Archive for July 9, 2010

So I’m on a run this morning, big surprise you might say, but I actually do take rest days from time to time, and my mind was focused most of the 36 minutes, 56 seconds on one topic.  Dom.  One of the many things that I really love about running is the solitude and the opportunity to think about whatever topic my mind chooses with virtually no distractions. 

Today there was a small rabbit around mile 2 that caught my eye, and a female runner with a black lab just exiting “puppyhood” bouncing around on the trail just before I hit mile 4, but for the most part the run was pretty uneventful.

As I hit the lake this morning early in my run I thought about covering the same route last summer and how we were just now hearing that Dom was in fact battling cancer.  The lake loop is where the two marathons in 13 day idea struck like lightning last year, so I typically look out over the water and think about Dom on that part of my runs.

The Lake at Brushy Creek Park

Is he home with the kids, at the hospital for treatment or recovery, is he doing better than last week?  A little worse?  What is the next step in the process.  But on days like today I think about what would Dom be doing right now if he was well.  If health was just something “automatic” that Dom could count on being there every day for him, what would he do?  How would he take advantage of that GIFT – which is what our health truly is.

I thought a lot about that this morning as we crept within 8 weeks yesterday of the due date for our first child – a little girl – Landry set to arrive sometime on/near September 2nd.  My mind raced forward to Thanksgiving this year when Dawn, Landry and I will take our first plane ride together to Pittsburgh to visit Dawn’s family as well as Dom and his.

For our reader’s benefit – I will share the Airline and flight numbers from Austin to Houston, Houston to Pittsburgh so you can avoid being on those planes – God have mercy on all of us.

Introducing little miss Landry to Uncle Dom is something that I thought about a lot this morning and something that I pray for quite frankly night after night.

Dom has had a pretty rough go of it over the last two months.  The latest round of chemotherapy aimed at relieving some of the back pain and kidney related urinary issues Dom has been having took a monster toll on our hero.  The dehydration and exhaustion that has followed Dom from his treatments was very difficult this time and he has spent most of the last few weeks going back and forth between hospital stays and brief trips home.

After consulting with his Doctor(s) they decided to take the route of radiation treatments in lieu of more chemotherapy – and that has proven to be very beneficial for Dom.  Pain management has improved and Dom has been able to regain enough strength to make it back home to Val, Sierra and Nico. 

The last year truly has felt like a marathon tracking Dom through this process.  There have been highs, there have been lows.  There have been challenges that were expected all along, there have been challenges that all the preparation in the world could not have made us ready for.

Through it all Dom has been amazingly courageous.  I am truly in awe of his fight and determination and how his spirit while tested, he remains 100% Dom.  Which is about the greatest compliment I could bestow on anyone.

20,000 times visitors have stopped here at Joe Runs for Dom since we started this journey – which is truly amazing.  I can’t thank you enough for all of the love and support you have shown my good friend Dom and quite honestly me over these last few months. 

The notes, well wishes, amazing donations and love for the D’Eramo family has been very humbling – I thank each and every one of you.

Dom my man, you remain in our thoughts and prayers here in Austin.  Not a day goes by when I lace up those shoes that I don’t think about you – and how every mile I run is in honor of you and your fight. 

In the last year you and I have run 171 hours covering 1,406 miles in three countries, 11 states and 21 cities.  We’ve climbed 99,051 feet in elevation and burned more than 147,000 calories.

Early morning run at Wrightsville Beach, NC

We’ve run across the Golden Gate Bridge, Beaches in Santa Monica, Wrightsville, NC and Cancun, MX.  We’ve run the Boston and Pittsburgh Marathons, Raced a half marathon, four 5K’s and will run a 10K race to honor fallen soldiers this coming Thursday night.  We’ve been to Central Park in NY together, run the mountains in Denver, Snow in Buffalo, NY, hills and rain in Birmingham Alabama.

I’ve had you with me every step of the way Dom – thank you for the honor of doing so.  I’ll never have a better running partner than you.

Dom, Val, Sierra and future Steeler Linebacker - Nico