We have started a new feature on our web site called #YourFight. It provides a chance to let readers share their battle with cancer in their own words. We will be featuring these stories on a regular basis. If you would like to share yours, follow the link here to find out how. The stories and treatments you will read about are specific for each individual and may be different than your own. These posts are designed to tell the stories of the reality of cancer and it’s impact on our lives, not as medical advice. If you or anyone you know is going through similar battles, we encourage you to be an informed health consumer and seek professional medical advice.
Today’s story comes from Joy Carr, wife of Calvin. Less than 2 years ago the Carr family received the news that families never expect…… Calvin, the father, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, otherwise known as ALL at the age of 38. Below, Joy describes the battles of Calvin and her family and the amazing courage of her husband. We thank Joy for giving us a quick glimpse of the impact that cancer has on everyone.
Calvin……as told by his wife Joy
At 6’4″ and 325 lbs, Calvin looked imposing. But his nickname was Gentle Giant. He loved kids. He loved coaching our kids’ baseball and soccer teams. And it was while coaching our daughter’s soccer team that he was diagnosed. That was a big indication of how sick he felt–he had to step down from coaching before being diagnosed because of the symptoms. He dropped 100 lbs throughout his fight.
His first symptom happened on Mother’s Day 2010. He was at a soccer tournament for his son when his ankle started hurting. By the end of the day it had gotten so painful that he went to the ER thinking he had broken it. X-rays showed nothing so he was sent home. That pain was replaced by rib pain, then back pain and collarbone pain. He’d wake up drenched in sweat. After a month and a half of these symptoms, he was given the cancer diagnosis and started chemo on 7/7. Lucky 7s, we said. Induction brought remission, but he was ravaged by a staph infection in mid-August. He suffered a seizure and was in a coma for a week. Being bedridden brought on blood clots two weeks later. And then his liver started failing from the powerful chemo. A decision was made that a bone marrow transplant would save his life. Luckily, he had several potential matches and he received his transplant on 1/21/11.
The cancer stayed in remission but Graft vs. Host Disease reared it’s ugly head. He had a bout of stomach GvHD in February followed by lung GvHD in June and October. We would Skype so he could see the kids’ musical concerts because he didn’t want to miss them. And when he was up to it, he’d wander across the field to help his wife (who took over) with coaching his son’s soccer team. His call might not have been as loud and his reaction might be a little slower, but he’s back out there where he loves to be.
The fight is not over. The big nasty C word will always be in the back of our minds. But Calvin has fought from hell and back and lived to talk about it.
Joy Carr ~ Calvin’s wife
mom to Brendan and Ryanne