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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. 

October 2013 we started a trial treatment which made our skin fall off and made us have help breathing....but we achieved remission.  Dec 15, 2013 we took a Donor Lymphocyte Infusion (DLI) in hopes to stave off cancer to the one year mark (Feb 2014) to get into a 2nd bone marrow transplant. 

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

Porch Swing

I was in a bar with a bunch of girls in college (eons ago). A guy was trying to get my attention and we struck up a conversation. Something in my gut said, ‘walk away’…but I stayed to chat. We hit a couple of light topics and out of the blue he asked, “What do you want out of life?”….I pondered. Shoot, I was in my 20’s partying it up as college girls do. I thought for a second about where I came from….and what would symbolize comfort in my future. Then it hit me. I looked him square in the eye and answered, “A porch swing”. He looked perplexed….as if he was envisioning hearing a list of: money, homes…cars…..maybe he was looking for a catch phrase or thinking of ways to snag me…but he had absolutely no response.

As the meaning escaped him…so did I….I went back to the dance floor and a bustling group of girls. As the night came to a close and our group headed towards the door I caught a quick flash of the guy once more. He swooped in so I could hear him and said, “I hope you get more out of life than a porch swing”.

Guessing he was none too happy, I smiled and went on my way.

It strikes me in all sorts of ways this morning as I smile at my porch swing. Boy was my answer then more fitting than I would ever know. I did get my porch swing…and comfort,…for it wasn’t about a swing…it was about the man sitting to my right, the home it attached to it…the giggling child running through the back yard….the yummy cookie smell coming out of the kitchen….it was about the love surrounding that swing….and the moments collected on it.

Lee ordered it online as he couldn’t drive to get it…or even put it together…but it was the sweetest birthday gift, and my last. I love that he understood the meaning of a porch swing.

It blows gently in the breeze and the warm sunshine makes it look like wooden gold. It’s worn from weather and pieces are faded…reflecting the value and time spent there.

It is my goal in life to teach Leah to want one of these for her very own. I want her to find pleasure in rocking away life stresses…chatting about silly topics with her Mama…and finding quiet moments to look at the stars.

I don’t have any great words today…I’m just sitting here basking in the moment of this lovely swing. Lee gave us so much….he gave us things we can take to Heaven. I can’t wait to see him again. For all of the love we lost we certainly have daily reminders of how much he gave.

Oh Leah Bug….I hope you find a love like this. I hope you cherish it and swing it all the way to Heaven.

Rocking in the sweetness of the silence,
Mrs. Lee
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Comments

3 Comments

Carl Hogman
By
That's a funny thing. Many times Sandie has mentioned the "porch swing" at her home way back in Amboy, N.Y. I remember it well also. We spent a lot of time swinging back and forth and learning all about each other. This world needs more porch swings ya know? As always, well written, well remembered, well shared. Your in our prayers each night. w/love, Carl & Sandie.
Rebekah Johnson
By Rebekah Johnson
Of course I remember you Carol!! I am beyond tickled to hear that you two are home and got that marrow to work! What a blessing you were to me too. I don't think you realized but I needed that stuff in our apartment or those drugs to help someone. I couldn't throw those things away and pack it in for the hills. I needed you too. Thank you for letting us in your little apartment and into your big hearts. Big squeezes. Sure hope to see you some day in person....I drive by Post Falls alot.....my personal email is bekahannie@hotmail.com. ...let's catch up soon!
Carol Nell
By Carol Nell ❤️🙏
Hello Sweet One...
Remember me?...room 303 at the Transplant House...Seattle...2014
Randy had a bone marrow transplant Dec20-2013.
As you were preparing to take Lee home you came to my door with the offer of some beautiful pearls that Lee wouldn't be needing and asked me to shop your pantry. I will never forget your generosity even in the darkest moments.
As sad as we were to hear of Lees passing we continued the fight for Randys life. As of May 25,2015 Randy is in remission. We were just back to Seattle a week ago for follow up testing etc. Dr Flowers, the little German Lady, told us that Randys lymph nodes are also completely clean. Randy has had some major setbacks along the way with multiple hospital stays. It has not been easy but here we are. Cancer free. I learned a lot from you in our limited contact. You showed me how to fight and all be prepared for whatever may come our way. You just never know how or whos life you will affect. Thank you and God Bless you.
Your message here today exemplifies what I have said.
Love to You and your little Bug ❤️👵🏻🙏🏻👴🏻🙏🏻❤️
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