April 7, 2014: We Celebrate….. Everything!

Kris spent the weekend with our youngest son doing something that 2 years ago wasn’t even something we could think about; attending Mom’s Day at his fraternity.  She had a great time participating in the weekend long activities.  Which got me to thinking about how blessed our family is and how much I enjoy and appreciate celebrating both big and small things.

 

I would like you all to share the big celebrations with us.

 

Big Celebration #1

Kris is doing great!  She gets stronger every day.  She’s started back to work full time and is very grateful to be back with “her people” at Lionshare Marketing.

 

Big Celebration #2

We knew going in to the Team Kris donor drives that finding a match for Kris was a long shot.  By telling her story to as many people as she could, Kris wanted to raise awareness for the lifesaving works being done by Be The Match and to try and help as many people as possible.  To date, at least 12 people from the Team Kris drives have been called to be a match for someone in need.  We are humbled and grateful to everyone who came out and registered.  You are all heroes.

 

and speaking of heroes…..

 

Big Celebration #3

The KU Medical Center’s Unit 41/42 team.  This is a group of dedicated and caring people that have a very, very hard job.  They provide hope and support to people who are facing long odds.  The work with grace and humility in an environment that is more often than not, sad.  And they show up every day to inspire their patients.  Please say an extra prayer for these extraordinary caregivers.

 

Big Celebration #4

Team Kris!  On behalf of our entire family, thank you for being part of Team Kris.  We thank you for your love, for your support, for your encouragement and for your prayers.  The past couple of years have been pretty tough.  You’ve helped us make it through them.

Ken

 

September 6, 2013: What a Difference a Year Makes

What a difference a year makes.  Last August 20th, Kris and I were at the hospital with a nurse, a doctor and our friend and Pastor, Lee Hovel.  Kris’ immune system wasn’t recognizing the cancer as a foreign entity.  She had just gone through 10 days of chemo and full body radiation to destroy her old immune system and to give her a chance of having a bone marrow and stem cell transplant engraft.  The transplant was an all or nothing, swing for the fence.

 

She was fighting for her life.  She was fighting for her family and her future family.  And today, a year later, against long odds, Kris is still swinging.

One year post transplant is a huge milestone.  A patient’s survival odds increase exponentially if they’re able to survive the first year.  Kris underwent several days of testing on the 20th to assess where she’s at in the recovery process.

Yesterday we met with one of her doctors and reviewed the results of those tests.  It’s really, really good news:

–          100% engraftment.  The transplant was 100% successful and Kris’ bone marrow and immune system have converted over to the donor cells.  This is an important recovery marker because it means there are not two immune systems and blood types fighting each other.  Her bones and marrow are one, big happy unit.

–          No cancer in her bones, marrow or blood!  Last summer her bones and blood were riddled with cancer.  Today, there’s no trace.

–          No cancer in her lungs and abdomen!  Same story.  Last summer her lungs and stomach had large amounts of cancer.  Today, that’s all gone!

A clarifying point:  Kris had been diagnosed with Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma (CTCL) 10 years ago.  What prompted the need for the bone marrow and stem cell transplant was the transformation of the CTCL to Large Cell Lymphoma.  Earlier this year, the CTCL represented and she’s receiving treatment to manage that.  Currently she has no Large Cell Lymphoma present.   The fight continues!

 

Today, we would like you join us in celebrating the news we received yesterday.  Kris and I would also like to thank you all for your love, support, prayers and encouragement.  We have a long way to go yet, but she’s reached a major milestone.

I’ll end with more great news:  Since April of last year, Team Kris has been working with Be The Match to add people to the National Bone Marrow Registry and to try and give people like Kris a chance to keep living.  In the past year, 5 heroes that registered with Be The Match at a Team Kris donor drive have been selected as possible matches.  We are humbled and honored to be a small part in giving 5 people a chance to keep swinging for the fences.

 

Ken

March 2, 2013: The Roller Coaster Journey Continues

The past year has been filled with some tough times.  I don’t know that we could have made it this far without all of Team Kris pulling, praying, supporting and continuing to help poke holes in our darkness.  This update is a microcosm for the past 12 months:  Plenty of challenges to continue to overcome but also some bright spots.

 

One week after Christmas, Kris was released from the hospital.  She wasn’t released to enter hospice but rather because she had shown so much improvement that the medical team felt that she’d continue to improve more effectively at home.  And improve she did!  The doctors aren’t able to explain Kris’ remarkable turnaround.  She’s gaining weight, she’s getting strong and for the first time since August 10, she’s relatively pain free.  Thank you so much for your prayers and support.  Beating recovery odds that are measured in individuals instead of statistics is well and truly a miracle.

 

Like much of the year, there are also some new challenges to face.  At the end of January, we learned that Kris’ cancer has returned.  While not completely unexpected as part of the recovery journey, this was hard news to receive.  Kris is facing this new challenge like all the others she’s faced:  Determined, tough, and committed to overcome this most recent obstacle.  She and the medical team are optimistic that they can overcome this round of cancer.

 

There’s more good news to share.  I’d mentioned that Kris is continuing to get stronger and gain weight.  She’s feeling good and strong enough that she’s able to drive herself to and from her clinic appointments.  Earlier this week she met with the awesome team at LionShare Marketing.  She’s very excited to be able to start working part-time, from home.  Kris is very, very happy to start working again and is looking forward to the day when she can go in to the office and be back with “her people”.

 

We continue to appreciate your prayers and support.  With your help and support, Kris will keep fighting and overcome her most recent challenge.

 

Ken

December 25, 2012: Poking Holes in the Darkness

My good friend and our Pastor, Lee Hovel left his family today and spent part of his Christmas with us at Kansas University Medical Center.  In his message to our family, he shared a story from his childhood that his Grandmother told him about a gas lamp lighter.  A little girl was watching the lamp lighter and told her mother that he was poking holes in the darkness.  Lee’s Grandmother went on to reveal to Lee that like the lamp lighter, God sent Jesus to us to poke holes in our darkness.

Kris has been hospitalized since Thanksgiving because her new immune system is rejecting her body.  When she was admitted, she was emaciated, suffering from fungal pneumonia and couldn’t keep food or medicine in her body.

Last Thursday, Kris and I met with the head of the bone marrow transplant team who told us that they were out of medical treatment options to help her.  He told us that very few people in Kris’ condition survive.  He also told us that at this point, a person’s personal strength, commitment and will have more to do with survival than medicine or science.

He gave Kris the option to stay in the hospital and fight or if she preferred, to spend Christmas in her home with her family.  When he left the room, we held each other and cried.  We talked about what we were going to do.  We talked about the future and what we needed to tell the kids the next day.  I told Kris that I would fight for her, love her and support whatever decision she made.

On Friday morning before I talked to the kids, I visited Kris.  She told me, “I do not accept the statistics.  I have more to give.  I do not believe that I’ve fulfilled God’s purpose for me on this earth.  I’m going to stay in the hospital and fight”.  Kris is my light.  She pokes holes in my darkness.

These are very dark times for our family.  Kris is our rock.  She is the glue that holds our family together.  She is the strongest person I’ve ever met.  This year, she’s beaten the odds twice.  I believe she’ll beat the odds for a third time.  She needs your help.  I’m asking you to lift Kris up.  During this Christmas season, when we’re all a little closer to God, please include Kris in your prayers.  Please help pokes holes in our darkness.

Thank you,

Ken

December 6 2012

Kris’ medical team told us several times that once she was released from the hospital, it would be tough.  They were right.

Over the past couple of months, Kris has been hospitalized several times for a variety of reasons:  Pneumonia, malnourishment  gastro-intestinal issues and currently, rejection symptoms.  She remains the positive fighter that she’s always been.  She keeps getting knocked down and always gets back up.  She’s tougher than the cancer or the recovery.

When she’s not hospitalized, Kris requires 24/7 care and support.  Our family is living with us to help care for her.  We also have a network of friends who are helping us by taking care of chores and providing us with meals.  We’re extremely blessed and grateful for our family and friends’ support.  I can’t imagine trying to work through this without their help.

Your prayers, cards and notes of encouragement help.  When it’s toughest, Kris reads the blog and reaffirms that she has an awesome support network encouraging her and lifting her up.

Since her initial release from the hospital, it’s been a frenetic roller coaster of emotions and schedules.  Thank you all for your continued support and please continue to pray for Kris’ recovery.

KenImage

September 24, 2012

She’s home!

September 22, 2012

The good news just keeps coming!  We learned this morning that after 45 days of hospitalization, Kris will be released and come home this Monday.  She still has a long, hard year ahead of her.  The next 6 months will be critical to her continued recovery.  

 

There’s a 100 day treatment protocol where she’ll be receiving care at home or in the Bone Marrow Transplant Center at KU.  Members of our family are going to live with us to provide the 24-hour care that she’ll require as she recovers.  Six months from now, she’ll start receiving her newborn immunizations and continue regular visits to the BMT Center.  

 

There will most certainly be many more challenges ahead of us, but with her determination and your prayers, Kris has beaten the odds!  In less than 2 days, we’re going to be a complete family again!  Today Jon and I visited her in the hospital.  Because her blood counts we so good, she was able to hug me and her youngest son for the first time in almost 2 months.       

 

It’s been a long and emotionally tough time for our entire family.  I can’t begin to share how grateful and humbled we are for everyone that has prayed, supported or helped support us in in Kris’ fight.  Thank you and God bless you.  

 

Ken