Team Double D
Team Double D walks in honor of Doug Dowell who lost his battle with a gliosarcoma on October 5, 2013 just six short months to the day of his first doctors appointment. This forever changed the scope of life as we all knew it. Doug had a tremendous presence in the world yet he was humble and kind. He spread love and joy to every person he met.
The journey was an intense and uncertain time as the doctors struggled through a diagnosis. We were told originally that it was lymphoma only to be left in a holding pattern on the oncology floor of Piedmont Hospital for two and half weeks before finally being sent home to wait out a diagnosis. Despite the frustration, Doug's spirits were high and his attitude positive that he was going to beat whatever it was. The pathology from the original brain biopsy circled the country with no definitive answer.
As I watched my husband slowly slipping away physically, Doug's mind and memory were failing him too and leaving him in a state of uncertainly and confusion. For three months we rode out multiple trips to doctors desperate for a diagnosis and treatment. For three months we rode on a roller coaster of emotions to be told the lymphoma was actually MS (after a diagnosis of brain cancer, Yay MS). We accepted the diagnosis and began exploring the lifestyle changes that would came with a diagnosis of MS and Doug's weakening state. Whatever the condition, I saw it as a blessing that we would share more years together and celebrated graduations, weddings and grand babies. We were willing to take it over the alternative, the original diagnosis of brain cancer and the dire prognosis. But yet, another wrong diagnosis and more lost time. Then came another theory, more ambulance rides to the hospital, another wrong diagnosis and another.
By early July Doug was barely able to walk the stairs in our house. I took Doug to the Emory University Neurology Department for a second opinion on July 3. That opened the door for a place on the Emory University Neurology ICU floor after Doug suffered a massive seizure on July 16th. He was life flighted to Emory after he was stabilized at a local hospital. We had no idea if he would still be with us on the agonizing ride to Emory that day. It was horrible and painful to watch how much he suffered from that point on. His mind and body were done but his spirit held on. Another brain biopsy again left us stunned as the doctor told us he had lymphoma...right back where we started at the very beginning of the whole nightmare. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, "DO SOMETHING". We lost so much time! Again, off with the pathology to break it down for a definitive diagnosis so we could start treatment and again time ticked by as we sat day after day waiting for an answer. We were devastated, exhausted and heartbroken watching Doug suffer with no options on the table.
Going into our second week at Emory University Hospital, we received news that the biopsy sample was showing signs of sarcoma tissue not lymphoma. We were beyond crushed as we were trying to process what the news meant. I knew we had stepped into an entirely different arena. Unwilling to give up we tried radiation treatments and Doug took as many as he could tolerate with his body failing and his mind slipping away for good. At this point we had been at Emory University for over 10 weeks. We left Emory to enter a hospice center.
Doug came home for four days before he slipped into the arms of Christ. He was surrounded by a wife of 30 years who loved and adored him, two beautiful daughters, his loving parents, siblings who loved him, his nieces and nephews and too many cousins and friends to count. He was the glue that held everyone together and he left a huge hole in so many ways. We survive because Doug would want us to. He taught us to live by faith. The legacy he left is unbelievable as hearts are still being changed because of the life he lived.
We can not change what happened but we plan on being part of a cure. We will never forget the depth of his love, AGAPE as Doug would say. We are happy to be able to honor Doug this way. We know first hand why research is needed so badly. Team Double D is proud to represent a man who is worthy of praise and remembrance. AGAPE!!!