Hello What’s Your Fight fans, my name is Kathleen Clark and I am the daughter of Daryn Clark, the owner and creator of this website. My father created this website to help people with their fight to become physically fit and healthy. He is a very inspiring man who started his own successful business in 1991 called Southern Ingenuity. His business provides care for mentally and physically disabled people in order for them to stay in their own homes and not have to live in institutions or nursing homes. Dad is also a very fit and healthy man who has been doing martial arts for over 10 years and has a 5th degree black belt. He is also a certified MMA coach. As you can see my father is a man of many talents. Our family is extremely close and my mom and dad celebrated their 26th anniversary this year on May 17, 2012.
Up until now we have lived a very ordinary and happy life. Our family wasn’t perfect, but we were as close as you can get. Our lives were forever changed though on June 15, 2012. It was a Friday and my dad was attending an afternoon karate class. He had been at class for 10 minutes when he blacked out and had a seizure. He was rushed to the hospital which was luckily next door. The doctors did a CT scan that showed 2 bleeds on either side of the brain. They immediately sent him by ambulance to LSU Medical Center in Shreveport. My father was there for two long weeks. The doctors ran every test known to man trying to diagnose him including numerous CT scans, 4 MRI’s, a spinal tap, and an open brain biopsy. After all the testing and so forth, LSU still could not give us a definitive diagnosis, but they were leaning towards central nervous system lymphoma. Dad was finally sent home on June 29, 2012, the day before his 50th birthday, and was told to come back on July 12th. The doctors felt like the steroids that he had been placed on to combat the inflammation in his brain were compromising his test results.
In the meantime, we made an appointment at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas for July 5th. We met with a lymphoma doctor who scheduled an MRI on July 12th. LSU sent all my father’s medical records and tissue slides from the biopsy. We went back to Houston for the MRI on July 12th and met with a neurosurgeon on July 13th. The neurosurgeon informed us that their neuropathologist had looked at the biopsy from LSU and performed further testing, and it was NOT lymphoma. It looked to be gliomatosis cerebri. Dad had to have another brain biopsy on July 16th and the doctor confirmed our worst fears adding that the cancer was grade 4.
This is a very rare and aggressive form of brain cancer. Hearing this news has forever changed my father’s life and ours. My dad’s fight is for his life. My family’s fight is to support one another and be there for my dad. When you hear such devastating news you have a million things rushing through your head. You think about the future and how scary it looks and you become selfish. I wasn’t even thinking about what my father was thinking or what my mother was thinking. I was thinking about myself. It wasn’t until my mother and I got into an argument that I changed my view. I finally realized that this situation is bigger than me. I knew right then that I had to be my mother’s rock. My mother is going through so much that I grieve for her and think about her through all this. I knew that I had to do something. I knew that I had to make something so negative into something positive. I didn’t realize this until I read a card that my aunt had sent my dad mentioning his website What’s YOUR Fight and made a comment to dad about him having the mind and body of a fighter and that he needed to fight this cancer like the warrior he is.
I started brainstorming and came up with the idea of blogging on my dad’s website in the hope of helping others going through similar situations. I also hope that people will share their experiences to help me cope. Then I came up with the idea of creating a t-shirt in honor of my dad and his website to get the word out and to raise money for brain cancer research through the organization of Elizabeth’s Hope. My father was so happy about this idea of helping others. I am also part of a sorority at LSU (Louisiana State University) called Kappa Delta. My sisters want to plan an event to raise money for brain cancer, too! In our situation you can’t live life in fear of the future. You must live life day by day. You must stay positive in these situations. An example of this is my mother one day looked at me with tears in her eyes and she was so sad and down. I then looked her in the eyes and said to her, “Are we all still alive? Are we all still together?” She just looked at me and I told her “Then today is not a bad day. It may be an emotional day, but every day we get to spend together is a good day.”
* I will be blogging at least once a week. Feel free to comment underneath.