets a special visitor

Last night, I skipped my training run because my good friend, Al DeNunzio, treated me to a few beers and some grub at Bosco's in Hillsboro Village, right down the street from the hospital. Al had swung by to see Dori, and then we headed for some cold ones. Good beer, good conversation, as always, with Al, who was my next door neighbor, senior year second semester at VU.

I woke up this morning, fueled up with some fruit and a bagel, and headed to the Y. I ran 5.62 miles in 45:10, or an 8:02 pace. I was going to do a 10K, but hit the reset button by mistake. No worries, I did some speed work after the run - four 1/4 milers, instead, at a 1:37 pace. I projected my 10K would have been a 49:22 at a 7:57 pace, if fumble thumbs didn't hit the wrong button. My heart rate was fine, and I felt good the whole time, even after several beers last night. Training is going well so far for Virginia.

Dori called me yesterday while Al and I were at Bosco's. She said I would never guess who came to see her in her hospital room. Coach Tim Corbin from Vanderbilt baseball!!!! I'm going to post later about Coach Corbin and Vanderbilt baseball (remember I warned you a few posts ago!), but I first want to read what Dori puts on CaringBridge later today. She's planning a post as I write this. Stay tuned. GO DORES!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Tanked, but recharging

The kids are spending the night at friends' houses tonight. It couldn't come at a better time. I'm pretty beat. The down time will give me the opportunity to recharge my batteries.

I'm in Dori's room. Been here six good hours. Dori has been concerned by a temperature ranging from 99-100, but the nurses and docs say she's doing fine. She just finished walking half a mile.

She's also doing much better when Uncle Fear and Aunt Uncertainty pay a visit. One thing that's helping is she's keeping her mind occupied. Having a good cry and letting it out once in awhile is OK too. She called me late last night to do just that.

This morning, we watched the episode, "Diversity Day," from our fav show, The Office.
Even better was watching a DVD her Dad left of footage from Kathryn's and Will's first few years. How quick we forget what they once were. They were so precious! Still are.

Dori's dear friend, Garrett Mastin, is here from Charlotte. They were sorority sisters at Vanderbilt. They're talking right now about PPOs, HR rules and the like. Riveting. JK. Garrett and Dori talk effortlessly about alot of things.

I am going to force myself to run today, but it will be a short one. Still a bit tired from the 10-miler yesterday. Have a great weekend, everyone, and please don't forget to help the Leukemia Society, if you haven't already (link on the left).


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Running time is my time right now

Since Dori was diagnosed with leukemia nine days ago, which seems like a few moons ago, I have had precious little time to myself. I've either been at the hospital, with the kids, cleaning or running errands, on the phone with our friends, or answering e-mails.

The good news is I am equipped for this. Through my faith, military training, good health and good parenting, I'm focused on one mission - seeing Dori to remission and a cure. This blog and CaringBridge have been as therapeutic as some of the wonderful phone calls I've had with friends. My training runs for the upcoming Virginia Beach Half Marathon have been equally as therapeutic.

My run today was 10 miles. I was going to go eight, but I saw Dori get on the bike for her 20-minute ride. She pushed herself, however, to 29 minutes - all with a mask on, breathing her own hot, foggy breath. Pretty impressive, if you ask me. When I went to see her with the kids this afternoon, she was back on the bike for another 15-minute ride. She said if this is what it takes to get better, she will do it.

I hopped on the treadmill at the Green Hills Y today feeling good. After four miles, however, I started to tire. Damn. I had brought an energy gel, but had intended to use it at mile six or seven. Oh, well, I figured ... down the hatch a little early and see how far you can go.

I averted my eyes from the mile and time indicators on the treadmill, and actually switched them off. I cranked up the iPod and heard some great "Dori" tunes, like my favorite - Right Down the Line by Gerry Rafferty - and Got a Hold on Me by Christine McVie. Good running songs. When I checked the indicators again, I was at 8.25 miles. "Good job!" I said to myself.

Even though I was on fumes, I had a little drill sergeant talk with myself and said I will go 10 and I will finish strong. My last two miles were faster, and I even sprinted the last half mile to ensure I ran under a 9:00 pace. Final time: 1:29:59 and I wasn't wheezing after the run. My pulse hit 165 at the end, but was back at 126 one minute after the run. I'm sore and tired, but pleased. Treadmill runs are easier runs, but I feel like I'm not far off from a good half marathon if I stay on it.

Yesterday, I did some strength conditioning. I hadn't lifted or done sit-ups in two weeks, but did OK, especially on stomach stuff. Hamstring and legwork was tough, but I'm glad I did it. About six weeks ago, when life was a lot simpler, the gals at the Donelson Y, Suzanne and Harriet, gave me some new training exercises. These have helped me significantly, leading to better times and quicker recovery. Glad I listened to them.

Please say some more prayers for Dori and all leukemia patients. Ask them to get strength from the Lord.


Healthy Browns ... Healthy America?

I am in Dori's hospital room ... she's getting her vitals done 20 minutes after an impressive 30-minute bike ride. BP 92/78, pulse 70, temp is 99.6. Dori's appetite is still good. She's eating a lot of saltines to help with queeziness, too.

I am so proud of her, watching her on that bike. Her mask that she must wear makes it hot around her mouth and nose, but she went right past 20 minutes and made 30.

Dori's lifestyle amid being a working mom has helped her be ready for this fight with leukemia. We talk a lot about many things ... One topic is how many Americans are ruining their lives by being unhealthy (little to no exercise, fast food runs and unbalanced meals). I am glad Dori and I adjusted our path many years ago ... It has helped our lives, our children's lives, shoot, even our marriage. When America addresses its health crisis on the preventative side, it will get the hyperinflation under control; if it does not, it will continue to wreak havoc on our economy and indviduals' lives. Sorry about the soap box, but that's what blogs are for sometimes.

I am headed to the YMCA soon for a treadmill training run. I'd like to get in 10 miles today, my long run for the week. A cold front comes through soon, so maybe I'll get another one in outside this weekend.

We're already up to $2,000 raising money for LLS, and I haven't even issued a call to action. I think we will blow away our initial $50,000 goal. Thanks to those who have already generously contributed and please be ready to spread the word for Dori and these other patients up here on the 11th floor at Vanderbilt. You would be touched by what goes on up here on a daily basis.

God bless and love to all. Jim

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dori is having another good day

I am back in Dori's room, and Big Rabbit is having another good day. I call Dori Big Rabbit sometimes because our daughter, Kathryn, is our "Rabbit." Kathryn loved stuffed rabbits when she was little, especially Ba-Ba the Bunny that Dori's friend Jan Naifeh gave her.

She feels good, and her last chemo bag is winding down. Nurse Susan just took her vitals. BP is 110 over 68, temp is 98.9 and pulse is 60. Susan knows I am blogging about this and joked the refrigerator temp is 37 degrees! Dr. Greer stopped by earlier and said Dori is tolerating chemo better than most.

I am proud of how Dori has taken care of herself over the years. It is now serving her well. We eat well as a family, and Dori gets in 3 runs a week through some good hills.

Dori just looked out the window and saw Centennial Hospital where Kathryn was born in 1998.

Her, Dad, Rick, and stepmom Carol are now here. The kids and I are going to dinner with them tonight at Carabba's. We love Carabba's! Good carbs! Also here is Joseph Collins from the Cathedral to give Dori Communion. He says he sees chemo patients a lot and Dori looks very good for someone getting chemo.

Communion time ... gotta go.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dori has a new room!

I am sitting in Dori's new hospital room, which she moved into two hours ago. Nurses Blanche and Susan, my sister, Anne, and Mom and I helped her move in.

The new room is HUGE!!! The view is also much better (you can see downtown, surrounding hills, the whole campus and those four stately Carmichael Towers). We saved all the family photos and put on the walls. The old room was right under the helo pad and had no view. It was depressing, Dori said. She loves the new one!

Will post more on Dori's CaringBridge site later today. This has been Dori's best day of true chemo, by far. She is in good spirits and has laughed and smiled more today than the last three days combined. She got in a quick walk and two bike rides, which is very good. Heart rate is at 44 BPM and temperature is normal.

Dori's sister, Kathy, and Mom ("Happy") are headed back to Cincinnati. Her Dad and his wife, Carol, will be here soon for a visit.

I got in a run this morning while Kathy and Happy were here to watch the kids before I took them to camp. Ran 5.6 miles at 5 a.m. It was muggy! 85% humidity and 71 degrees. Completed in 51 soaking minutes (9:17 pace I think). I felt sluggish but that's part of training some days.

This room ROCKS! Jim

Monday, June 25, 2007

So what's all the fuss about running?

Like many guys who get married, it's easy to become less active over time and less disciplined about what we put in our bodies. As my friend, John Marcheschi, said recently, it's easy to "morph a bit" after college.

About three years ago, I decided to make better choices and get more active. Mirrors don't lie, ya know? So I began to run more regularly. Last year, I took the plunge and ran two half marathons, both in 2 hours, 6 minutes. My mom noted this was so unlike me, but she was proud of the effort and discipline. Dori was a huge support during training, as were many friends.

I was happy to finish those races but displeased with my times. This year, I trained again for a better race, but woke up feeling lousy the morning of the Country Music Marathon. I finished in 2:09. I knew at Mile Two I had issues. I finished only because I wanted to honor my friend, Scott McConnell, who was in the middle of Round Two with cancer. He's in remission, BTW.

I always chill out in the summers because of the heat, but for some odd reason (maybe disgust about three mediocre races), I decided to train this summer for the Virginia Beach Half Marathon on Sept. 2. I used to live in Virginia Beach as a Navy lieutenant and have been working over my buddy and old shipmate, Dave Baum, to join me. The weekend I had planned was really meant for racing and then fun and R&R. I especially love Harpoon Larry's bar and seafood joint ( and still plan to swing by Sunday night after the race.

But as you know, there's been a change in plans. This race isn't about me or R&R anymore. Dori was diagnosed with leukemia Tuesday, June 19. After we heard this news and cried ourselves silly, Dori said she remembered we received a solicitation in the mail to help raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at Virginia through Team in Training. As I've shared before, I don't believe in coincidences.

So I'm running for Dori now, not me. Thanks to family pitching in last week, I was able to train four days. It was the only time all week I had to myself. Here's last week's training recap, which I'll be posting mostly as a personal log but also for fellow runners who are interested (quite a few of us are kind of goofy about miles, times, pace and conditions).

Monday - 5.5 miles, 46:10, 8:23 pace, 83 degrees, mixed to hilly
Wednesday - 6.5 miles, 1:02:00, 9:32 pace, 87 degrees (midday), mixed
Saturday - 8.0 miles, 1:16:50, 9:36 pace, 77 degrees, hilly
Sunday - 4.35 miles, 36:30, 8:23 pace, 82 degrees, mixed to flat

Total miles: 24.35 miles

Welcome to Run for Dori

Welcome, friends and guests. "Run for Dori" is dedicated to my wife, Dori Brown, who is battling AML, or acute myelogenous leukemia. Dori's battle is detailed at another site we set up recently at CaringBridge, which is linked on this home page.

My purpose with this blog is to detail my own thoughts and observations that are specific to Dori's situation. The CaringBridge site is all about Dori. I also intend to use this blog as a vehicle to raise a meaningful amount of money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help identify cures. As Dori says, "We have a new cause."

I'll also address things like my training for the Sept. 2 Virginia Beach Half Marathon, how our friends are helping and the like. We have two wonderful children - Kathryn, 9, and Will, 7, - so expect a little about them, as well as things of interest to me and us like Vanderbilt athletics and current events when I have time to observe.

Thanks for visiting Run for Dori. I didn't name it Running for Dori for a reason - I want you all to continue helping Run for Dori any way that you can.

Dori and I appreciate your prayers and love. Jim