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This is a guest post by Scott LeVeck.

My name is Scott, I’m 54. My wife, Sherri, passed on July 25, 2022. She was also 54. And this is our journey.

Sherri and I have known each other since we were kids in school. In fact, Sherri is standing directly in front of me in our first-grade class picture.

We both graduated and married and moved away. It wasn’t until 2012, after being divorced from our respective partners for many years, that we reconnected our relationship. I sent her a message on Facebook and we talked about being separated. Eventually, I asked her to lunch.

In 2013, we were married in Las Vegas. It was Sherri’s first time there and her first time in a casino. I always tried to take her places she’d never been before. We love concerts and I took her to her first rock concert – Kid Rock and Foreigner.

Over the years, Sherri was always getting some kind of infection, either of the kidney or a urinary tract infection. But a trip to the doctor for a script would clear it up. In mid-December 2019, she had another infection but this one was different. She had blood in her urine, pain in her left side, and she was losing weight fast. Our doctor prescribed a very strong antibiotic but after a week she sent us to a specialist and we made an appointment for mid-January 2020.

Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic hit and we weren’t able to see the specialist until mid-July 2020. The specialist sent Sherri for an ultrasound and the results showed a 10 cm x 10 cm x 14 cm renal mass – the most devastating news anyone wants to hear.

Our family doctor and the specialist both agreed to send us to Rogel Cancer Center at the University of Michigan. The oncologist there ordered a biopsy and a full CT scan. It’s now September 2020 and there we both were, scared and expecting the worst.

The results were stage 4 renal cell carcinoma. Besides the mass in her left kidney, four lymph nodes were also infected in her abdomen, but no other metastases and other organs look in good health.

Surgery was not an option. Instead, the doctor started Sherri on immunotherapy. The treatment showed signs of working – the tumor was shrinking and Sherri got CT scans every three months. But by May 2021, the immunotherapy was no longer working. The oncologist switched to chemotherapy and that was hard on Sherri’s body. She never lost all her hair, but it did thin and the pain was unbearable.

Going to Michigan every three months for scans – a 90 minute drive – on top of my work was exhausting, but I knew that as a husband it was my job to take care of my wife. Sherri also continued working through the majority of her treatment until her last two months.

Our families helped a lot. Sherri had four sons from her previous marriage, as well as her sister, brother, and mother. I have two sisters and four brothers. When we first learned she could have cancer, we kept it quiet from everyone. Once we had a definite diagnosis, we sat everyone down and told them. Together, we took turns taking care of her during treatment and at other times.

The whole experience was incredibly physically and emotionally challenging. I was prepared to give up bowling to take care of Sherri, but she said no. She refused to let me give up my hobby, saying it was my getaway and that I needed an escape. But on the nights I went, I would make sure she had her medications, was showered, and tucked her into bed.

Sherri gave me the best 10 years I have ever had I truly miss her.

In November 2021, Sherri’s scans showed growth in the main tumor as well as metastasis in three more lymph nodes and she was put on an even more aggressive chemotherapy. In February 2022, the tumor showed no growth but there was pleural effusion – fluid buildup around the heart and lungs, which was a side effect of the chemotherapy. She was admitted to the hospital in June for shortness of breath and to drain the fluid but Sherri tested positive for Covid and had to stop treatments while it cleared.

The doctors told us this would “push” the cancer over the edge and it would be just a matter of time for Sherri. Once she cleared Covid, Sherri was transferred to our hometown for hospice care in a nursing home. The next four weeks was so hard on the family and nobody left Sherri alone at night. Sherri would talk and laugh and she knew everybody until the last five days when she became unresponsive. At her time of diagnoses Sherri weighed at 248 lbs when she passed she weighed less than 90 lbs. On July 25,2022 at 4:35 am Sherri took her last breath and went home to the good lord.

Some of my favorite memories are from what we called our “get lost” days. On these spontaneous road trips, we’d stop in a mom-and-pop for lunch, maybe visit a winery, and just drive with no agenda. Sherri gave me the best 10 years I have ever had I truly miss her.

Thank you for reading and thank you to the Kidney Cancer Association for allowing me to share our journey.

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