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Szostak's Road to Recovery

$75,884 of $35,000 goal

Raised by 508 people in 18 months
David and Karly Szostak were married in 2009, and the ride has been a roller coaster ever since.  David has suffered from chronic pulmonary problems since childhood, but he also contracted a serious lung infection shortly after marrying Karly.  Despite working to fight the infection with some of the best doctors in the country, much of his lung capacity has been destroyed.  After investigating the possibility of a risky double-lung transplant, the doctors determined that his case was too dangerous to accept.  Shortly before it became clear that there was not a medical path to improve David’s condition, Karly gave birth to the couple’s fourth child. 


Once David’s prognosis was determined, it was time to focus on some of Karly’s health gremlins which had been swept under the rug.  Months of exhaustive testing revealed that Karly has stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Thankfully, the doctors predict that this will be a very survivable form of cancer and we are begining 6 months of chemotherapy treatments.

Despite all of the tremendous challenges which God has allowed us to endure, he has remained faithful by providing immense grace and an unbelievably supportive family and community to help us through this time.   These generous people help with the kids, house maintenance, grabbing groceries, and keeping our spirits up.   The road ahead will be arduous, but we are confident that the Lord wants to guide us through it so that we can get our feet back on the ground and resume what we love the most: serving all you guys!

As we begin chemotherapy for Karly, it is not yet clear how large our portion of the medical bills for her will be.  However, there are inevitably costs for medical equipment, prescriptions, and doctor bills.  Other funds will help us pay for life and family expenses as long as David and Karly are unable to remain consistently employed.  Any donation, no matter how small, will assist us in paying the upcoming costs while also allowing us to maintain as normal of a life as possible.

Thank you for all of your continuing prayers and support!

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Dear Generous Donors,
I, Karly Szostak, am continuing to be flabbergasted by your generosity. Your donations are extremely helpful during this trying time, helping to pay for medical bills, utility bills, rent, food and an occasional gift for the kids.
May 21, 2019, I completed my bone marrow transplant at John Hopkins Hospital. My older brother Kyle was the donor (He has recovered well). For about 60 days post-transplant, one of my lovely caregivers takes me to the hospital so that the nurses can make sure that my bone marrow transplant was successful. Every day that I go to the hospital, they take blood samples. They are especially concerned to examine my white blood count, hemoglobin and platelets. Recently, my hemoglobin has been low so I have received several blood transfusions. But, I have tolerated the transfusions well. It is really a waiting game of letting my brother’s bone marrow re-grow in me. My main symptoms from the bone marrow transplant and the various drugs that go along with the transplant are nausea and fatigue. But, these symptoms are completely normal for a bone marrow transplant patient. I just have to be patient with my body. For a young mother, this is a hard lesson to learn. I am eager to go back to my mother duties. But, I am trying to be grateful for this time that God has given me. I am trying to make lemonade out of lemons. I have enjoyed many conversations with everyone that has spent time with me during this time. I have also enjoyed time to do various hobbies such as sewing, knitting, drawing and playing musical instruments.
One of my favorite days post-transplant was ironically my first anniversary without David. Even though the day started out with rain and a blood transfusion, my friends and family made the day a day to truly remember. One of my friends took me to the hospital. Afterwards, she fulfilled my request of bringing me to the St. Anthony Shrine. There another friend surprised me with gifts and her company. Then, a couple more friends greeted me at Silver Spring, where I have been staying. One of the friends brought me Holy Communion. Finally, for dinner, my friends, brother, and in-laws had a lovely picnic at the lovely Brookside Gardens. What can I say! Even from heaven, David was making sure our 10th anniversary was memorable!
While I am recovering in Silver Spring under my in-laws watch, my kids are in Bowie under my parents watch. Even with everything going on, they seem to be having a wonderful time with my parents. Some of the many things that they have enjoyed during this time is playing with their friends and going to the pool, Sky Zone, the aquarium, the zoo and Hershey Park. As I have been getting better, my kids have visited me a couple times in Silver Spring. I can’t wait until I get to see them more often!
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We apologize for such a long time in between updates. We have been waiting for some critical test results to return before we sent you something definitive.

2018 started off with us beginning chemotherapy to fight stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Karly’s worst symptoms were a ceaseless cough and extreme anemia. We are so thankful that after one session of chemotherapy, her cough was gone. After a couple more sessions, my anemia and night sweats disappeared. We are also extremely thankful that, despite numbness in her hands, Karly tolerated the drugs quite well. We are so thankful to the Lord that our initial adventure with Hodgkin’s lymphoma went so well. We contribute it to your prayers and a great staff at Maryland Oncology.

From June to December we enjoyed 6 months of no chemotherapy. We tried to make the most of life even with all of David’s health limitations. We toured the Eastern Shore of Maryland, following Harriet Tubman on the Underground Railroad. We visited several beaches and even went on our annual Jersey Shore visit with my family. We visited Fort McHenry, Hershey Park, and a ton of other fantastic places we could only dream about last winter.

Since Fall began, David has been battling illnesses. Now that he’s more compromised, it takes a lot just to keep his airways clear even during a simple cold. He made it through one hospital visit quite well and was able to continue the IV meds at home. Impressively, we were able to make it up to Hershey to stay with Karly’s family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We weren't able to do that last year, so that's an indicator of how well Karly has been feeling.

Just after the new year, Karly received her PET scan report showing that she still has active hodgkin's lymphoma. Sure enough, we need more chemotherapy and an extended stay in the hospital to perform a stem-cell transplant. There are a lot of potential complications and risks, but because of the resistant nature of the cancer, the doctors are concerned that unless they nuke it, it will keep coming back. Please keep praying that things turn out well.

These struggles have given us a very acute reminder that although this earth has many wonderful things, this life is a preparation for eternity. As good as things can get here, it always remains messy and we continually have a longing for something stable which will never exist here. That's the challenge of being a Christian: we always have one foot on earth and one in heaven. We can never get too settled here, though it's often tempting.

God has faithfully brought us this far. If he wants to keep us on this good Earth, he is more than capable of working things out to keep us here. But in both of our cases, God needs to move big mountains for that to happen. He's done it before. Please pray for us that we might have perseverance, courage, and joy as we navigate forward. Christ left behind the comforts of Heaven to join us in the unpleasant details of life. May he help us all live lives of heroic virtue in a world that has often forgotten him.
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Praise the Lord; we have completed chemotherapy! Six months from now Karly will undergo another PET scan to see if the cancer has been eradicated. Now we move on to re-examine her heart and see if surgery is required this summer.

While we certainly have some severe limits, we've been able to resume homeschool field trips and other enjoyable outings. It may take everything we have, but we weren't sure we would ever be able to do this again. Thank you for your continued prayers and keep it up!
Following Harriet Tubman's footsteps.
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Thank you all for your continued support! Karly is continuing to improve and her blood numbers are back to normal. Her most recent PET scan indicates that we are definitely going in the right direction. She will still need a heart surgery to correct a long term valve problem after she wraps up chemotherapy. However, she has mostly good days and has resumed many of her previous activities. Thank God for his faithfulness!

Unfortunately, my situation is not improving, even though spring is here and we were hoping that would help somewhat. The good news is that because Karly has stabilized, there is a lot less stress on me. We have been able to pick up some things that we haven't touched for years, like playing musical instruments and making board game again.

Keep us in prayers so that we continue to have good news to report.
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Raised by 508 people in 18 months
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