The Odessa Record -

In for the fight of his life vs. liver disease


Last updated 1/18/2020 at 1:32pm

[Editor’s note: Pat Gamache of Odessa continues the story of his dealings with the medical profession and battles with addiction and illness. Our December 19/26 issue in 2019 left off with Pat coming out of his shell and making end-of-life arrangements.

Continued from last week.

Time to concentrate on my wife and where we wanted to spend my last days. As far as I was concerned I needed nothing more than a cave to live in. Material things meant nothing anymore.

My wife hadn’t worked in a year! We were trying to survive on $1,100 a month. That was our house payment each month, so money was a very big problem. Bills pilled up, month after month with no end in sight.

We thinned things out some by selling what we could. The vultures were everywhere. So much to go though after 35 years of living in the same place on our rural small farm, being a car collector, racer and auto graveyard and parts hoarder. A true car nut and racer with a need for speed.

If things weren’t bad enough, the bank started the steps of repossessing the house. The car would soon be next.

We hurried to get the house sold (we still had equity) and find one to move into ASAP before the bank got it. Not an easy task, but I believe the fight to save all and hopefully my life, actually helped make me stronger. Time was of the essence. Banks and liver disease wait for no one.

We where able to sell our house to our son, giving a chunk of our equity to him so he could buy it. His inheritance before medical bills took it all from us.

So over the next 16 months there were weekly trips looking for anyplace to live, southwest Washington, Bellingham, along Hwy 20 east of I-5 and the Olympic Peninsula. Finding a good home and living on the coast side was not an easy task.

I got stronger slowly and was able to make more trips to the east side looking mostly north of I-90 east to Spokane County.

We must have looked at what seemed like 100 houses or lots. Most needed way too much work, were next to a silo or had a wonderful view of one. We looked at a minimum of three places per trip. That made for real long days driving round trip, usually a 16-hour day.

So on Christmas Day 2015, knowing there would be very little traffic overall, we looked at eight units all told. Met Grizzly Adams at one. One was here in Odessa. We liked the town and it felt safe here. It had a hospital, a plus.

Right after Spring Fling 2016, we drove through Odessa looking at every house here. We just started knocking on doors to see if we could tour the houses.

The moment that Tyler the renter opened the door, we immediately knew this was it. We made an offer and we accepted their counter offer. There was just enough money left after the sale of our house to pay cash for it and to cover moving expenses. Broke again.

But now we had a place to live. We were set to close on 5-16-16. Boom, pow, bang! Again, life can still be so unpredictable.

Three weeks before our closing here. Our old home all of a sudden had an escrow problem. Funds weren’t being distributed properly, resulting in a three-week delay. We closed finally at noon on Friday the 13th, just in time to close here on Monday the 16th.

The move was on. It kicked my butt moving here! Black and blue all over from all the cuts and bumps. Band-aids left bruising or removing them would tear my skin, all signs of my LD. I looked like I was a drug addict. Track marks all over.

We settled in here, as I slowly improved. Then, two years later in April of 2018, my thoracic varices sprang a leak and I started passing blood. Off to the ER in a rush.

Now if you know anything about LD, you know you usually only have minutes left at this point. Like an aorta rupture. Chance for survival at this point is 50 percent or less.

I was spared, and it was just a small leak at this time. Emergency banding surgery was performed, a total of nine bandings in two procedures total. The third one found nothing. A big milestone.

I feel blessed to have survived all of what life and I have thrown at myself. I believe addiction is a mindset. It’s something you get pleasure from and can be changed. By finding something that’s a much safer addiction, like cars, painting, running, writing, animals, etc.

I’ve become more childlike in some ways. Just an excitable boy. I started journaling everything about LD. It got me started on my latest addiction, writing about it and life, not being afraid to talk about it (therapy - self help). Hopefully, I will be able to continue, Lord willing.

I want to thank the Lord first, my wife Mary of 45 years, who’s stood by my side through all of this. I wouldn’t be here without her. My therapist, primary care physician and GI doctor, all who have helped keep me alive and believed in me when no one else did. Last of all The Record for printing my stories and rants.

A quote from Maya Angelou, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.


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