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4/19/2016 Latest post:
Keith Putz is a husband, a father, a son, a brother, an uncle, a golfer, a painter, a friend
This site is for all of you who know Keith as any of these, and care to know how he is doing. Keith and Amy and children Justin, Olivia, Jack, and Lila can all use our love and support right now. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most. Please forward freely, and take a moment to write in the guestbook. Below is their story, in Amy’s words, including details of Keith’s cancer journey.
Keith and Amy's Story (in Amy's words)
In the spring of 2006 Keith and I began a relationship filled with fun and laughter. This was a whole new territory for Keith and me. We were both newly sober and learning how to live. This meant doing lots of things differently, like being responsible and making good decisions. We decided to get married in the summer of 2006. Keith vowed to me that he would buy me a house by the time I was 40. Now this may sound like a long time to wait, as I was only 29 years old. But we both had a bit of financial wreckage to clear away first. We knew that, just like sobriety, we needed to take one day at a time. We believed we could reach all of our other goals and dreams if we just stayed the course. Slowly, but surely, Keith and I together worked hard, made sacrifices, and lived below our means, in order to chip away at our debt. In 2015, we had paid off almost $90,000. This is no small feat with two young kids.
In October of 2013, we were delivered a major blow. Six weeks after our daughter Lila was born, Keith was diagnosed with an enormous GIST (gastrointestinal stromal tumor) tumor. It was the size of a small watermelon in Keith’s stomach and was very painful. Cancer had made its way into our lives. Courageously, Keith faced this gremlin head on and began chemotherapy immediately. He responded quickly and the tumor began to shrink. In January 2015, Keith had major surgery to remove the grapefruit sized tumor that remained as well as several other organs and parts. And no surprise, Keith jumped back into work, coaching, volunteering, and many other fatherly duties. He never gave up or slowed down. In fact, we experienced some sense of normalcy when Keith was feeling pretty good. At times I even forgot about his cancer.
In October 2015 Keith fell about 12 feet from a ladder and broke his humerus in half. It was followed up with surgery, and the healing began. I continued working at Starbucks and began a second job at the kids' school in the lunch room to help keep some money coming in. In January 2016 Keith began working again. It was catch up time. However, Keith was feeling pretty crummy again. The medication he was on quit working as the cancer had become resistant. He moved to the next treatment and his body adjusted to the new chemo. For the next 90 days, Keith seemed to have all of the side effects but not the benefits. The medication was not working. On April 8th, we were told that Keith’s cancer had progressed to rapidly growing tumors. They were all over his bladder, bowels, intestines, abdominal wall and colon. They had tripled in size. We were told that it was time to start settling his affairs.
We were absolutely devastated. Keith started taking the third and last option from a medication stand point. It came with greater risk and didn’t have a very good track record of effectiveness. It is our last hope in getting him any more time. The cancer is spreading too fast. Our only hope is to pause it for a short time.
During the news of the progressing cancer, we found a home. It was an actual miracle that it was in a great location and fell within our budget. It is tiny, but we knew we could make it into something special. We had the opportunity to meet the home owner, and we never had to negotiate. He, quite simply, just wanted to sell the home to us. It is my mission to now close the deal, so we can make this house our home. The reality I must face now is that, while Keith was able to make his vow come true, we will not be able to share in our home together. It tears at my heart that he won’t be able to enjoy in the process of making it ours with the little touches. It does offer Keith a great deal of comfort to know that his family will be safe, secure and stable. His mission is to make some o four visions come true. I desperately want his hand in the home so that the kids will always know he is there with us, and that he did everything he could to provide for his family - no matter the circumstances.