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

Grunewald Running with Cancer Athletics

In this May 8, 2017, photo, Gabriele Grunewald trains at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. May 8, 2017, St. Paul, Minn. This month, middle-distance runner Gabriele Grunewald has reserved for racing. Next month, chemo. She’s delaying her treatments just a little bit in her bid to qualify for the U.S. track and field championships in late June, which she intends to race _ should she make the time standard _ even if she’s in the middle of her treatments. (Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via AP)


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.