My grandfather, Keith Nechvatal, was diagnosed with stage 4+ colon cancer at the end of 2019. He was 72. He had not been feeling well for a couple of months but refused to go to the doctors as it gave him anxiety. He had symptoms such as stomach aches, fatigue, and weight loss. When he finally went in to see his doctor, he was diagnosed with colon cancer that same day.
Grandpa was a bright soul, who loved Western festivities as well as his family. Through his actions and his words, he let us all know that we were the center of his life. He did not let the cancer stop him from continuing to care for us all. Although things looked a little bit different after his diagnosis, he still woke up every day and fought for us.
I have so many beautiful memories with him such as watching Elf together every Christmas, baking our favorite recipes, or when he would let me stay home from school to spend the day with him. Grandpa spent pretty much every night at my house from the day I was born until my triplet cousins were born and then it went down to a couple of days a week with my family and a couple of nights with my cousin’s family. He went to every school sporting event of mine, every dance competition I participated in, and was always there for me when I needed him.
When he got sick, we reversed roles. My whole family all went and stayed with him and kept him company after his diagnosis. He loved everything Western so I got him lots of Western-themed gifts, which always made him smile.
Then in the very early morning of March 6th, 2021, we got the phone call that changed our lives forever. My grandfather lost his battle with colon cancer.
But colon cancer did not define the kind of person he was. He was a loving, kind, beautiful and bright human with an amazing sense of humor. He loved his family more than anything on this earth and you could see it in his eyes every time you looked at him. His personality would shine through in everything he did.
He was a man of faith and liked to tell everyone he met that he was indeed a cowboy. He cared for everyone he met and would have given the shirt off his back to any stranger who asked. He was indeed a hero and we all miss him dearly. It came on very suddenly and it all happened very fast. My whole family is still grieving and processing it all.
I share his story in hopes that it will spread the message to not wait to get screened. Cancer is no joke and sometimes people are unlucky. I want to share my grandfather’s story to help raise awareness and help other families who may be going through the same thing.