by Carrie Adams
Jim Goeke-Morey was given news that most would consider a death sentence. In 2009, he was told he had cancer and the tumor that couldn’t completely be removed surgically was going to force him to undergo a series of additional treatments with uncertain results. Not one to take the news lying down, Jim, with his wife Marcie by his side, decided to fight the cancer and he still fights today. With a new approach to health and a quest for bigger and badder challenges, Goeke-Morey is marking the three year battle with a Spartan Race in Leesburg, VA. And while he isn’t cured, he’s stable and optimistic about his future. Here is his story….
The Mid-Atlantic Super Spartan race is coming up this weekend. I am entering this race because it looks like an awesomely fun challenge. More importantly, this race is a gift to my family and me. It will continue to prove that I am not just a brain cancer fighter, but also a brain cancer warrior.
In August 2009, at 39 years old, an MRI revealed that I had a brain tumor that needed to be removed. Following the surgery the news got worse: the tumor was brain cancer. I sat speechless with my wife, Marcie, in the doctor’s office. The surgeon was not able to remove the entire tumor, which meant I would need radiation and chemotherapy. The prognosis was grim. After a few days of shock and soul searching, we gained clarity. We would fight this cancer with a vengeance!
I knew that I needed to be in better physical shape to fight through the radiation and chemo. I was not horribly out of shape, but I was overweight and exercised infrequently. That had to change. As soon as the neurosurgeon gave me the official clearance, I began to exercise slowly. Ironically, I had ruptured my Achilles tendon a week before the brain tumor discovery. I may be the only person to have had Achilles surgery and brain surgery in the space of a week. The Achilles rehab actually became a focus that took my mind off my brain cancer.
Throughout, my incredible wife and wonderful daughters gave me the support and space and patience I needed. I continued working out through the three months of daily radiation and chemotherapy.
As the calendar moved to the summer of 2010, still taking monthly chemotherapy, I was back on my bike again and doing laps in the pool. We decided to mark the first anniversary in a meaningful way. So, my wife and I teamed up to complete a half-iron triathlon. I swam and biked while she did the half-marathon. (Her first!). It was powerful to have come so far in a year and to have done it together.
I continued exercising and added a new sport in 2011: I raced in several cyclocross races. Despite finishing close to the back in the race, I had a ball in the mud and the cold!
Now this year, I am feeling even stronger and in better shape. I have completed two years of chemotherapy–the maximum the doctors will allow. I still have cancer, but the tumor is stable. This Spartan Race is a fitting way to mark the third anniversary of my battle against brain cancer. I have been a fighter from the start, but now it’s time to be a warrior. My wife will be right beside me in this race with our girls cheering us before they do their own Spartan Kids Race.
So you may see me on Sunday at the race. I will not be near the front of the race but I will be fighting through until the end. Aroo!
Want to join Jim and his family in Virginia? There is still time to register! Get signed up HERE.