I punched my ticket to the grief train on July 2nd, 2013 when my wife of 19 years, Kristi, died from breast cancer. Left with four, precious children ages 7-15, I couldn’t check out of life. But with my head ringing, my heart shattered, and my world in pieces, grief threatened to swallow me. Fortunately I had discovered endurance training while in the care-giver stage for Kristi. Following her death, I embraced it completely.
Endurance sport training has transformed my life and helped me handle the never-ending challenges that living as a widower and single-father brings my way on a daily basis. It can do the same for you! Don’t think you can do it? Check this out:
In June of 2012 I had never run more than 3 miles at one time in my life, having a strong dislike for running. I was a weak swimmer. My first 5K was in September of 2012 and my first triathlon was in October of 2012. As of October 2014 I have completed 12 triathlons (including two half-ironman distance events @70.3 miles each), one marathon, two half-marathons, two duathlons, and several 5K’s and other runs.
I am also a man of deep and vibrant faith. I have learned (and still learning) to live and thrive again through faith in a loving God and training. My goal is to help you do the same: thrive and become whole again. Oh, the grief is still there. I’m reminded a thousand times a day that my precious wife is gone. But I’m out of survival mode, I’m living again and you can too!
You deserve it, your children need you. Your world is waiting. Don’t be afraid, you’ve already endured significant pain. Trust me, endurance training is much less painful than losing your spouse! So whether you walk, swim, bike, run, do obstacle races, triathlon or have another endurance sport interest, follow me and take control of your grief train. Train to live a life that is Fit, Faithful and Fulfilled!
Welcome to The Widower’s Coach!
Chad Moore, Founder, Chief Coach
A note regarding the numbering in the Post Titles from Care-giver days:
Kristi received her diagnosis on the first day after our 18th anniversary. (18+1) So each “plus” day is a reference not only to how many days we had been on this journey but also a reminder of the 18 years of love that went before. Kristi’s battle stretched 117 days into our nineteenth year but I decided to keep the posts as “18+” for the sake of continuity and simplicity. The final numbered post is 18+482. That was the end of Kristi’s earthly journey. The posts following that are about the children and me as we walk the road of grief and recovery and encountering God’s loving restoration of what we have so profoundly lost.
With the launch of The Widower’s Coach in December 2014, posts are still personal and reflective but also geared to provide motivation and hope for those who find themselves in similar circumstances.
My heart really goes out to those who suffered through their spouse’s protracted illness. Briefly here’s our story: Kristi’s OB/GYN doc found the lump during her normal, annual visit. She said she didn’t think it was anything but wanted to have it looked at. The surgeon said the same thing after his initial exam.
Obviously that didn’t turn out to be the case. Kristi was clinically staged at 3C with aggressive breast cancer. There turned out to be a tumor in each side plus 29 lymph nodes under her right arm. Those were all removed during double mastectomy surgery.
You can find all these details and more by reading through the journal entries… Like the failed reconstruction, the followup infections requiring two extra surgeries and more. Kristi fought with courage and ferocity through it all.
By mid January 2013 Kristi had finished 6 months of chemotherapy, 33 days of radiation to her chest and three surgeries. She was declared to be in remission at that point with no signs of metastatic disease anywhere in her body. She had her ovaries removed in mid February as a preventative move against the cancer returning. That was her fourth major surgery in less than a year. We were all tired!
Shortly after that surgery she changed drug regimens and it resulted in significant bone pain in her legs. Before that pain abated she started having migraines that worsened until she was vomiting. Her oncologist ordered a brain MRI and the results showed metastatic spread with a tumor in the left side of her head.
She ended up in the hospital because of the severity of the migraines and tests done there showed she had cancer in the meninges as well, the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Ten days of whole brain radiation followed in mid March 2013 and she was put on a high dose of steroid to help reduce the inflammation in her brain and spinal cord. However the steroid caused a perforated duodenal ulcer that had to be surgically repaired. That was her fifth major surgery in 12 months and resulted in another 7-day hospital stay.
She began receiving ongoing chemotherapy directly into her cerebro-spinal fluid via a special port in her head that was surgically implanted (operation #6) under her skin. It had a catheter extending 6 cm into the center of her brain, allowing the chemo to be injected directly into the right brain ventricle. Kristi miraculously cleared her CSF (cerebro-spinal fluid) of cancer during the chemo treatments through the port and we were hopeful for several months of good quality of life for her.
However her cancer returned in her skin and lymph nodes throughout her chest and abdomen. We managed to sneak in a short family vacation in mid-June of 2013 while she was still aware of her surroundings. Immediately following that trip, Kristi began a downward slide and her body finally couldn’t fight anymore.
Our friends, family and neighbors literally extended every type of help imaginable. We can never repay the kindness and love showered on us, but through The Widower’s Coach I hope to provide encouragement and motivation for others who are walking this path. You can breath again! You can live again. We want to help you too, even if just a little. Welcome to our journey together to live fit, faithful and full lives.
Our children are a daily reminder of how blessed I am. They make me laugh and smile and certainly keep me on my toes. I love hanging out with them. Incarnate reminders of the life and love that Kristi and I shared…that’s who they are. And they are a living testimony to the fact that our Father above is loving and gracious to us. I look forward to watching them continue to grow and mature in life and faith.