Gabe Grunewald’s husband shares ‘miracle’ story from ICU

AP
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Gabriele Grunewald, the U.S. 1500m runner who has battled cancer for a decade, continues to fight after being rushed to a hospital intensive-care unit Saturday with lactate and pH levels “incompatible with life,” her husband wrote.

“She was relatively unaware and at peace,” her husband, Justin, an internal medicine doctor, posted on Instagram. “I made the hardest decision of my life with her family and brother to move her to comfort care. I actually got the opportunity to say goodbye to her alone and inform her she was dying, at that time she did not seem to be comprehending much. Shortly after I told her she was dying she took a deep breath and yelled ‘NOT TODAY.'”

The next morning, Grunewald’s labs had normalized and she ate a Shake Shack burger out of the ICU, according to the Instagram.

“Talking to all my doctor colleagues they have never seen another patient survive similar circumstances,” Justin wrote. “It can only be explained as divine intervention or miracle. Today was the best day of my life.”

In 2009, Grunewald was first diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare form of cancer in her salivary gland, which led to surgery. A year later, it was found in her thyroid and she had that removed, along with receiving radioactive iodine treatment.

Then, for the next several seasons, she was symptom-free and almost made the 2012 Olympic team, finishing fourth in the 1500m at trials.

In August 2016, a liver tumor is found, confirming a metastatic recurrence of adenoid cystic carcinoma. It was believed she was cancer-free after the surgery, but a March 2017 follow-up scanned showed small tumors in her liver.

She raced between chemotherapy sessions at the June 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships.

“I’m trying to be the best example that I can be of somebody who’s trying to persevere through something difficult,” Grunewald said after her last race two years ago. “I’m super grateful for the support, and I hope I can be back in the future and not running on chemo and be cancer free — that’s the goal.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

View this post on Instagram

***Read whole post*** Yesterday was the worst day of my life. I woke up next to my wife to a group of alarmed nurses rushing us to the ICU. Her morning labs had come back and “they did not look good.” @gigrunewald seemed a little confused but otherwise fine. Upon arriving to the ICU I reviewed her labs with her team of internist and critical care doctor and immediately ran out of the hospital crying. For medical professionals her lactate was 23 and pH was 6.9, values incompatible with life. They started fluid resuscitation, placed a PICC line gave two units of blood and her numbers had worsened with a lactate of 26. She was relatively unaware and at peace. I made the hardest decision of my life with her family and brother to move her to comfort care. I actually got the opportunity to say goodbye to her alone and inform her she was dying, at that time she did not seem to be comprehending much. Shortly after I told her she was dying she took a deep breath and yelled “NOT TODAY.” We went to bed shortly after I felt for her radial pulse all night on her arm with her mother and @abigailande sleeping on her other side. At around 8am when the critical care doctor came in the room Gabe woke me up because she wanted to order breakfast. After stopping cares most of her labs had normalized on their own and she is now eating a @shakeshack burger out of the ICU. Talking to all my doctor colleagues they have never seen another patient survive similar circumstances. It can only be explained as divine intervention or miracle. Today was the best day of my life. Thank you sooo much for the prayers. Also again thanks to the best friend group in the world for literally getting here from multiple states within 12 hours and to my bro @mattg_nearthesea for making the fastest trip ever from Cayman to MN! #bravelikegabe #runningonhope #nottoday

A post shared by Justin Grunewald (@justingrunewald1) on