Celebrating Charlie

On April 1, 2017 my Dad, Charlie, celebrated his first day of retirement.  A much-deserved retirement.  He’s a very hard-working and proud man, who often balanced two jobs and did part-time work in his home shop.  He and my mom, Bev, have lived happy and simple lives.  They find happiness in the simple things like family dinners, bonfires, and trips up north just to name a few. 

Lives changed when on August 1, 2017 Dad found out he had Stage IIIB lung cancer.  He went through an aggressive treatment schedule with daily radiation for six (6) weeks and weekly chemo treatments.  Then we waited with abated breath to learn the results of whether or not his body accepted the treatments.  We learned in early December that the treatments successfully and considerably shrunk his lung tumors.  Oh, happy day!  That was very welcome news and provided us with hope.

Until late January 2018.  He had been experiencing unusual symptoms: numbness on the right side of his face and difficulty chewing.  Following various tests, we learned that the cancer cells had reached Dad’s brain, and that his cancer was now considered Stage IV and was incurable.  Without any treatments... his life expectancy was 12-15 months. With effective treatments... 3-5 years.  

Dad opted to undergo radiation and chemo for the second time.  In February, for 10 days he was driven to Alexandria, MN for radiation and then he began chemo after those treatments concluded.  Chemo has not been kind to him.  He’s been unable to eat anything substantial.  The man has lost quite a bit of weight and has nausea and is fatigued.  The cancer in his brain has caused issues with his balance as well so he’s been using a walker and/or crutches to help him walk.

Fast forward to March 19, 2018.  Dad decided to forgo his second scheduled chemo treatment because the side effects for the treatments have been very harsh.   At this point, his quality of life has become the focus.  He’s hoping to regain some energy, his taste and to lessen the nausea.  He learned that his life expectancy is now much shorter than we what we were told in January.  We’re now in the 3–6 months range, and this timeframe is generous.  The next several months will be challenging and difficult as we prepare to say good-bye to a husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, brother, uncle, godfather, cousin, etc. 

The dash in my Dad’s life is shorter than any of us would like it to be.  He’s been very lucky many times since he's had several near-misses: 1) he fell from a silo when he was a senior in high school, 2) also while still in high school he got caught in power takeoff when he was working in a field alone at night, 3) a motorcycle accident.  And this list doesn’t include any of the random injuries to his hands, back, feet, etc. over the years due to the physical nature of his job.  But regardless of how short the dash is, his life has been so full, and he has given so much to those who know him.  He’s a very talented machinist and inventor.  He’s built so many unique machines with just scrap metal, spare engines and elbow grease.  He’s an amazing provider and protector.  He’s spent his life with his family as his focus.  He’s made such an impact on so many people fortunate enough to know him.  And we're so lucky to call him, “Dad.”

The donation goal was made in hopes of helping to ease the financial burden of day-to-day expenses and for Dad’s final arrangements so that we can honor his requests.  FYI: there's an option to make the donation anonymous by choosing the "Hide name and comment..." option.



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Heather Konz 
Cold Spring, MN
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