One Foot Forward for Kim

Kim’s story isn’t brief…

Which is why jamming this into a short blurb won’t be easy.

Her battle is timeless, one for the history books, one few will ever read, or hear about.

But us fortunate few, will have the honour of being able to inspire others, simply by saying her name.

Six years ago, I sat in the Kim’s car with her, outside my house, thinking it may be the last time I ever see her. On the verge of breaking up, after our first serious fight, she looked into my eyes, as I tried handing what I thought was, the last gift I would ever give her. Not knowing, she was about to give me the worst news I have ever heard. As her eyes started to well up, I could see that it wasn’t over our fight, or our break-up, but a whole new fear, something neither of us have ever seen or experienced before.

“I have cancer” she poured out, instantly sobbing, falling into my shoulder.

I wrapped my arms around her, instantly knowing what I had to do. This was my moment, to make up for everything, my one chance to turn things around for her. AS fortunate as I was to have her back, the rage built up inside me, as I slammed my hands into the dash of her car.

Thinking, “How”? “How could something like this, happen to a girl like her”?

I swore from that day on, I would never leave her side, not until we beat this, together.

Its been 6 years since she was diagnosed with Stage-4 Cancer (Osteosarcoma), located behind her right knee. Given only 3 days to decide whether or not she was gong to amputate her leg and pursue chemotherapy…

3 days!!!

Could you ever imagine, at the age of 21, being told “If you don’t amputate your right leg, you’re going to die”? Telling this to an extremely physically active girl, who not only plays soccer, but rides/trains her horse almost every single day, and at the time was almost a professional at trick hula-hooping.

So, what other choice did she have, but to remove it at its source. And like that her journey began. Not even two days out of surgery, she was up on her crutches, making her way up-and-down the ward, passing people who haven’t gotten up out of bed for months. Cracking jokes, and laughing at her “stump”. The nurses all stunned, never seeing anything quite like it. Her attitude was a singularity, brightening everyone around her. Unknowing the true torture that was going to befall her.

The chemotherapy…

I first hand, witnessed the face of death, or at least what I had imagined it looking like.

 

The girl of my dreams, my high-school sweetheart, nothing but skin and bones, lifeless in her wheel chair. Her beautiful long, black, thick hair, completely gone. Do you know what its like to call out your life’s name? Only to see her eye peek out from under her eye-lid, to show you she is still in there, deep down, pushing for every last ounce of energy, just to show me she’s ok. It changes you, it twists and turns your soul, breaking you a thousand times over.

Her mother and I would carry her from her chair to the bathroom, to bath her, or so she could relieve herself. We’d have to carry her up and down stairs, because she couldn’t physically move. She merely winced in agony, and muttered simple requests. That’s all her body would let her do. I would never, ever, in a million years, wish chemotherapy upon anyone. The suffering, the mental and physical anguish is unbearable. Watching a loved one go through that, is a pain no one should ever have to experience. But Kim, as I knew she would, persevered, making it through all her treatments with flying colours, eventually ridding herself of any trace of the osteosarcoma.

Once she recovered, and got back to her healthy, normal self. We continued on with our lives. Going to concerts, traveling, seeing the world. And on our anniversary, in the middle of thousands of people, at a concert, seeing one of our favorite artists. I asked her to marry me….

Unfortunately for her, that’s not where our story ends…

Almost two years after her first diagnosis, she went in for her monthly blood test. we get a call. There is cancer forming within her lungs. Tiny, cancerous nodules forming on the inside walls of each lung. Although not nearly as threatening as her osteosarcoma, still threatening none-the-less. Her surgery was long and arduous, leaving a tube through her chest and into her lung, keeping it inflated while draining all/any excess fluid at the same time. She remained at the hospital for two weeks all three times she had to go in to get them removed. Having that same tube in her chest for a month at a time. Now the removing It was a whole different story…

Not putting her to sleep, making her live every second of it. She repeated “No, no, no, no”! Crying in fear. They pulled this (inch-wide) 12-inch long tube from inside her lung, through her rib-cage, and out of her skin. As soon as it exited her body, they pulled the stitches closed. While all this was happening, I held her hand. Squeezing it, to the point it felt it was going to break. She stared right through me, as the tears rolled, no, poured down her face in pain. She described it as being the most excruciating, painful experience of her life. And she has experienced this, THREE TIMES so far…

Not shortly after her second victory from yet another insane battle, with what doctors described as an “unbeatable” disease. Stronger (mentally and physically) than ever, we started the next part of our journey, underneath the Rocky Mountains, in the beautiful valley of Canmore. We got married…

Since then Kim has been defeating up-sprouting, cancerous tumors throughout her body with targeted radiation treatments. Causing her body to swell, and skin to burn. Only minorly draining her energy. So far she has done this twice, two weeks at a time, in two different areas of her body both times.

Kim and I are now focusing on starting a family. After she completed chemo, the doctors told her she would only have 33% chance of ever being able to conceive. Were attempting regardless, but are seeking help at the Calgary fertility clinic. If there’s one last thing I could give her, it would be a child.

Each time she has gone through treatment and surgery, she has had to take time off work. Work she absolutely loves, making her unable to contribute to our bills (rent, utilities, or groceries). The guilt and stress of that alone upset her immensely, causing even more difficulty in creating a child. Thats why we are coming to you for help. I unfortunately don’t make enough between my three jobs to be able to cover both of our shares in contributing to our daily living. You will be giving Kim peace of mind, easing the stress of having to take much needed time off of work to focus on healing (and making us a little one of course).

Kim and I have been pushing ourselves financially to the limit to make ends meet, but I fear that this is where we have to draw the line, to give in and finally ask for help.

Thank you for taking the time to read/listen to Kim’s story!

We can not thank you all enough for your time and contributions <3
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Organizer

Devin Petitclerc 
Organizer
Cochrane, AB
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