It seems that I am at a loss for words....to speak of our grief seems so very inadequate. Her Mom, KK, and her Dad, Ray are truly suffering....but the faces of her children are the images that you cannot remove from your mind. They are such brave children, and loved their Mom very much. How do you console a child when they loose their mother? Or a mother when they loose their child? Everything is inadequate!
WHY, WHY, WHY.....I know we are not supposed to ask this question, but it is so hard to accept the fact that healthy, thirty-five year old Kristy should be so stricken with such a dreadful disease. It was January 30, 2008, when we had just left Quartzsite heading for Phoenix, when KK emailed to tell us that Kristy had been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I knew almost nothing about such a diagnosis, but quickly learned that she had a very high risk case of this disease. Still, I thought, many people live long lives with leukemia, and they can cure most anything these days. Wrong, wrong wrong.
She suffered more than anyone should have to, enduring the most lethal doses of chemo, trying so hard to live. She really wanted to live. She truly gave it her all, and through it all, I never once heard her issue a complaint. Her mouth and throat were completely covered with raw lesions, but she complained not at all. She was always grateful, thanking the nurses, and anyone who did anything for her, constantly. More than anything, she did not want to burden anyone. She worried about her mom, and how much she was juggling her work, and helping with the kids and keeping so many balls bouncing. And she worried about her dad, as she thought he was worrying himself too much over her, and how often he would come to sit at the hospital with her. She did not want her illness to take a toll on them. And of course, most of all, she worried about her children. She loved them so much.....as her Dad said, when they walked into the room to see her, her face would light up like a one thousand watt bulb.....they just meant so much to her. She truly wanted to live for them. But God had other plans.
The days spent with Kristy during the last month were special ones. It was a privilege to be with her and she inspired me with her tenacity and how hard she struggled to get to the other side of her Bone Marrow Transplant. When the doctors began to indicate that her cells had not engrafted, we were very concerned about the options. She had no white blood count, and thus, was completely vulnerable to any and all infections and viruses. The docs told us it would take 30 to 45 days to get another donor and stem cells. What a precarious situation. Sure enough, around day 30 she began to show signs of serious infections. It was apparent on Monday that she was getting sicker, but still, I thought she could come through it. By Wednesday, I felt that only a huge miracle would bring her through this, and I just knew that the miracle would come. Thursday afternoon she was suffering from delusions and her blood oxygen was down to about 82. She was drifting in and out of sleepiness and was really having congestion and mucousitis issues. They increased her oxygen intake and called Dr. McCarty. It seemed that her current meds might be causing the delusional issues, so the meds were removed.
We left her around 6 PM and a sitter was ordered for her.
At 11:40 pm KK called me to say that a gentleman from MCV had called to say that Kristy had been found "unresponsive: but with a pulse" and to come on over. I threw on my jogging suit and dashed from Montpelier to Ashland to pick up KK. We hurried on up to MCV hospital, arriving around 12:30, about the same time as Ray (her Dad). They took us into the conference room to await Dr. McCarty. He came in around 1 :15 am and told us they had found Kristy unresponsive around 11:20. They tried everything to resuscitate her (paddles, drugs, everything!) and her heart would not even try to restart. She died peacefully around 12:25. They remain unsure as to what brought about the failure...possibly the fungal or infections attacked her heart, and it could not withstand it. They asked to do an autopsy so we may learn exactly what transpired.
She had been at peace all week, seeming to know that the children were being cared for and that she had gotten some things in order that she had been wanting to get straight. She knew that she was loved and cared for by her family and children, and was more at peace with things than she had been in a long time. She had let go of some of her "worrying". She never gave up and never quit fighting, but the miracle never came. God had other plans.
Endless tears are shed, and it hurts so deeply to know that she is gone, and that she had to suffer so. But there is comfort in knowing she will suffer no more, and that she knew she was loved, and had the full support of her family. She is at peace now, and still loved. But our hearts hurt so deeply, for the young woman gone from our sight, and for the four children that she loved so.
Your kindness and condolences mean so much to us..., many thanks !