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Keith’s Story

I was diagnosed on June 18, '08 with Stage 4 colon cancer with mets to the liver and lymph.  Since then, I've had 7 surgeries, 10 bouts of radiation and more than 125 rounds of chemo.  It's been quite a ride and we are still going!

We have been amazed by the love and support from our friends and family. We could not do this without you!

I hope to use my experiences to help others going through similar challenges. Please let me know how I can help.  Call or write anytime

(214) 793-0519 Cell
keith@friendfamily.net

Click 'Read Story' below for more.

I have been asked many times how all this started. I thought I would include as much as I can for those interested. I've joked before that this isn't the "Fun" type of cancer to talk about because you have to use words like Colon/>/>, Rectum, and Bowel Movement etc. Therefore, I apologize in advance for the bio references below.

Around September-October 2007, I had noticed a little bit of, what looked to me to be, blood when having a bowel movement. Now, I know what you’re thinking. "Why didn't you RUN to a doctor right away?" In hind-sight, you're right. However, during that time, your mind rationalizes things. "I just rubbed too hard. It's probably just a hemorrhoid" or something like that. I also have to add that this one and only symptom came and went. I might go weeks between seeing or noticing the blood. I finally went in for a physical around December and mentioned the blood. They gave me a take home test to perform and return. Of course, I lost the first test and had to get a new one. I finally turned that one it and it tested positive for blood. After another exam from my primary doctor, he suggested that I go see a GI specialist. Not being overly excited to have another doctor examining me in my least favorite place, it took me a few weeks to schedule that appointment.

I had my examination with Dr. Cox in Grapevine at the end of May or first of June. He did another exam and said that he did see some hemorrhoids but could not tell where the bleeding was coming from and that he would like to perform a colonoscopy to check me out. The colonoscopy was performed on June 18th. Dr. Cox discovered the tumor in addition to a couple of polyps during that exam. He removed the polyps with no trouble. The tumor was right at the point where the colon attaches to the rectum therefore I had "Colorectal Cancer". The tumor was about 8cm long (almost 3 inches) by his measurements. About 5 inches of the colon and rectum had to be removed from the surgery.

Dr. Cox estimated that this cancer could have been growing in me for as long as 5 - 7 years! This is pretty amazing. Who would have thought...? I am now the self appointed "Poster Child" for getting a colonoscopy. Had I had one back when I was 35, this would have been a simple procedure of removing a polyp and that would be it. So, to all my friends or to anyone reading this.... go schedule a colonoscopy NOW! A prostate exam will NOT cut it. I had two prostate exams before this diagnosis and they did not catch it. The colonoscopy is really no big deal. You sleep through the whole thing. It's really worth the peace of mind.

That's about it. That brings me to June 18th when I had my colonoscopy that I wrote about in my journal.

It is my hope that those reading this will be motivated to have a colonoscopy soon. It would be very gratifying to me to know that someone caught a pre-cancerous polyp via a colonoscopy that I helped encourage thereby saving that person from what I am now going through. Please prayerfully consider my suggestion and take action.

With love,

Keith

Latest Journal Update

One last journal update...

Before I get into the details, I wanted to thank my friend, Tom, for the last journal entry.  I was still in the hospital and I asked Tom to write an update for me.  He wrote it as if it was me writing which was fine but it might have confused some.  

For the past few weeks, we have been battling lots of complications like throat ulcers, drainage tubes, feeding tubes, dead stomachs and so on.  As a matter of fact, I'm off to the hospital first thing tomorrow to get my feeding tube replaced as it is totally clogged and I can't get any food or water in me.  It will be good to make it work again.  I don't know how you long term feeding tube people do it.  I am craving food like crazy.  I see some thing on TV and instantly want that taste and texture in my mouth.  Ugh!  Heck, I even want things that I don't like.  It's been hard making all these adjustments but we are getting along.

I go in for supplemental fluids at Texas Oncology every other day and today was on of those days.  Like most days when I do this, I give blood and we monitor all my numbers.  Today was no different but was different is that we received some rather bad news.  My Tumor markers are just sky-rocketing.  My liver numbers are off the chart.  I'm starting to accumulate ammonia in my system and this is not a good thing at all.  Long story short, my liver is starting to fail.  My oncologist spoke with us quite a while tonight.  Based on her experience with other patients in a similar condition, I might only have matter of weeks left.  It could be as little as two.  When the liver fails, things happen pretty fast.  We are doing our best to prepare.  We had a very difficult conversation with our kids tonight but they are doing okay.  Lori is being amazingly strong throughout this whole process.

Our next step is to activate a "Home Health Nurse" to come out and help day to day.  She can help with my meds, feeding tube and get us the type of equipment that we might need.  We will probably have a hospital type bed delivered soon as I'm having trouble sleeping lately.  That should make things a bit more comfortable.  

I'm doing fine.  I'm not in any pain right now.  As things progress, it's possible that I will start to lose some mental faculties and become somewhat loopy....even more so than normal.  I'll start to be more tired and probably sleep more and more.  As to visitors, please give us this weekend as Amber is coming back in town and we are looking forward to having this special time together.  After that, I would love a short visit from whoever would like to come by.  Please call first just to make sure things are okay.  

Many have asked how they can help.  We have a "Mail Train" established that has been a huge help to Lori by providing a dinner for she and Andrew on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  If you are local and would like to help, just send Lori a quick email or phone call and she can give you the instructions to participate.  lori@friendfamily.net - 214-793-5934.  As always, your prayers are appreciated.  Please pray for peace and especially for my family.  This is obviously very hard on them and they could use the help.  I'm sure Lori will be calling on many to help out with some things after everything has settled down.  

I would like to publicly thank Dr. Heidi Jordan for being such a good friend these 6 1/2 years and for leading the best medical team that anyone could ask for.  She is one of the main reasons that I had these wonderful 6+ years to share with my family and make memories.  Thank you to my immediate and extended family for the unwavering support that you have given us during this journey.  I could not have done this without you.  Thank you to our friends both old and new for always being there when we needed you and helping out in too many ways to mention.  Thank you to all of you who have followed this journey and offered kind words, phone calls, hugs and more.  You are a special part of our support group and I can't imagine going this far without you.  

I have been so blessed to be as healthy as I have been for so long to appreciate vacations, camp outs, trips, football games, band, scouts etc.  There are so many who aren't give such a chance and I am beyond grateful for every single day that I had.  

I'm still getting my brain around all this but I'm really doing okay.  I'm not afraid of dying.  I know where I'm going and it's going to be quite an adventure.  I do, however, regret that my family will have to go through this process but I'm thankful that we at least have the opportunity to prepare for this and make arrangements.

There will be other posts to inform about services and such.

As I write this, it's hard to figure out a way to end it.  It's such a surreal position to be put in.  I guess I'll end the same way I always do.  

Take care and God Bless you.  

With all my love, 

Keith
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Comentarios

53 Comentarios

Caron Peck
By
Dear Keith, It is indeed surreal to read your "final journal entry", and equally surreal to be writing to you at this time. But I am thankful, as so many are, to have that opportunity. I think about when I first knew you --- a wildly energetic little boy who had a hard time finding a good opportunity to stop playing outside and come in for dinner. I have fond memories of your mom standing at the kitchen door, belting out your name for much of Hurst to hear. Back in those days, you were always happy, and busy, and your life was filled with wonder and activity and excitement. And somehow, you have managed to maintain that same approach to life no matter what the circumstances. What a shining example you are of a life truly well-lived. A wonderful man, a cherished son and brother, a loving husband and father, a teacher and mentor, a valued friend, and an ambassador of hope for so many. While I may be a "few" years older than you, I have learned so much from you by watching you take this latest journey with such courage, wisdom, humor, and grace. Thank you for all that you are, and for all that you have meant to so many. You will be greatly missed, but your light will continue to shine. Please find peace in knowing that there are many of us who will stay close and care for your loved ones until you can all be together again. I hope the days ahead bring you comfort and rest. Sending you much love, Caron
Ann Bergeron
By
Dear Cousin Keith, I think all of us just assumed a miracle would happen and you would be with us for a very long time. Now we see that heaven doesn't want to wait to accept you into His presence and love. You, and all of us who love you, know where you are going. May that peace that passes understanding be with you and yours during the days to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with you always! It's been an honor to be a small part of your family and your life. LOVE!
Eugenia Adams
By Eugenia
Keith, you a one brave guy. As I type this, tears are streaming down my face. My prayers go out to you and your family...
Stuart Dunn
By Stuart Dunn
Keith, Where do I start. Thru all of this, you have been a shining example of what it is like to have the light of Christ with you. You have inspired many by your actions and caring for others, even in your difficult times. You example has made me examine, even more closely, the words to the hymn, Have I Done Any Good? "Have I done any good in the world today, have I have anyone in need? Have I cheered up the sad, or made someone feel glad"....... You are a great friend, a great father and husband, and a true instrument in the Lord's hand. You and your family continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. I hope we will visit some next week. Enjoy this special weekend.
Jack Neville
By Jack Neville
Keith, I wish I knew exactly the right thing to say that might in any way help you in this time and place you are faced with. ( BTW, I tried 4 times to rewite that without ending it in a preposition and couldn't do it !) But hey maybe that's one of my points...you have made so many of us better understand what is important in life and how to try to prioritize around those things. You have made a difference in my life by being an example of how to try to not be overwhelmed by MY own life situations but to make others experiences better and richer. As I write this and think more about it , it becomes a little clearer, although no easier to accept, that God sees you as being a little more like him and less like all of us and maybe that's why you are on this journey that you allude to in this post. I will trust in that thought and will pray for you and each of your family members. Hope to talk with you first of next week.
Carlye Lucey
By Carlye and Jeremy
Keith - Jer and I loved meeting you at OMG 2013. Your journal entries are a constant reminder to us to treasuer all of our moments together as we walk this path with cancer treatment. I love your spirit, your obvious love for your family, and the grace and honesty you always put out there to share with the rest of us. Blessings to you and your family.
Pam Howard
By Pam Howard (Linnea's cousin)
Thanks, Keith, for ALWAYS shining His light in your life through all that you have been through. What a way to be His disciple, man! Who knows how many people He has helped via you! We say "Bravo!" to your life...what a legacy!

A miracle for you to think about: my daughter (11th) grade has a friend/classmate who found out she has a rare kidney disease last year and needs a transplant (will happen real soon now). Her family wanted to be the donors (of course!). Mom tested first; found kidney cancer and it was removed. Dad tested next; found gall bladder cancer and it was removed! God must have let this happen so save her mom and dad...what a miracle! She will be fine soon as well! Hope this puts a smile on your face!

I think God just can't wait to have you by His side (you know how jealous He is)! I will finally get to meet you one day in Heaven, brother!
Missy Borman
By Missy Borman
Keith-Even though I don't know you personally I have been following your story for 5 years. I happened to come upon your site while searching for info on stage 4 colon cancer as my mom had recently been diagnosed at that time. She fought a courageous battle for 4 years and was honored with her great reward Feb. 2014. I am praying for you and your family for peace and strength in the days ahead. Please know you have been such an inspiration to many people. Many more than you will ever know! God Speed-
Joann Smith
By Joann Smith
Dear Keith, Like so many others you contacted me immediately after my son was diagnosed with stage 3C colon cancer. I printed off the email you sent me and I treasure it. My son is 2 years cancer free I pray it continues. Keith you and your family have been down in the trenches together but you have soldiered on I don't know that I would have the strength you do. My oldest son passed after a brief 2 week battle with very aggressive acute myeloid leukemia I could not imagine the battle you have had. For that I thank God for his mercy to my son. Today I pray for your continued peace as you end your journey and again a prayer I learned from my grand daughter's school "May the blessings of the Lord be upon you and your family we bless you in the name of the Lord." And Keith thank you for blessing us. Godspeed
sharon russell
By Sharon Russell
Keith, I will try to keep this short. I have known you and your family for almost 40 years. You have been A tremendous inspiration for so many. Your strength, courage and humor has been incredible. You have fought a great fight such a great inspiration. As I sit here with tears rolling down my cheeks I know how tough that it will be for all of you. I will keep all of you in my prayers and Know how much you are loved by so many and countless lives you have inspired and touched in such a positive loving way. With great love and respect I will keep you all in my prayers. Love you darlin.