The Game has Changed

So this is my first blog post here on the I4K website. I want to apologize now because this isn’t going to be a happy one but it is important, to me at least. Going into the Illini 4000, I hadn’t really been affected by cancer like most people had. I hadn’t lost any direct relatives yet but I knew that there were some relatives that I didn’t know all that well that were going through it. I really was in it for the journey and the adventure of a lifetime as well as helping the fantastic cause this organization has undertaken. However, everything in this world happens for a reason.

On December 30th, my grandfather went to urgent care because he was feeling ill and was diagnosed with pneumonia. Two days later, he was too week to even get to the bathroom without help and the ambulance took him to the hospital. On January 1st, 2015, he was diagnosed with leukemia. Happy New Year’s. However, there was a bright side. A couple days later and after more tests, doctors estimated that his chance of survival with chemotherapy was 70%. It would probably be a long battle and tough to watch but he was going to survive. There were some complications though. The leukemia had caused his platelet count drastically drop and he had an overabundance of white blood cells. So many white blood cells that they were starting to build up in his arteries. On top of all of this, his respiratory system was still giving him fits. Therefore, before they could even start chemo, they had to get his body to a state that could handle it. By Saturday, the 3rd, he was starting to look a lot better and there were plans to start his chemo today. Between the hours of 3am and 5am this morning, he suffered a massive stroke that prevented the nurse from waking him up. A combination of a stroke the previous year and the complications with his blood due to the leukemia are thought to be the cause of this stroke. Sadly, his platelet count was so low that doctors couldn’t go in and drain the excess blood from his brain without causing him to bleed out. By 11:30 am this morning, my grandfather had passed away in his sleep.

Part of me thinks that this may have been a much better way for him to go than for him to suffer through months of chemotherapy while his family watched his body and health slowly deteriorate. Then again, maybe a few more months of life would have been better than him going this quickly. The hardest part for everyone right now is just how quickly he went. I mean, right before Christmas he visited our house and seem to be as healthy as a ox. And then over the course of 5 days he went from diagnosed with leukemia to gone. Now instead of riding just for the adventure and just for the thrill of it, I ride in his loving memory.


Comments (3)
  • Joan Adams says:

    Sorry to hear of the passing of your grandfather. He will be miss.

  • Ganapathy Premkumar says:

    More strength to you in your pursuit. Your mission has got a whole new dimension. All the best.

  • aknicker Alex Knicker says:

    Sean – thank you for sharing your story, and I’m so sorry for your loss. I appreciate your post as it is a testament to how fast and how terrible cancer can be. I had a similar experience in my own family. Stay strong, ride on.

Leave a Reply