Frank's Fight

$11,568 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 106 people in 4 months
On November 12, Frank and I went to the ER to rule out a potential stroke. He had gotten dizzy after moving baby furniture. It really seemed like it was nothing, but with a baby coming, we wanted to be sure. He stayed in the hospital for a week of tests and it was determined there was a lesion on his brain that required a biopsy.

His brain biospy was November 20. It was confirmed to be a Grade II tumor. Unfortunately, there were post op complications that lead to bleeding and swelling of the brain. He had a 2nd surgery on November 26--a craniotomy to remove a portion of his skull to relieve pressure. He's also had some follow up procedures of a temporary shunt and trach.

We've been advised that it's a long road back of rehab and recovery, and then after that, we'll have to deal with the tumor.  Monies raised via this site will go to Frank's medical bills directly, and the bills for the birth of Baby Girl Durda in January.  We appreciate all the love and support we have been given.
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Today, in the early hours of morning, the love of my life ended the fight. While heartbroken in a way I can’t properly articulate, a part of me is glad he was able to take control over this last act as he’d had no control since 11/12. I had just left him a bit before that to take Kate home. Even stopped and got Whataburger because I was thinking of him. My wonderful sister was staying the night to be with him and was checking on him every 30 mins and he just went peacefully. It was surprising in a way: he had been very comfortable over the weekend as his breathing was back to steady levels and he wasn’t showing many of the signs they warned us about.

I’ll never forgive myself that it was she instead of I who was there for that, but I also knew he wouldn’t have done it while I was there. I also had a premonition that it would happen on 3/12, because it was 4 months EXACTLY since we went to the hospital and Frank likes everything done cleanly and in complete numbers. (Better to code that way.) Moe and Frank were also pretty close, despite having only known each other for 4 years. Moe has a lot of interests and Frank knows everything about everything, so the respect and admiration levels between the two of them was high. How do you ever repay your sibling for making sure your husband wasn’t alone at the end?

I had just found my sweet prince and in a fleeting moment it felt like, he was gone. I’m not sure how I’ll do it, but I know I will continue to need the wonderful village that has built up around us so far.

I’m getting the times nailed down tomorrow but the details I have so far:

Visitation/Viewing/Wake on Friday late afternoon/evening.

Laurel Land Funeral Home
7100 Crowley Road
Fort Worth, TX 76134
Phone: 817-293-1350

Funeral on Saturday morning at:

Trinity Cumberland Presbyterian Church
(This is the longtime Durda family church. Frank was an elder here and his family helped build this location.)
7120 W. Cleburne Road
Fort Worth, TX 76133
Pastor Randy Hardisty
Phone: 817-294-6149

Burial/Graveside service to follow immediately after at:

Greenwood Cemetery
3100 White Settlement Road
Fort Worth, TX 76107
Phone: 817-336-0584

When we left his room for the last time, we stopped by the vending machine to get a Coke. All of the choices were sold out....except for Dr. Pepper, his favorite.

Thank you Frank, for choosing me.
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Thanks for the sharing of our post and all the donations. It is very much appreciated. If you haven’t yet shared or tweeted, would you mind doing so? Just hoping for something to promote alertness.

Frank has been moved to in patient hospice as of last night. He’s still really not in much pain and overall pretty stable. Just on Tylenol mainly. For our local friends, we would appreciate any visitors. I understand this may be emotionally tough and totally get if you can’t go. I’m trying to be there as much as I can while still being a Mom to Kate. If you do go, we continue to read books or the paper, sing, listen to music, pray, etc.

Please do wash your hands though :)There are no set hours and the rules are looser (you can send/bring flowers although I’m the flower girl and Frank is the plant guy.) I plan to bring the dogs up there.

He’s at Vitas Hopsice Unit at Baylor Scott and White All Saints Medical Center in downtown Fort Worth. Ironically, this is where we went first on 11/12. It’s in Building C, 3rd floor, Room 383. Park in the garage off the corner of Enderly and 8th Avenue. Parking is free.
Technical address is 1400 Eighth Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76104 but make sure to look for the parking garage I mentioned.

I feel very guilty about not being able to bring him home, but the amount of care needed by both Frank and Kate is high. It just feels like another “thing” in this journey that is out of my control. And then learning about all the ironies of hospice....I can take him home but do the majority of the care myself or pay out of pocket to have someone here to help or pay room and board at a nursing facility, etc. I had no idea.

So I’m trying to bring as much “home” to him as possible.

I’m so grateful to everyone who has helped us.
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First of all, I want to express our sincere gratefulness for everyone who has helped us since November 12. The outpouring of love has been more than I ever could have imagined. We’ve had homecooked meals brought to us, lovely baby gifts sent to us, a meal delivery service sent to us, people donating their time and muscles to help with house chores, cleaning and nursery setup, and visits to Frank’s room to keep him company. Our daughter Kate (Kathryn Anne) was born on 1/8 and the wonderful hospital staff wheeled us there within 2 hours of delivery. We’ve had friends and family watch her since then at the house so Frank and I can be at the hospital and we are truly blessed to have such a great support system. Our jobs have been incredibly accommodating. The funds generated from this page have been wonderful as well, as all 3 of us were hospitalized in early January and the paper trail of bills from that time frame is coming in.

This is a post I never wanted to write. Our journey through December and early January consisted of A LOT of waiting for more consistent alertness, as we were waiting for bleeding to absorb and swelling to go down. We were told consistently “it just takes time for wakefulness.” Frank had a permanent shunt put in, then turned off because it wasn’t working and then had the shunt used as an external shunt on the fly. On January 11, Frank had surgery to rule out/drain a potential brain abscess. There was no infection and fluid was drained so we were hopeful.

On January 30, his doctors advised that the most recent MRI showed his tumor (which hadn’t been visbile on all the follow up MRIs after his original surgery) was back, aggressive and presumed to be upgraded to a Stage 4 glioma. This was obviously hard to digest as we had been told to “bear down for a long recovery from the bleed” and the initial tumor diagnosis was a Stage II, lower aggression type. We’ve since learned/been told that his original tumor probably grew into this type, or it could have been that kind or a mixed kind of tumor all along and the biopsy sample just showed one of the types. It was incredibly difficult to turn on a dime and move from a long recovery plan to being told it’s terminal and you have no options.

In the weeks since, I’ve gotten second and third opinions. I’ve sent his scans out to other medical professionals that I know and asked their opinions. We were already doing essential oils, prayer groups, sensory stimulation and physical therapy to promote healing and alertness. I’ve had him prayed for, blessed, anointed and healing hands laid upon. Logically, we understand (and knew pre-biopsy) that his type of tumor wouldn’t be curable but there were some treatment options. The worst feeling in the world is we can’t get any type of treatment option for him (chemo, radiation, clinical trials, etc.) because of the lack of alertness. It’s referred to as minimally conscious or disorder of consciousness. And it’s befuddled all his doctors from the start—even with everything going on in his head (swelling, edema, etc.) they still expect him to be more alert than he is. But when he is alert, his comprehension level is there. And as of late, he’s had more alert days which is confusing.

I’m a mom of a newborn who is having to make appointments at hospices and funeral homes, and feels constantly guilty that I am not doing enough for either Frank or Kate.

I didn’t want to write this post because it feels like the end. And if we look at the facts and think logically (like Frank is known for), we probably are. I don’t have an unrealistic expectation that Frank will rise and run a marathon or write some software code. But the nagging intangible is this: We have all thought that Frank would wake up to a higher level of alertness. At this point, this is all I really want for Frank for some finality. Even if it’s just for a bit. Frank hasn’t had any control over having a tumor or having surgery complications or really anything since his biopsy surgery. We haven’t caught a break, with the exception of healthy baby Kate. As his wife and advocate, I still believe within our intertwined souls that it (some level of alertness) could happen. I can’t figure out why he has survived so long through so much (there is a lot I have mentioned but then other things like the stress of being in the ICU and the hospital for so long, infections, constantly being poked and prodded, etc.) and it makes me wonder if that is why.

So you don’t think I am crazy, I know what I want probably isn’t going to happen. I’ve been spending my days at the bank and the lawyer and having the hospice conversations. Frank would like everything to be prepared so I’m doing it.

BUT...I’m sharing this post today because:

1. I’d like for you all to help share our story as much as possible via social media. Please retweet or share.
2. Why? Maybe someone within your network works in the neurology or neurosciences field and they have experience in #MinimallyConscious or #DisordersofConsciousness state and perhaps they have an idea.
3. The Factor of Faith. So many people are praying for Frank. So many people, especially his medical providers, believe in the power of prayer and have seen miracles and believe in miracles. While I understand that my prayers might not be answered...they could be. And it can’t hurt to ask.

I can express enough how grateful I am to everyone who has supported us. Thanks in advance as we try to go for this last rally/push in the #FightForFrank
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Thanks to all of Frank's sweet co-workers who requested I start this so they could support us. We are humbled by your gratitude. I am only sharing this link because several other people within our wonderful support network have asked about it.

Frank had a neutral week in the alertness area. We worked with his doctors and changed some medicines that were making him drowsy, sleepy and tired.....don't need that right now! As of when I left tonight, we are starting to see the alertness level move back to where we were last week. Not all the way back, but not neutral either.

I've just received some estimates for the hospital bill for Baby Girl Durda and one for Frank's 10 block ambulance ride when he moved from Baylor All Saints to Harris Methodist at his neurosurgeon's request ($900) so this is very much appreciated. I can't say it enough....thanks to everyone for all the love.
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