Help me honor my husband's memory by joining me in the Virtual 5k or by making a donation.
If you would like to join the walk, register on this site. An instruction/entry packet will be mailed to you. Meet at Aqua Gardens near the boat ramp on Sat., April 24. The time will be noon unless we need to plan around the weather.
To donate, click the link on this page.
Feel free to share away!
After months of primary care visits, Keith was diagnosed with this debilitating disease at 47 years-old. By the time he was diagnosed, he was in renal failure and nearly paralyzed from bone fragments cutting into his spinal cord. He was admitted to ICU, rushed to radiation, and started chemo. We spent that Thanksgiving in the hospital. That was the first of many hospital stays. That spring, he underwent an autogenic stem cell transplant. With that procedure and chemo maintenance, he was in remission for 18 months. After that, his cancer markers rose and fell. For the next 4 years, he lived with pain that hovered around a 5, nausea, fatigue, confusion (chemo brain), anemia, blood and platelet transfusions, countless rounds of chemo cocktails, and plasmapheresis for kidney damage. We spent our last two wedding anniversaries in the hospital. On January 13th, my birthday, we were told Keith had 1 to 3 weeks to live. We had exhausted all of our resources. We were out of options. Not only was the clinical trial we had been praying for not going to open up, but he would no longer be a viable candidate because his markers were too high. We notified family and friends and called hospice. The next couple of weeks still seemed fairly normal with the exception of the itching. As the kidneys failed more, toxins built up that caused severe itching and nearly drove him nuts! Near the end of the 2nd week, he stopped answering calls and texts and hadn't been on Facebook. Partly from withdrawal but mostly from the muscle spasms and tremors. Again, from the toxin build up. He couldn't hold the phone and was losing his fine motor skills. At this point, he had a toddler sippy cup in case he needed a drink when I wasn't in the room. By the 3rd week, there were significant changes. There was no more denying or wondering if the doctor could maybe possibly be wrong. By the end of the 3rd week, he hadn't eaten for days, the muscle tremors intensified, he stopped drinking, couldn't get out of bed, and slept most of the time. When he was awake, he was very confused and made little sense. I slept in a recliner next to his bed and watched and listened for his breathing like you do a newborn. I watched my husband of 30 years, my sons' dad, and my girls' papaw slip away. My husband of 30 years, best friend through good and very bad times, the man who got on my nerves so badly sometimes, the man that never missed work and had always worked so hard to provide for us and knew how to fix nearly everything had each foot in two different worlds. His arms that used to be so strong that veins popped out of his forearms, now looked like a fragile tiny 90 year old man. He was dying before my eyes and I couldn't fix it. We lost him a little at a time over the last 4 and 1/2 years until he took his last breath 4 weeks and 1 day after the doctor said take him home, make him comfortable, call your family, and get your affairs in order.
I want to honor him by raising money toward research so others can, not only, keep their loved ones alive longer, but most importantly, discover better treatments that give patients a better quality of life!
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