Some 38 individual doctors, 97 appointments and almost five years of treatment for metastatic breast cancer are part of the physical and spiritual journey reported in Keith Klafehn’s detailed journal about his wife Muriel’s final illness.
Klafehn’s diary begins in 1998, with Muriel’s diagnosis of Stage III breast cancer and subsequent mastectomy and chemotherapy, which produced few side effects. The couple continued their active lifestyle with international travel, visits to family and friends and attending their beloved Akron, Ohio, symphony. Their connection with their church and Christian belief carried them through; the author relates how their trust in God made it easy to be positive as
Muriel prayed for and received peace throughout her illness.
Along with thorough medical reports, the retired businessman and professor includes other highly specific details of what he experienced on a day-to-day basis, from tender conversations with Muriel to church attendance, concert programs and even meals. After enjoying what appeared to be a cancer-free lifestyle, a 2001 scan showed metastases to Muriel’s bones and liver. The narrative then describes Muriel’s palliative treatment with the help of compassionate caregivers and the support of church, family and friends until her passing in June of 2003.
Throughout, their positive attitudes about interactions with medical professionals and caregivers—and most of all, the author’s love and support for Muriel—shine through. However, general readers may feel overwhelmed by the copious information about daily life. The author reports on a plumbing leak in the house, what they ate for a Christmas Eve dinner, a stop at McDonald’s on a road trip, and other mundane events, in addition to Muriel’s struggles. It appears that the diary entries have not been edited for a wide audience, but rather left the way the author originally recorded them for himself.
Nonetheless, family, friends, individuals with breast cancer and those with a strong belief in God’s plans will find inspiration in the story of Muriel and Keith’s loving journey.
Also available as an ebook.