“We didn’t think he’d live, then we didn’t think he’d walk, but he made a full recovery,” Brian said.
Donald was hospitalized in Greensburg for three weeks and a family member was by his side the entire time, Brian said. Before that, Donald had worked for 24 years without ever taking a sick day.
The aneurysm was what led doctors to discover breast cancer that had spread to a spot on Donald’s kidney. He had his first mastectomy in 1995, which began a lengthy list of tests and treatments, all documented in great detail by Donald.
There were three bouts of breast cancer, which metastasized to his lung and liver, and two diagnoses of kidney cancer.
“He was a fighter as far as his health went,” Jean said.
Recently, due to his medical history, the oral chemotherapy Donald was taking no longer was effective.
Returning to the regular regimen made him sick constantly.
Jean said they talked and agreed that they didn’t want to waste any more time with him being sick, so they stopped the treatment. Hospice was called in and the family treasured the next several weeks together.
“Every night he’d say, ‘Thank you for taking care of me. I told him, ‘55 years ago, I promised for better, for worse, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer. I’m just doing what I promised,’” Jean said.
His final wish was to have the whole family together before he died. Brian was the last to arrive, and once Donald got to hug him and say goodbye to his son, he peacefully slipped away.
“He was one of the most courageous people I’ve ever seen,” Phyllis said. “He faced everything with faith, courage and just plain grit. He didn’t want you to worry about him. He surely will be missed.”