David Marquez passed away unexpectedly on June 23rd, 2020 leaving behind his wife of 12 years and four children: Lexi 8, Pepper 5, Gunner 3 1/2 and Indy 10 months old. He was an incredible husband, father, son, brother, uncle friend and so much more. David was a selfless man, the kind of person who never thought of himself & did everything for those around him.
We would like to tell David's story in the words of his wife, Vanessa Marquez, who has experienced his illnesses with him through it all. It is a long read, but it tells the details of what Dave & his family suffered through the past few years:
"Today, June 23rd, just before noon, my sweet husband David passed away. The events from today will be engraved in my memory forever. I’m still in complete shock. My heart is broken, my soul feels split in two. David was my absolute best friend. He and I were so in sync with each other, it made raising our kids so easy. He could make me laugh even when I didn’t want to. We had SO much fun together. He was a royal pain, but he was mine. He was the most amazing father and family man. Omg he adored these kids so much. He would get up early every day he was home to spend time with them or make them breakfast even when he was not even feeling well. He said it was his favorite thing to do. And even when he wasn't feeling well he’d try to do so much to give me a break. It drove me nuts because I knew he needed rest, but it made him happy and that was important. We had our ups and downs, as all marriages do, but we were bonded in such a way that life without the other just seemed impossible.
I asked a dear friend if it was weird for me to feel like I needed to share Dave's medical story. I very rarely shared Dave's suffering on social media. Anything that was serious I would seek prayer (and we are so grateful for every single prayer!) I don’t think many truly understand the extent of Davids suffering . She responded and told me that we, specifically Dave, suffered in silence. And it’s so true, he did. He never wanted to make anyone feel uncomfortable or bring people to feel bad for him. She also told me many people did not know he was THAT sick. And as I’ve been talking to some other close friends and family they also said they didn’t realize he was THAT sick. He was and he wasn’t. There’s always that risk, but he seemed like he was getting better.
We did our best to document everything from start to finish. I was determined to find a pattern or trigger or answers in general. It truly breaks my heart reflecting on all of his pain. this is a long read but it’s weighing on me to share. It shares his medical story and sheds little more light of what kind of person he was DESPITE all of his suffering. If you knew or talked to Dave in the last 2 years. This was the behind the scenes Dave never told you.
We moved to Kansas in October of 2018 to try and start a better life for our family. At this point he’d already been battling Crohn’s disease for a little over a year. It had seemed to calm down. We prayed a lot about the decision and felt led by God to make this move. Dave had a new job lined up, we would be able to survive off one income, affordably rent a house, and share new experiences with his family and new friends. The downside: when you’re living in a budget you don’t always eat well, you eat more affordably and when you’re trying to fully support your family on one income so your wife can stay home with the kids, it presents a different kind of stress. Top that with a shift in hours from days to a graveyard shift and it’s not the best recipe for healthy living when you’re a caring but sick family man.
There were days when Dave would sometimes go with no sleep. He would work a graveyard shift, come home and the kids would naturally want all of his attention. They were used to having him home and so involved. (He didn’t work most of 2018 so i could work full time). Dave being the involved and loving father he was, never denied his kids attention or playtime or trying to give me a hand even when I argued he needed to sleep. He was not sleeping enough and when that happens, your body doesn’t have time to heal and regenerate like he needed. He was stubborn and unfortunately, shortly after our move, he had a few hospital stays. Being in rural Kansas, it meant we’d have to drive either 20- 45 mins to get to an ER depending on severity determined which hospital. We only had one car and sometimes he would have to take himself for the case of not knowing when or what time he’d be released. Could have been at 2am and he didn’t want to lug the kids through the cold weather at 2 am just to pick him up. It was very emotional. It wasn’t really good. We also only had one car. Stress and diet took a toll on David’s health and we had to make some reluctant changes.
In March of 2019 we made the tough decision to move back to California so we could live with my parents and my mom could watch the kids for us when i would return to work. I was planning on being more full time, and Dave more part time or not working at all depending on his health. We had that option. When we left Kansas they said his Crohns was severe. When we moved back, we got it to a place where it was more manageable but still an annoyance. Dave got hired at Apple (where he tried applying prior to our move), and things were looking good. It felt like we were right where God wanted us. Dave’s stress was reduced and his diet was improving. There was also the chance I still may not have had to return to work yet, which is what he wanted especially because i was pregnant. We were all stoked!
A month later, in April, Dave developed some very bad pain in his calf. Swelling followed, then he couldn’t walk. He tried to push through for work but he landed in the hospital. Unfortunately again, Dave had developed a DVT. A deep vein blood clot basically. He started blood thinners. During this time, he was also working on finding a good GI that would get him the best treatment for his severe Crohns. We somehow landed at UCI medical and he landed a PHENOMENAL doctor. She connected us with a hematologist/oncologist for further testing. She said if we got the clot to go away and not come back in 6 months, he wouldn’t need to be on blood thinners the rest of his life. Six months came and went and that October he was still clot free.
Within a matter of weeks, I believe Dave had a series bad Crohns flare ups and one landed him back in the ER. They did a few tests and his white blood could was very high and he showed to have a fatty liver. After more tests, they noticed his appendix was inflamed. After 48 hours of antibiotics, and no reduction of inflammation, they reluctantly decided his appendix needed to be removed as the swelling didn’t improve and his white blood cells were still too high. After removing and getting results they determined it was Crohns related the appendix was covered in Crohns cells. After that, they began discussing the possibility of a bowel reduction surgery. Not ideal but he’d been battling for 2 years and he couldn’t keep landing in the hospital. Dave got to come home on his birthday June 9 the day after his appendectomy. We were so happy. We thought things would resume, move forward and improve.
It was probably exactly a year ago when Dave's first shingles outbreak occurred on his side. Poor guy got hit so bad. It went away, after a doctor appointment and after meeting with his GI we thought we were in the clear. we thought it was Crohns related because he had a similar reaction on his skin when Crohns started. He was fine, then 10 days later, he was back. The cycle continued pretty much like clockwork through the holidays and up until March when he got the first half of the live vaccine. For 9 months straight, he’d come home and once he did within 4 to 10 days they’d be back on his beautiful face and he’d be back in the ER. It was so frustrating. It was so painful for him. He said he wouldn’t wish it on anybody. One of his facial outbreaks went to his right eye and he went permanently blind in that eye a month later.
In August 2019, we had Indy and the Lord was gracious enough to keep him shingles free for her arrival and the week to follow. She was home 1 week before it hit again. It was just enough time to get our/my routine with her. Again it continued almost every other week for the next 8 months until he got the vaccine this March. It was always interesting how when he’d have an outbreak, it started with Crohns flare ups. The doctors determined when his body was in stress he’d have a break out. Given his history they also didn’t want to keep poking the poor guy so they did a picc line to eliminate IVs and needles. He had a total of 4 (2 in each arm) Picc lines and if I remember correctly, they typically wait a period of time before trying the same arm again, to prevent complications, but I think they made an exception in one or both arms. I don’t recall. And I don’t know why they made those exceptions.
Shingles and Crohns continued to be the number 1 & 2 pain in the butt until January 2020. Dave went in for a Crohns flare up and in a scan checking for an abscess, they discovered his Pancreatic cancer. They diagnosed him as stage 1. It was a HUGE blessing in disguise but it was still scary because Pancreatic cancer isn’t anything to take lightly in any stage. His team of doctors decided to start infusions to help treat the shingles and cancer. At the same time he had to go off ALL Crohns medication for 8 weeks to prepare his body for the shingles vaccine. He did chemo infusions at least 8 weeks and the cancer reduced and maintained a small area. They discussed eventually doing a surgery to remove the cancer, but we never got to that point. Due to being off the Crohns meds, they didn’t want to do anything to agitate his stomach. He was taken off all solid foods for 3-4 weeks until they could determine what to do. He lost a significant amount of weight. And for a guy who LOVES food, this was torture!
In March, I don’t recall why Dave was in the ER but I’m pretty sure it was because of shingles or Crohns again, but he felt off somehow. While in his room he noticed he was feeling funny. His body started shaking and he had the sweats and a fever and fortunately was able to hit the nurses call button literally seconds before he blacked out. Dave said he woke up to a crowd of doctors and nurses all around him and it was the scariest thing he’s every experienced. He had gone septic and was coding due to an undetected blood infection. We later learned there was sugar build up along the inside of his PICC LINE causing the bacteria to grow. When they took Dave off solids before this visit they kept him on all IV fluids and sugars and fats to keep him nourished. The downside, it caused this. Dave supposed to come home the day before but one of his symptoms or pending test results kept him there another day. Had he come home as originally planned, this would have happened at 1 am after we were all asleep and he would have died. The kids were the first to greet him in the morning, so i believe had he been home one of the kids would have found him in the morning. I remember thinking how this was another blessing in disguise. His life was spared twice now (medically).
Dave recovered and received his shingles vaccine part 1, at the end of April I believe. That same stay he got a port-a-cath put in his chest. No more PICC lines or IVs unless absolutely necessary. His veins were all bad from all the poking he’d endured. It was terrible. A few day’s after being home Dave developed bad chest pain. He was in tears and couldn’t stop crying. Said it felt like needles and knives being struck into his chest. He immediately contacted his doctor and was advised to come in. I was unable to go because of Covid. At the time that was the worst day ever. Dave's chest port line had migrated and was hitting his right atrium wall causing his pain and there was fluid pooling around his heart. Possibly the fluids from his meds that didn’t go through properly. He would need surgery to replace the port after the fluid reduced to eliminate infection. He was nervous. He didn’t want another surgery. He kept telling me he wanted me there before and after and it made him so insecure to go through this all alone. It was so frustrating and heartbreaking.
They removed and replaced the line the next day. He was monitored for 24 hours then he came home. A few days later, the same symptoms developed and he was unable to push his meds or flushes through. He went back in. The doctor this time didn’t want to put him under anesthesia again so soon so they decided to go in through his groin for a less invasive procedure. He would be sedated but not unconscious. He went in he came out and a week later something wasn’t right AGAIN. He was unable to get any return from his line or push through his meds but this time no pain. He went back in (all these visits were ALONE because of Covid) and you guess it one more replacement.
Dave had his final replacement port put in. They avoided putting the port on his right side where they normally would because he had a couple blood clots there from his picc lines. For whatever reason they did it on his right side this time and said this time that they line would be in different veins and would by pass the blood clots. Finally everything seemed to be working well. He was doing infusions and antivirals and antibiotics at home. FINALLY some normalcy. I believe around this time they also determined that he had some swelling of his mitral valve as a result of the traveling line and fluid around the heart building up bacteria. So we added on mitral valve disease to his list of medical issues.
With the mitral valve disease came some changes in behavior. He had to take it easy which he didn’t do well. Dave was a doer. And he loved the kids. It caused labored breathing and fatigue. Around mid or end of May after a month of dealing with the ports, Dave began to feel really weak. Lost his appetite and the day before my grandmas funeral service, he got VERY fatigued. He woke up feeling better. He made arrangements the night before, for our friends Torey and Kristina to come stay with him and Indy so I could attend the service with the older kids. The next morning he felt a little better and said he’d be okay to stay in the car with Indy. We argued and he insisted he knew himself best after all he’d been through. He cancelled arrangements and he went with me and sat in the car. He was very tired and slept the whole time we were home.
Later that afternoon he developed very bad chest pain. He thought it was maybe his line but his meds and flushed still worked. He was sweating and couldn’t even barely stand. He was crying non stop because he was so scared. He was scared to have open heart surgery. Even though Mission Hospital has one of the best cardiac units around. He just kept crying and sobbing so hard. It was gut wrenching to watch. I cried with him and prayed and held his hand the whole way there. When we got to the hospital he couldn’t walk. This was the first time he said he REALLY needed me to go with him inside so i did despite Covid. This was also the first time i had to wheel him in. He could not walk. I got a wheel chair.
When we got in the ER the admitting nurse told me I would only be allowed to speak for him and fill out his forms but that was it. Dave sat there sobbing and terrified. I said, even in his condition i couldn’t stay with him? She said unfortunately she’d done that a couple times and got in trouble for it. She also said while she didn’t mind because she thinks it was important, her supervisors did and she’d get in trouble.
When she asked me what his medical conditions were, and why he had the chest port. I was so disturbed by his behavior, I blanked. It took me a second then I remembered and just blurted out all of his conditions. Where to begin? Blood clots in his calf and right arm, shingles off and on for the last year, stage one pancreatic cancer but managed and under control, blood infection, small valve. She gave me this confused look. A look I’ll never forget. She looked at me with the most compassionate sympathetic eyes, and kneeled down to get eye level with Dave, the same way you would to speak to a small child. She put her hand on his knee and said, "You’ve been here before, haven’t you?" He nodded yes. She said, "I’ve helped you before, haven’t I?" He nodded yes. She said, "You have 4 young kids and a wife at home. Is this your wife?" He nodded again. She said compassionately and softly, "we are going to take good care of you, okay?" And he said okay. She gave me some “forms” to fill out, even though they didn’t actually need all of them. She pulled us back to do labs and whatever in triage lab area, she got us a room and told me to get comfortable she was not sending us back to the ER waiting room. She said she was making an exception and an executive decision for me to stay. She said she didn’t care and asked me what I needed.
Dave was able to calm down. He said he was so glad I was able to stay, but he was still dripping sweat, feverish, and breathing heavy and still in an immense amount of pain. I ended up leaving when Dave was being taken back for his X-ray. He insisted i should go be with the kids and he’d be okay now that he was getting tests run and he knew I’d be along process. The next day the results from most of the labs came back and he told me he had a mild heart attack. The elevated enzymes were the only answer. Poor guy had been through so much. He was there about a week and they sent him home on more blood thinners, determined the blood clot in his leg had finally gone away, and sent him home with some different at home meds.
Just before his birthday he still felt weak. He asked if we could celebrate early because he wasn’t sure what the next week would hold. And that was true. We learned very quickly that we needed to take one day at a time and. Ever count on tomorrow. We weren’t necessarily as prepared but we pulled it together and celebrated on Sunday, June 7th. It was a nice mellow day. After 10 months we FINALLY got our first family picture with ALL six of us. Now, the last two or three weeks are kind of a blur. Dave was home most of the week of his actual birthday, June 9th, but went back in on the 12th because he was exhausted, wasn’t eating wasn’t drinking and became very dehydrated he practically slept for 2.5 days straight and got very weak. He came home after a couple days of fluids. While he was there though, for some reason, one of the nurses or phlebotomists used an IV to draw blood. They didn’t use the chest port. I got so irritated they poked him when they didn’t need to. He said it really hurt for some reason the next day when he got home.
Tuesday the 17th, his face started to get red and I told him it looked like shingles was coming on. Sure enough it did. We took Dave to the ER for the 4th time that month and while there they changed his antivirals, he finally got the second half of his shingles vaccine after his face healed. The vaccine really helped reduce symptoms. He hadn’t had an out break since April thanks to the vaccine. I was so anxious for him to get the second half. It was great! On the other end, they noticed his arm had developed some redness and looked infected. They biopsied his face and his arm where he had the random IV. There was a knot. It also appeared his arms were having a further reaction of some sort so they took more biopsy’s of more of his wounds. Biopsy and blood thinners didn’t go to well so they had to change bandages very frequently. The Results showed He developed a skin infection from the location of the random IV the nurse or phlebotomist did. It spread down his chest shoulder and left arm. It looked like a flesh eating disease up close and a shot gun wound from a far. It was awful i couldn’t even look, and he said it hurt.
Father’s Day morning he came home. He helped me prep some jalapeño poppers and we all had a really nice day. I was so busy I didn’t get to take any pictures. I’m so upset about that. I even said that to him that evening. He assured me it was okay, we all had a nice day and I shouldn’t be bothered by it. He always made me feel better. Always told me not to be so hard on myself. He was such a good man.
This was a long post but it felt necessary. Dave truly did go through so much in his life. He was strong in so many ways and I know he fought to the very last minute. I don’t believe he was scared of dying. I believe he didn’t want to leave us. He had so much life he wanted to live. The prayers helped heal and comfort him. They DID work even though he passed away. God is good and Dave trusted Him and found comfort knowing nurses, doctors, friends, family, prayer groups, pastors and churches were praying. Thank you all for that."
David has been in & out of the hospital for a few years, so you can imagine the toll this has taken on their family with medical bills stacking up. Between this and COVID, both of them have been out of work for the past few months. Now with the passing of our beloved David Marquez, Vanessa will need to arrange his funeral costs. Not to mention raising 4 children on her own. Anything you can donate to help out the Marquez family is so appreciated. Everything raised will go directly to Vanessa & their children.
We have also created a Meal Train for the Marquez family if you would like to participate in that. Here is the link:
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