Kohjiro Kinno /Sports Illustrated

Grunewald was rushed to the hospital on Saturday after her labs showed "values incompatible with life."

By Emily Caron
June 03, 2019

Gabe Grunewald, a professional middle distance runner for Brooks, isn't ready to give up her fight against cancer. Grunewald was rushed to the ICU on Saturday after her labs showed "values incompatible with life." Her husband, Justin, shared the news on social media and started to describe the experience as "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," Justin wrote. "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."

Justin said he and Grunewald's family made the hardest decision of their lives to move Gabe to comfort care upon reviewing their options. Justin said goodbye to Gabe and explained to her that she was dying, but she wasn't satisfied with that answer.

"Shortly after I told her she was dying she took a deep breath and yelled 'NOT TODAY,'" he wrote. "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."

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***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

Grunwald's cancer battle was profiled by Sports Illustrated's Tim Layden in July 2017.

Grunewald was expecting to return to racing in 2018 after 14 months of treatment but pulled out of the event due to medical complications. She last competed at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Sacramento in June 2017 while undergoing chemotherapy. 

Grunewald, 32, has battled cancer four times in her life. Her first cancer diagnosis, adenoid cystic carcinoma on her parotid gland, came in 2009 when she was 22 years old and competing for the University of Minnesota. In 2010, she was diagnosed and treated with thyroid cancer. An Aug. 2016 CT scan on her liver showed a metastatic recurrence of the adenoid cystic carcinoma. She had about half of her liver removed and was believed to be cancer-free following surgery until a March 2018 follow up scan showed small tumors in Grunewald's liver. She started chemotherapy again in June in response and continued to train through the treatment, racing the 1,500 meters at the U.S. Championships.

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