BENEFITING: AORTIC TRAUMA FOUNDATION
My husband, Cliff, and I have been married 17 years February 7 2015 We met when I was almost 22 and he was 42 going on 43. It was love though and I couldn't explain as he wasn't my type etc but it was the love you read about in books. We married 5 months later, had a baby girl, austyn Loryn, a year and a half later. A year goes by and I read these articles and am learning more in general and know his family makeup and ask him to go to the Dr just pick one, cuz he was a few years over 40 now. So he did which resulted in a cardiology appt which led to an angiogram. Which led to immediate emergency triple bypass 5 hour surgery. He was 100%, 100% and 90% blocked. They said it was a miracle he was alive. We had a good 6-7 years, traveled and had some great times and made a lot of memories. Then he started having uncontrollably high blood pressure. Couldn't get in check. This went on and on for years with trips in and out of the ER every 6 months. But he couldn't stop working, we are Private Investigators and work big felony cases, people needed us and we needed them. We continued working and had hit a very successful spot in our career and had taken a 2 week vacation in Naples, FL. 2 days after we got home, end of July 2010, Cliff went to the ER for several problems and they discovered a lump in his neck. A biopsy of tonsils he had to have removed showed stage 4 throat and neck cancer. So... We started the chemo and radiation cycle in August. It was HELL. It took a year & a half before we got any relief from that. It almost killed him. He had a port implanted and had to have a feeding tube and I fed him with liquid food for 6 months thru a machine made like an IV pump. After the chemo and radiation phase, there was a lump that remained in his trapezoid area and he had to have neck dissection surgery to remove what remained. They had to cut a major nerve leaving permanent damage as far as pain. In 2011 he had a heart attack in November and then December both requiring stents. November 2012 he died while driving, his air bags deployed which shocked him back to life. This resulted in a pacemaker and defibrillator implantation. This was VERY scary. I started to see things we're progressing much quicker than I had realized. I had had this feeling of "We did it! We beat cancer and are here to tell about it, can't bring us down!" Which was a far cry from the truth. He spent a week in the hospital May 2013 due to hypertension but no heart attack. Around February of this year I started to see (this is seen so obvious now.) him being much tired much quicker. We both normally worked 10 hour days give or take, granted he couldn't do it day after day like he could before cancer, but he was still good overall. February-May i KNEW something was wrong I just didn't know what. I asked our daughter Austyn, who was 14 going on 15 at the time, if she noticed the changes and she had, as had my mom and his 25 year old daughter. His days were shorter always, he was choking much more often and was hoarse from time to time. Often sounding a little raspy. I was scared his cancer was back but hadn't yet mentioned it to him. Almost all of May until now, we'll even now he doesn't every night, he couldn't sleep at night in our bed because when he laid down he felt a lot of pressure in his chest and tightness. He would sleep in the recliner sitting at an angle.. He continuously told me "I ate too late is all.." And excuses like that. I was a bit offended he would think I would buy that even as this wasn't our first rodeo. Ever night for several weeks, (again this still occurs), between 2am-4am he would wake up if he was able to be sleeping, and feel angina and take his pressure and it would be crazy high, 170/98 give or take 10 on both ends. We still can't explain why this happens. June 16, 2014 after 8 days of EXCRUCIATING low back pain, he went to the ER. His BP was 224/122 and stayed that high even on liquid IV nitro for FIFTEEN HOURS. The nurses and doctors were clearly worried by this. Family came to the hospital and we believed this was goodbye. The doctor came and told us the CT Scan revealed a "bulge" in his chest (they sort of stumbled around verbally & I asked for a medical term for this "bulge" so I could google it and they replied "you don't want to do that"..) it was then I learned this was a Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm. They needed to care flight him to Harris Hospital 6 miles away in down town Ft. Worth. I didn't really comprehend what all this meant. Over the next 5 days I learned it was 4.2x4.0cm in size. I also had figured that this came about in 13 months since he had had CT scans and X-rays May 2013 and there were no abnormalities. Today, we are waiting on word from disability. He can't work, he can't have excursion at all. His memory is coming and going, he is on over 15 different medications, supposed to be, but we can't afford but 7 or so of them. In one of the last trips to ER for abdominal paid they located a second aneurysm , this one an abdominal aortic one. Are you kidding me? To top it off he isn't a candidate for valve repair or any surgery due to his poor health condition. Doctors said there was nothing they could do, he could go home and maintain BP of 120/80 which we just looked at each other as we both knew this was nearly impossible. Our lives stopped dead in our tracks. Every day is a gift and also very scary. He is a ticking time bomb. He has gotten more short of breath over the past 2 months, had 5 hospitalizations, and doesn't hardly have the ability to go more than 5 or 6 hours. Its strange having this time, who knows how long or short, to talk about his funeral wishes and what not. We don't leave each other in an argument or go to sleep upset. We battle doctor appointments, my working 12-14 hours a day plus taking care of our teenager and him, getting a few hours of sleep in each night and waking up to start all over again. Don't get me wrong, each day is a gift from God, but it's a true true challenge. I don't feel like there are many others with a journey like this. We have no health insurance and he HAS to get these aneurysms checked for growth. We need to fill his prescriptions. We have old medical bills from when he had stage 4 cancer and we couldn't pay and they call and call. We feel so helpless. The last thing you want is to not pay those who helped you get well. Please help us, this is all verifiable information if you need.