Saturday, July 4, 2015

In the Beginning

A bit of back story is in order for those who don't know our history. Garrett and I are high school sweethearts. Married in 1996. We have three great kids with three very different personalities. Noah is 16, Romy is 13, and Jack is 8. We are planning a month long tour of the United States. A bucket list trip. With G's health a lot is uncertain. This is the perfect way for just the five of us to spend real, quality time together and create what we hope will be lasting memories for all of us.

I realized something was wrong with G several months before his diagnosis. He knew it, too, but didn't want to admit it. For a while we thought he was just over worked and suffering from exhaustion. Looking back, he was probably sick for about two years before the diagnosis. I could really get into a lot here, but I will keep it simple. We ended up in the ER one evening. The doctor there was amazing and knew right away what was wrong with G. Of course he could not give an official diagnosis. That would take an ambulance ride to Baylor Hospital of Dallas, and about four days of testing. Let me tell you, I wouldn't wish that experience on anyone. Many doctors, specialists, nurses and technicians later, we were told, Multiple Myeloma, and Cardiac AL Amyloidosis, causing Congestive Heart Failure. Many people who are diagnosed with cardiac Amyloidosis live less than one year after diagnosis. Feel free to do your own research on theses diseases. I hope that you will because awareness and education are important. We had never even heard of either of these illnesses until we learned G had them. Right now, there is no permanent cure for any of the three diseases, other than organ transplant. There is treatment though, and G is receiving exceptional treatment from some wonderful doctors.

We have been extremely fortunate to have amazing help from family and friends through a difficult time. G's co-workers had a silent auction and chili dinner fundraiser, and my aunt created a donation page to help us out financially. We had 90 days of no real source of income after G had to stop working, until our disability insurance kicked in. Our finances suffered a major blow and the generosity of our family, friends and community kept us going. I get teary eyed just thinking about that. Things have calmed down a lot, and we are doing much better these days. The kids are on summer break from school and we feel now is the time to get up and go. G is planning all the stops along the way and we will soon have an itinerary. It will be a miracle if we are able to stick to it!

Right now G is on a break from the chemo treatments. This is means life is good for a couple of reasons. Number one, it means his numbers are looking good. Number two, he feels much better and has more energy. Not much more, because the heart failure causes him to suffer from extreme exhaustion. He tires easily just going for a walk. This break makes the trip possible.

We are so excited to take this adventure and thought it would be fun to share our experiences. I will do my best to post as often as I am able. Today we will celebrate July 4th with family. If all goes well on our Wednesday visit to the oncologist, we will leave town on Friday the 10th.

In the meantime, enjoy this photo of all of us on our last, AMAZING adventure. 

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