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Leland’s Story

Lee injured his back on July 20, 2012 and has been working with a Chiropractor, Family Dr., and an Occupational Dr.  We had an MRI on July 31 which showed a bulging disc in L5.  We went back for a follow up appointment Aug 3rd and were told to go directly to an ER.  Lee was pale, had numbness in his feet and into his face and left hand.  The ER did a blood tests and more scans.  The blood draw revealed his platlets were at 14,000 and a normal counts are in the 150,000 range.  We have been admitted to the Oncology unit and have begun the treatments for accute Leukemia. 

February 20, 2013 Lee had a successful unrelated 9/10 match at University of Washington.  With less than 10% gvhd we went home with nothing more than new marrow and a small viral skin rash.  By May 31, 2013 we were home and in remission. 

September 19, 2013 we found leukemia had returned.  Lee's blood counts became low for two weeks and were our first sign of bad news.  7 months of peace and now we are back in the fight of our lives, starting at square one. 

January 2014 cancer returned for the third and final time.  We returned home for our final family moments and Lee went to rest in Heaven January 28, 2014. 

(written at the onset of cancer) Lee turned 36 in June 2012.  We have been married 3 years and have known each other 4.  He went to school at Rogers High School and served in the Army.  He served overseas in Kuwait and El Salvador before 9/11.  After serving in the military he came home to his family and started working for the City of Spokane.  He has been with the City for 10 plus years and is a Crew Leader of a Wastewater Construction Team.  He has a lot of pride in his work and of his crew.  This year he tested first on the District Supervisor Test and the Inspector Test--he was beyond elated. 

Lee enjoys raquet ball and the occassional beer and wings with his buddies, fishing, mountain biking, hunting but his main time is with his baby girl Leah.  They do everything together.  Lee is the type of Father who is apart of each task..hair, clothes, bath time, bed time, reading, school, and Leah loves to play with him.  "Chase me Dada" is one of her favorite sayings.  We love to take trips to the park, camp and fish together.  Froyo is also a favorite family night out...(frozen yogurt).   Last year we went to Yellowstone and this year we camped at Porqupine Bay. 

Lee has 3 brothers, Perry, Robbie, and Chad.  They are the closest set of brothers I have ever seen.  They kid and slap and get together on every holiday and birthday.  Lee also has three sisters, Tiffany, Julie & Jenny.  These three ladies are also really close with Lee and he is very soft towards his sisters.  We have attended Church at Lifecenter since we were married and this is where Leah was Dedicated.  Lee is a gentle soul and the type of person whom everyone likes to be around.  He enjoys gardening and taking care of the yard.  His dog is a little 11 pound yorkie named Bella, and they are quite the pair.  

I have to say, Lee has prepared our family well for alot of things-structure, finances, and routines.  We have health insurance, a good home, we don't live outside our means and thanks to Lee have food stocked and minimal bills.  He is a financial savy person and has always guided us to be smart and prepared.  I think he worries about medical bills, but he is getting the care he needs and that is the number one priority.   Lastly I will say, ...Lee is my best friend in the entire world.  He has been an incredible husband from day one.  I love that he prays with me & Leah...bedtime, dinner time, anytime. 

He prepared us all for this journey. 

Latest Journal Update

Date Night

(written last week)


Grief share suggested revisiting parts of our past.  (eye rolling grunt)  Seems bat-shit crazy to stir up emotions on purpose, but the hypothesis suggests learning to deal with grief now and not holding it for later.  Leah’s weekly swim date offers to make her dinner and I take the opportunity to stretch my wings. 

I’m not entirely comfortable with the suggestions from class to revisit funeral cards, letters, or video, but mention was made from a friend to actually visit Lee.  (shoulder shrug,why not face)

Before long I find myself driving solo to the Veterans Cemetery with an, ‘I got this’ type attitude.  I learned on the last trip to avoid sappy songs on the radio, but find (for the third time) at the gates of the property I am already sobbing. 

I am able to walk directly to Lee, even with the addition of many stones.  I sit.  I sob. It’s so darn overwhelming that I can’t control these emotions.  I didn’t cry this much in January, or February…..so why now?  Partially the shock has worn off, partially I am more rested than before and partially I realize staying tuff for others took precedence over my own sadness.   I recall holding Lee through grief, but wasn’t selfish enough to burden him with mine. 

The tears don’t seem to let up.  My face starts to hurt.  Words and worries start dribbling out.  I don’t know why I verbalize things out loud to a stone….and then I realize….all the other stones are listening.  No one talks back.  (relief…I’m not crazy).   It’s that feeling that I am tired, but I’m not tired.  I swivel around and lay down on the soft grass.  Looking up at the sky seems easier.  The wind blows through and I realize this is a bit more comforting. I probably look like a huge widow mess, but don’t care. 

A memory pops back into my mind and I start to giggle. 

Before cancer, Lee and I joked casually about dying and the ‘what if’ of going first.  He bantered with me about getting a new husband and I jabbed back saying….”cause I was SO good at dating?” (sliding on heavy sarcasm).   We were laughing recalling my bad date stories….”yeah and he brought his MOM on the date!” When I flipped back to Lee getting a new wife I agreed it’d be a good idea…..but (wrinkling my nose) I couldn’t really imagine being happy if he remarried.  I peered over my shoulder and belted out my one and only condition, “Yeah, you can get a new wife BUT,… …SHE better be UGLY!” 

So there I lay, laughing, crying and remembering.   Never thought I would lay on a grave. 

Time passes slowly. 

I roll to my side and figure it’s time to start heading back.  Why is leaving the hard part?  I pat the stone and trudge to my rig.  I cry even harder as I pull out of the gates…….my sinus cavity starts to ask for a time out. 

By the time I hit Airway Heights I realize my tummy is growling.  I pull into a small Thai restaurant and the waitress shouts, “TABLE FOR ONE?”….I nod up and down slowly.  My face hurts too much to make a“Here’s your sign” joke and I take a table for two and dive into the menu. 

I sipped my soup and forked after all the beef & wide noodles when I realize…this is exactly the last date night meal I had with Lee in Seattle.  (eyes filling again)

We ordered in Pad See Ew, double seated in a hospital bed in Infusion at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

Our last date.  We had no idea. 

I peer around the restaurant….a family of three are seated directly in front of me.  I wonder if they know how lucky they are.  They talk softly back and forth and their little blonde haired son chimes in with chop sticks and hopes of more sticky rice.

(How I miss seeing Bug eat at a table with her Daddy)

To my right are two sets of couples….I wonder if they know how lucky they are?

(How I miss sitting across from an adult who spoke softly and asked about my day)

It kind of hits me that I’m on a date by myself and that I am the one overlooking how lucky I am. 


Many people live their entire lives and never know the comfort of true love. 



Much love and too much alone time,

Mrs. Me