Felix's fight started a year before, almost to the day. After 3 weeks at New York Presbyterian Hospital in NYC, Felix was diagnosed with Biphasic Pleural Mesothelioma. Over the year, he had 5 surgeries, 5 weeks of radiation, 6 cycles of chemotherapy, 6 months of a clinical trial drug, and a combined 8 weeks stay in 4 different hospitals.
He endured pain, discomfort, and loss over the past year. He was in the hospital for Christmas last year, and was having emergency surgery to drain a pericardial effusion on Thanksgiving (his favorite holiday!) this year. And, in spite of all that, he remained grateful, hopeful, and appreciative of every little thing he was given. No matter how invasive or painful a procedure was done to him, he thanked the doctors before they left the room.
On the evening of December 11th, Felix's breathing became more labored. He drifted in and out of a dream-like state. The doctors and nurses thought he was fine because his vital signs looked good. He was waiting for transport to Mount Sinai in hopes of being able to have surgery to remove his pericardium so his heart could beat properly. His heart was being restricted due to the lining being thickened.
I held his hand and discussed the fleeting visions he was experiencing. He spoke in a quiet child-like way. At one point he was ordering vegetable pizzas, another time giving his name and birthdate for imaginary nurses. We talked about taking a road trip to Arizona with my friend Chris. He said, "I would love that."
The most comforting, yet foreboding, vision was when Felix said he had just spoken with Grandma Lena who passed away in 2007. I asked how she was and he said, "she's good." I asked what they talked about and he said, "weed, canning vegetables, and carrot juice."
At around 1am, I texted my husband to bring my daughter Bekah to see Felix. I wanted to make sure she saw him in case anything happened. She held his hand for 3 hours. They talked about long pockets and turnip tea. He said he couldn't wait to see the sets for Mamma Mia that Bekah was going to work on.
At about 5am I was finally able to convince the nurse to get the ICU doctor. Earlier I had thought about just making him as comfortable as possible, and, holding his hand, letting him slip away, but I was still holding on to hope that he would pull through. They immediately brought him upstairs to ICU. I couldn't even ride in the elevator with him. I followed behind in the next elevator.
Bekah, Frank, and I waited in the impersonal ICU waiting room with all the belongings representing a 3 week hospital stay surrounding us. Frank called a Lyft back home so Bekah could go to school. After they left, I was allowed to go in and see him for a minute. I held his hand, looked in his eyes, and told him he was going to be okay, I was right here, and I would be right back in a minute. It turned out to be another set of broken promises.
I went back to the cold waiting room, alone. The ICU doctor came back in and asked if I was alone and if I could get someone there as soon as possible. She said it wasn't looking good. They had intubated him. They had trouble putting the tube in and he offered to do it himself (typicalFelix!). But it wasn't enough. They were currently doing CPR on him. Then I was alone again in the waiting room.
Still alone, the ICU doctor came back again and said he didn't make it. She held me while I cried. Then I was alone again, charged with telling the world what we had all just lost.
For the past year, all of our energy and fundraising has gone to fighting cancer and providing Felix with ability to work on his artwork, visit his favorite places, see his favorite people and experience life in exactly the way a 28 year old should.
We lost Felix suddenly, so there are projects unfinished, people and places unseen. Felix was never one to ask for help, or even assume he deserved it… We know that he did, and he still does.
Between the remaining medical bills and the expense of memorial services, we must now ask for help on our dear Felix’s behalf. This is an opportunity to ensure that we can memorialize Felix in the fashion that he would have wanted.
There is nothing fair about how fast things can change, or the literal and figurative cost incurred with loosing someone. These things not only have a cost, they are each incredibly expensive: funerals, burials, cremation, transporting remains, and memorials. Felix wanted to spend his life in Concord, MA and we believe he would find value in being laid to rest near his ancestors.
We need to provide all of Felix’s friends and family the opportunity to say goodbye, so there will be services in both New York and Massachusetts. These services will be coming up soon, so we're needing to raise funds fast. If you have to ability to contribute financially to these processes and services, we ask that you please do so as soon as you can. His family simply cannot take on this financial burden on top of the grief of losing what was most valuable: Felix.
If you don’t have to ability to contribute financially, we urge you to take action by sharing this campaign, and sharing Felix’s story. We will be posting updates about the timing of services soon.
Cancer closed in around Felix’s heart, but it never limited his capacity for love.
We know he loves us. Let's make sure he knows we love him too.
We love him now, we’ll love him forever.
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- Johannes Marstad
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Fundraising team: Team Felix (10)
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