A LOVE STORY STRONGER THAN CANCER
Chris and Shanah Wilson: A Love Story Stronger Than Cancer
Twenty-four years ago in 1996 at the young age of 16 years old and 19 years old a love story started. Chris and Shanah needed each other then but more now than they ever could have imagined. Today as they celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary on December 7th; they share their hearts with us as they are in the fight of their life. This Christmas; we are “Lighting up and Lifting up” the Wilson Family for our Pay It Forward. This young family is facing some of the hardest times that no- one should have to face. Chris was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer in which his body is no longer responding to the chemotherapy.
Chris and Shanah moved to Arkansas in 2000 to start a new life with their young child; they have fought several battles throughout their love story including: eleven miscarriages, depression, alcohol abuse, PTSD, separation, trials and desperate cries. Today, they are surrounded by the love of a beautiful family: their oldest Amber, 23 years old, with her husband and new little baby boy “Harley” and their youngest “miracle son” Jacob, 11 years old.
At the age of 41, Chris caught what they thought was a “stomach bug” however after losing 30 lb of weight in two months, loss of color, exhaustion, and the knowledge/education that Shanah was learning in nursing school, the couple began to dig deeper about this health issue. In August 2018, Chris underwent his exploratory surgery and after several scans, labs, and tests cancer was found in his colon but also found in his liver. Doctors told Chris to “make your bucket list.”
By March 2020, Chris already had several rounds of chemo treatments, hours of chair time, numerous scans, tests and labs. Chris has battled issues with his liver prevented him from receiving the necessary treatments and surgeries needed for the cancer. The primary tumor had obstructed the large intestine and adhered to the small intestine, the colon had dilated with the right side completely dead and the walls of the colon dying along with bowel spillage. Chris had a major surgery this year which left him with a wound infection, an ileostomy and mucous fistula (non-functioning colostomy), weak with muscle loss, months of recovery, blood clots throughout his abdomen, and kidney issues. In September it was discovered that the cancer was back in his bowels and worsened in the liver because during surgery and recovery, he couldn’t receive treatment. Last Friday, December 4th, doctors told him that his body is no longer responding to the chemotherapy, as well as the liver masses and the new tumor in the colon have worsened and grown significantly. One of the masses has now caused partial obstruction in one of the kidney ureters causing urine to back-flow
Friday, December 11th, 2020; Chris will begin a new type of chemo infusions. A targeted treatment that should attack the cancer cells aggressively. They are approaching this new treatment plan with caution, with the obstruction of the ureter and tumor pressure this will be an extremely painful time for Chris. The increased fluids cause the urine retrograde due to this, kidney damage can occur. Along with this, the treatment has a risk of causing heart damage.
We are asking for donations for the family this holiday season; please donate at www.theorneryone.com/donate-pay-it-forward Every dollar makes a difference; Custom Dynamics has joined us & will be matching all of our donations $ for $, so NOTHING is too little. You can find more about their story on our website www.theorneryone.com and our Youtube channel www.youtube.com/theorneryone
The Wilson family is in awe from the response of our local community and our online motorcycle community; they would like for us to express their gratitude and appreciation. The family is currently in need of finding a home and would like to find their permanent home; in order to ensure comfort and invest their hopes and dreams. Let’s join together as we “Light Up & Lift Up” the Wilson Family this Christmas.
Update on Chris Wilson (March 2022):
Throughout 2021, Chris continued chemotherapy. This therapy has not helped the new implant of cancer in the rectum. He has also had surgery every 2-3 months to replace stents to help with kidney function. The new(ish) tumor that was pressing against the ureter (the tube that transports urine from kidney to bladder) was invaded by cancer. We just learned yesterday 3/4, that left kidney is functioning at 80-85% and his right is functioning at 15-20%. He suspects that when Chris was on the hardcore chemotherapy for that year and a half- two years, it caused some damage. This explains why he had began having issues with stones and uric acid crystals after surgery in 2020. He said the inside of the kidney looks great, but the outside, the muscle is damaged and causing it not to function properly. He is worried about trying to reconstruct the ureter because of the area and if there was ever a need for radiation, it could destroy the work that they do. His goal is to reconnect the ureter, however that is impossible to know before going in. If he can’t, he feels it would be best to just remove the kidney.
Chris will be having surgery on 3/25. During this procedure, the colorectal surgeon will be removing the tumor that formed on the rectal stump. She will remove all of the large intestine and close up the fistula. The ileostomy will stay in place (where liquid stool will come out of the stomach and into a bag). She will attempt to do this robotically but cannot guarantee that will be successful given all the work she had to do in 2020 and the possibility of scar tissue. We are fervently praying that she can do it robotically. If not, she would have to open him up again, sternum to pubis (chest to pubic area), which has risks, a harder recovery, like last time, many unknowns. Then when she is done, the urologist will go in. He is likely to open Chris up umbilicus to pubis (belly button to pubic). He likes to visualize and be able to palpate (touch/feel) the tissue to distinguish healthy tissue from cancerous tissue. He also said that the location that the cancer invaded the ureter makes it difficult to do robotically. Once he is in and can see what’s going on, he will call me and give me options to decide what to do or what he has to do. If they do end up reconstructing, it’s a longer recovery/longer stay in the hospital. I pray that they can reconnect and leave the kidney… my thoughts are that even if it’s only functioning at 20%, at least it’s helping the left side along. Though, there is a possibility that Chris will need to continue to have stents. Really it’s a hard decision because there are positive and negative outcomes for any choice we make.
Additional update 3/4: we got Chris’s medical records. The latest scan from 2/25 showed the tumor in the pelvis getting larger and there was a lymph node significantly larger than normal. The tumor in the pelvis hasn’t responded to the treatment he has been on since December 2020. They did the biopsy of the ureter and it does show adenocarinoma (with markers indicating colorectal cancer), but it is not the same as the HER2/Neu ( biomarker or DNA) of the original cancer.
The metastasis to the liver are HER2/Neu… and even though Chris hasn’t had treatment since January, the liver mets continue to decrease in size 🙌🏼 because it is an immunologic agent.
Please pray that this new tumor is fully removed without cell implant, for there to be no new metastasis. And for the treatment needed after surgery for the pelvis to not negatively affect the kidneys (YES KIDNEYS, because I am praying and hoping for him to keep both).
As far as my job goes- I am looking for work. The problem I have is the uncertainty of cancer. We are trying our best to live in today and not worry about tomorrow… but, something may come up where I need time off. The way it looks, it may work out in our best interest… The position I am currently in will no longer exist within the next 30 days. I possibly have an option to transfer or this could be my opportunity to go elsewhere. I love my job and the people I work with…. I’m sad to go, but thankfully it’s because Covid is going waaay down (YAY!) Right now, I do Pre-procedural Covid testing, Pre-Admission testing, and working recovery on the endoscopy suite. I’ve only been averaging 25ish hours a week (without missing work), which has been hard financially. There has been a lot of missed work due to Chris’s appointments, a hospital stay, Jacob’s health and hospital stay, and then I ended up sick. I have been blessed by my opportunity though, as I have been able to grow as a nurse and work in different areas of healthcare. After Chris has this and we get through that, things should *hopefully and prayerfully* calm down. There will be a long hospital stay and recovery, but we are believing that things will be calmed down afterwards. Hopefully, I will have something lined up to jump into after all that. I do love CoxHealth, so transferring would work out great since I’m there… if I can find something that fits, but I am also weighing options to stay closer to home.
Anyway, thank you to all who have kept up, prayed, encouraged, and supported us. We are approaching 4 years into this battle. Thank you for standing with us. We aren’t ready to back down and we hope you won’t either!"
Here is the YouTube link about Chris & Shanah Wilson: https://youtu.be/GWya6Px-PLo
Here is the GoFundMe link to help Chris & Shanah Wilson: https://gofund.me/d9fb05a3
Please, we ask that if you can help support Chris Wilsons fight against cancer to please donate, share, like, comment or simply send a positive vibe their way! Thank you guys so much for the love & support that has already been poured out to this family!!
Our Pay It Forwards are not a one time story as it effects the life of an individual & in Chris Wilson's situation; it is the whole family that is fighting!!