Let me give you a little background before I get to the part about Kelly and Chris’ selflessness.
January 4, 2013 was an exciting day because my sister-in-law Patti was marrying Luz Gonzalez, the love of her life. Patti and Luz have been together for over 30 years and decided to marry in a simple and private ceremony in Muskegon. Kelly and Chris decided to drive home from Chicago to crash their wedding, even though they weren’t invited. The whole day was magical and fun. After the wedding we celebrated at The Lake House and then continued the party back at our house. As the evening came to a close and everyone went home except Kelly and Chris, I went to get a glass of water from the kitchen and fell. We all laughed about my fall but then the tears began to flow because I was scared. I had been experiencing other symptoms besides falling the past few months so finally shared with Mark and Kelly that my speech was different, my right hand was weak and I had fallen 5 times within the last 3 months. With Kelly being a nurse and having a medical background she became alarmed right away. She wanted me to go to the Emergency Room that night for evaluation but I didn’t feel sick so I refused.
The next day, Kelly reluctantly went back to her home in Chicago and immediately started her research. She found that all of my symptoms pointed to ALS so that worried her even more. In the meantime, I am down playing my symptoms because I have absolutely no pain and feel great other than a few small and distracting symptoms. Plus, Mark and I were heading to Florida in two weeks and I didn’t want anything to get in our way. On January 8th I had a regular check up with my Primary Care Physician and told her all of my symptoms. My doctor wasn’t as concerned as Kelly so I made some follow-up appointments for when I returned from Florida. Minutes after my appointment with my doctor Kelly called and I told her what my doctor said. She wasn’t satisfied with my doctors approach so started her pursuit to get us some answers. Somehow she got an appointment for January 31st at U of M to talk with someone in the Neurology Department. At U of M after about 2-1/2 hours of evaluations which included an EMG (muscle test) the Neurologists said I had a Motor Neuron Disease but they didn’t think it was as bad as ALS. The car ride home from U of M was very tearful because I had just been given a death sentence.
After a few days of trying to figure out what just happened and was said at U of M, Mark and Kelly were still so hopeful and tried to fill my head with positive thoughts. They weren’t ready to accept what the doctors at U of M were saying so they started their quest to find another hospital to get a second opinion. They found out that Johns Hopkins located in Baltimore was the #1 Neurology hospital in the U.S and asked if I would like to go. John Hopkins sounded great to me because then I could make a little vacation out of it and visit some family and friends along the way.
Well, Mark, Kelly, Chris, Bryan, Ashley and I visited Johns Hopkins on April 15th and the doctor agreed with U of M but went a step further and said I do have a Motor Neuron Disease but they thought it was ALS. The shitty news was not a shock to me because I was convinced I had ALS after my first diagnosis at U of M. I think it was somewhat of a shock to my family because they were so hopeful. (Our trip to Johns Hopkins ended up being a great trip. We were able to see our Nephew’s family, Patrick and Annette, Maya, Jacob and Addy in Virginia. We saw Mark’s Navy buddy and his family in Baltimore, Kristen, a friend of Kelly’s in Baltimore and my friend Nancy and her daughter Maureen in D.C. Mark, Chris, Kelly, Bryan and Ashley and I had a great time.)
If it wasn’t for Kelly and Mark’s drive to get answers, I could have gone undiagnosed for a year or two which would have been very frustrating.
Now back to Kelly and Chris’ selfless love for Mark and I.
A week after my fall on that memorable January 4th day, Kelly and Chris talked about moving back to Muskegon to be closer to us. Kelly talked to her boss at Town and Country Pediatrics in Chicago and told her what was going on with me and said she was thinking about moving to Muskegon. Her boss didn’t want to loose Kelly so offered to create a new position for her to work remotely from home in Muskegon. Chris talked to his employer at HuFriedy in Chicago and they also agreed to let him work from Muskegon part time and Chicago part time. So before we knew it, Kelly and Chris were moving to Muskegon and ended up moving into our same Condo Complex. Life always seems to work out.
I have heard so many people say that kids are selfish these days but these are two kids that have displayed tremendous selflessness with Kelly’s love for her parents and Chris’ love for his wife.
Mark and I are very proud and grateful.