Colon Cancer, Leukemia, Chemo Brain and Alzheimer’s
Kenneth Cook's Bio
Kenneth Cook had been a very active person and a hard worker that loved helping people whenever he could. Ken never had it easy, at the age of six he was sent to an orphanage where it was a very common thing to be beaten. Despite everything he kept an optimistic view and found solace in the Lord. He ran away from the orphanage to join the U.S. Marine Corps where he served in Vietnam.
In May of 2016 our lives were tuned upside down. He was admitted into the hospital for an infection. After days of testing the hospital decided to do a bone marrow test as a last resort. The results came back with a diagnosis of a rare form of leukemia called HCL (Hairy Cell Leukemia). This was devastating news but answered a lot of questions as to why he had been experiencing a lot of health issues including unknown infections, weakness and fatigue, and not sleeping well. During his hospital stay another punch in the gut happened, his insurance had run out due to lack of payments and he did not know what to do.
My Dad is a proud, strong and resourceful man; he had beaten colon cancer many years before with surgery, but this time was different. His blood count that was supposed to be 150,000 was only 17, the doctors did not know if he could survive the treatments. He was very ill and experiencing memory problems. His spleen was enlarged, and he could hardly move or think. He was admitted to the hospital a second time. His blood count did not rise, and he said if he was going to die anyway he would go ahead with the chemotherapy. Since his leukemia is rare, the only form of treatment was five consecutive days of extremely high doses of chemotherapy and then a waiting period of over 18 months before the results would be in.
While this was going on he was losing everything around him except his family and his faith. He has lost his business and had to sell his home to avoid foreclosure and to try to pay some of the bills. Even through all the pain he was always trying to stay positive, he said whatever he had built he could build again and continue to help others when he got back on his feet. As expenses were rising he had to borrow money from friends just to pay the bills. He said and still says “this too will pass.”
After his treatments he could not feel his hands or feet and was experiencing memory loss. Neuropathy had set in from his diabetes but was accelerated by the chemo treatments. His sugar levels were very high during his treatments and averaged over 500. As the months passed, he noticed he was having memory problems more and more only to find out after many tests, MRI’s and PET scans that he had what is referred to as “chemo brain.” Along with signs of Alzheimer’s, he would not get his memory back.
Here are just a few examples of what patients call chemo brain:
- Forgetting things that they usually have no trouble recalling (memory lapses)
- Trouble concentrating (they can’t focus on what they’re doing, have a short attention span, may “space out”)
- Trouble remembering details like names, dates, and sometimes larger events
- Trouble multi-tasking, like answering the phone while cooking, without losing track of one task (they’re less able to do more than one thing at a time)
- Taking longer to finish things (disorganized, slower thinking and processing)
- Trouble remembering common words (unable to find the right words to finish a sentence)
Ken is always helping others, by finding jobs for former military, law enforcement, former government employees and their families. He has helped to feed and clothe disadvantaged children and senior citizens for over 25 years with the law enforcement community without recognition or pay. He assisted with the C.O.P.S. organization (Concerns of Police Survivors) in D.C. He had a hard life but loves giving back by helping others.
My Dad only has me and my mom to help with his everyday needs; he has trouble walking, experiences tremors, continues to have memory problems and is in constant pain. He is a proud man and has always helped others throughout his life. He does not complain much and does not like to ask for help or assistance. He always said the reason he did what he did throughout his life was for America and what it stands for; so, everyone could have their freedoms. After so many years of him assisting others, it would really mean a lot to our family and a whole lot to my dad, even if he is too proud to admit it, if his efforts were recognized by others as you are able to assist him in his hour of need, we all would be truly thankful. Our family thanks you for any donation that you can provide at this time.
By helping Ken, you will be helping others as he will continue his mission of helping others as he always has. My Dad and our small family will never forget your kindness.
Thanks for listening to our story and providing a much-appreciated donation!