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John and Kay Leadholm
Apr 5, 2019 Latest post:
Nov 18, 2019
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. In an effort to keep our family and friends updated on John's condition, Sara (John's favorite daughter) and Mindy (John's favorite daughter-in-law) will work on providing you with updates.
A brief summary of the past year: On Mother's Day 2018, John casually mentioned that he was coughing up some blood that day. Never wanting to complain, he just didn't think much of it. We were all more concerned than he was and insisted that they go in that day. The scan did not bring good news; extensive small-cell lung cancer that had spread quite significantly throughout his body. John was up for a fight - and started chemo right away. Chemo continued throughout June, July, August, and September...and John continued with mowing, weeding, spraying, and everything else that needed to be done to prepare the orchard for a busy Fall season. The chemo definitely helped; and follow-up scans showed NO cancer throughout the body. Right before Christmas, a scan of his brain showed several tumors where there had been none before. Again, John was up for a fight and radiation was started immediately. He continued radiation in January and February; and also began immunotherapy schedule. While this, of course, was priority #1, John's also had another priority...which was to get somewhere hot with palm trees, sun, and sand...and WE DID IT! (And miraculously, all of our passports arrived on time despite the government shutdown!) In February, our whole family spent a wonderful week enjoying Costa Rica. It truly was an incredible week full of sun, swimming, adventures, books, cards, and family dinners, happy hours, and sunsets! (check out some vacation pictures in the photo gallery) In Costa Rica, the expression "Pura Vida" translates simply to "Pure Life" in english. It is used to describe a simple, stress-free, positive, happy, and loving way of life - and is motto we should all live by.
Getting back to Minnesota, John had some more difficulty walking and balancing. Another scan showed the brain tumors decreasing in size; but cancer was now showing up in his lumbar/lower back area. More radiation in March we hoped would help, we have continued to be thankful that he was not experiencing many of the negative side effects that can come with all of this stuff.
Last Saturday, March 30, John woke up not able to use his legs. We got him up to United and yet another MRI gave us news we didn't want to hear. The cancer was now in his spinal cord, which is causing the loss of feeling and use of his legs. Continued radiation at this point is not recommended because the negative side effects now far outweigh the benefits. The doctors have been incredible throughout this experience. John is still not ready to "give up" but medically, we have been told there is nothing more that we can do.
For anyone who knows John, you won't be surprised that he is frustrated with "just sitting his ass in this damn bed" (his words). As of today, we have moved him back to the orchard and hospice care has begun. We are hoping that he is a little happier that this "damn bed" now has a beautiful view of his apple trees and the St. Croix River.
We will continue to update you as he gets settled in at home. Feel free to call anyone of us for an update. John is also up for friends and family to come out and say hi.
Thank you all for any words of encouragement, hope, and love. Love, John, Kay, Sara, Garrett, Jeff, Mindy, Luke, and Kaylin