Dear Family, Friends and Followers,
It’s been a long time!
Some of you that followed Andy’s (Astro’s) journey on the Pacific Crest Trail I know quite well, you are my family; others are good friends that live in our community in Laguna Beach, California. Others of you are complete strangers, curious about the trail and Andy’s journey.
Andy has asked me (mom — Betsy) to pick the blog back up — to write about a new trail that we are blazing right now. I’m going to do my best to tell you things in his words, but I know that my thoughts and feelings will come through because that’s the nature of how it goes.
You may remember back in October when Andy got off the trail in Washington, his leg was giving him some trouble. It was starting to give way and he was also experiencing some pain in his hip and low back. The truth is Andy has been experiencing pain in his hip and low back for three and half years now, because he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma over five and a half years ago.
When he got off that trial in Snow Pass, Washington after being on the trail for 152 days, he had hiked 2,302 miles. He got a hitch from the trail and walked into a little hospital in Yakima Valley. They they ran their usual battery of tests to figure out what the pain was. In the back of his mind he knew, I knew, all those close to him knew . . . what they were going to find. And they found it — the Big C — still lurking in tumor fashion along his spine, pressing on nerves and causing the increasing pain in his body, making it difficult for him to hike 20 -25 miles a day. The day we got that news, I don’t think I ever stopped crying, I boarded the next flight out and drove straight from Seattle to Yakima, arriving at 1:30 am.
I hadn’t seen him for about a month. When I got to the hospital room I found a very handsome, happy young man, and visually healthy — my son Astro who had been hiking the pacific crest trail. I was there to support him in what lie ahead, would he be able to finish the trail, did he want to? And of course he could and he did.
Fast forward for now to today.
The ‘miracle drug’ didn’t work. Andy had an allergic reaction each time he had an infusion. Now his body is beginning to slowly shut down, the lymphoma is growing and beginning to take over, compromising his internal organs. He is on heavy pain medication to participate in life. Andy is beginning to die.
He wants to let you know what this is like for him. This new journey. A journey that we are all going to eventually take. Because we all die.
Personal Note: I want to thank all of you whom have called, emailed, texted, sent cards and notes, stopped by, brought over food. My heart is filled with gratitude for your care and kindness towards our family right now. Because of all that we have going on, we simply can’t respond to each and every call, text, etc. personally. But my hope is that this doesn’t deter you from keeping in touch, because your support has buoyed us along and made us feel loved. I’m going to use this blog to try and keep you updated as things progress. If it is too much for you to endure the pain and uncertainty of the journey ahead — a 24-year-old man who is about to loose his life — please feel free to ‘un-follow’.