Lisa met her husband, Mitchell Baxter, during a mutual friend’s baby christening back in 1992. They were introduced and it was an instant connection. After dating in 1993, they got engaged in 1994, and then married in 1995. It was a match made in heaven that lasted 23 years.
Both Mitchell and Lisa were social workers and they strived to make others’ lives better. Lisa has been in the profession for 21 years. Mitchell was a job developer for people who struggled to find jobs; people who had prison backgrounds, people on public assistance or on welfare, and those who were living off of welfare with little to no experience in the work field.
“Mitch always helped people in general. He always helped men; men with drug addictions and things like that, and men down on their luck,” Lisa said. “Mitch had no problem helping another guy, or anybody. He always worked in the community and he had no problem getting his hands dirty.”
Lisa’s hoping, with Mitchell’s honorable services to the public and community, along with his radiant personality, will shine light on colon cancer.
“It was really a sudden diagnosis. Mitch was always the healthy one in the family. Way healthier than I ever was,” according to Lisa. Mitchell went to get his blood tested and when the results came with a count of six, he thought there had been a mistake. The doctors repeated the test, and the results came back the same. Neither the doctors nor Mitchell could explain why, so a colonoscopy was ordered.
“That’s when we found out,” said Lisa. Mitchell passed away at the age of 54, in 2014. When looking back at the diagnosis, Lisa said that she was shocked at the news. “I didn’t know anything about it. Anytime I experienced anything with the colon was that first colonoscopy I had that was fine with one teeny polyp that they took out and it was never an issue; nothing to talk about. I just know that you’re supposed to get checked at 50. That’s all I knew about it, and I knew nothing prior to that. I just heard about it; something that was murmured, something that was said. They said in my case, they had to check me early because of some other issues. Other than that, they would’ve never given me a check.”
Lisa was going through dialysis for kidney failure. She was getting ready for a transplant when it was suggested that she get a colonoscopy. “I was going for a transplant and I had a colonoscopy because I had an issue that dialysis caused, hemorrhoid issues, so they had to give me one.”
It was after her colonoscopy, that she referred her doctor to Mitchell. She was the one who found Mitchell’s true diagnosis. “I am thankful to this day she helped us, and everybody that helped us along the way.”
Lisa, an author and talk show host, hosts The Lisa Baxter Show, which can be viewed on YouTube. According to her website, the show is “a dialysis reality transplant show that brings awareness to others.” On her talk show she has created multiple PSAs informing and advocating for early screening. “So I learned about just getting checked out and taking care of yourself, one of my sayings is, ‘Take care of your kidneys, they’ll take care of you.’ Or ‘Take care of your body, it’ll take care of you back.’”
In a very special 2-part episode, Lisa interviewed Mitchell about his experience with colon cancer before he passed. “My motivation was to let people see what it is for a man to go through something. What it is for what a wife goes through as well. It’s not just him being sick, or how he’s dealing with me being sick, or how’s he dealing, period. With work, being a man of faith, with church and everything, because we’re strong, faithful believers. What is all of that about? I had him say it in his own words. Coming from a man, me saying something is one thing, but if he says it, it might carry more weight for another man.”
Mitchell was an impactful man. After his passing, Lisa donated his clothes to drug programs and to others he had helped in the community. Someone whom Mitchell had helped, approached Lisa and personally asked her what had happened to Mitchell. “He asked for a personal talk and I gave it to him. He was a young man, we watched him grow up. And he kept asking, ‘I just wanted to know what happened to him.’ And I explained it to him.”
“What I appreciated about him; he didn’t walk away from me when I was ill, or anything like that. And we know people who walked away from their wives, their significant other. He had no problem sharing how much he cared or how much he loved me. He gave me an award for being a wife. I couldn’t believe that. Who gives an award for being a wife? I had appreciated that very much. Altogether, he was a provider. He always encouraged me; we brought out the best in each other. He made me better about myself with everything. It could’ve gone another way. He didn’t hold anything against me or take advantage of me. He was very patient and he waited for me.”
Lisa hopes that Mitchell’s story can save a life, or even a couple from breaking up, emphasizing the importance of patience and support with each other no matter what obstacles come in the way. “It’s not an easy thing. It’s hard on the person; somebody you love, watching them die. That’s not easy at all. I had dialysis in the morning and he had chemo in the afternoon and I had to meet him there and it was a 12-hour day that we had to do this. He worked to make the team work.”LEARN MORE ABOUT COLON CANCER RETURN TO FACES OF BLUE LISA BAXTER WEBSITE