Isac and Elizabeth Madrid were living a typical middle class life, until a medical emergency knocked them off their feet. Now, each day is a battle that starts at Baylor Medical Center.
Many 25-year-olds rise and shine with a cup of coffee, maybe “Sportscenter” or the morning paper. Isac Madrid bundles up, grabs a backpack full of medicine and reports to his doctors at 8:30 a.m. sharp.
On Nov. 11, Isac got a bone marrow transplant. Every day since, he’s been back to the hospital for labs and checkups.
Isac has a rare disorder, Erythropoietic Protoporphyria. In Isac’s case, it’s severe. Chemicals in his bone marrow build up and damage his liver. He’s been sick for more than 18 months and lost close to 70 pounds.
A Wide Range of Emotions
One of Isac’s doctors is Dr. Estil Vance with Texas Oncology.
“So the first step was a liver transplant … and that went fantastically well, and the second part is replacing the abnormal bone marrow with the healthy bone marrow from his sister,” Vance says.
Doctors already tried a bone marrow transplant, but the graft didn’t take. This time around, they’re optimistic.
“This time, he’s doing better,” Vance says. “It’s probably a lot harder coming to and from the clinic.”
Isac says the transplant, blood work and constant check-ups are physically draining. Emotionally, he’s all over the map.
Paying the bills: A constant juggling act
Aside from the pain he’s in, Isac battles chronic worry. He’s too sick to work, which puts his family in a tight spot financially.
His disability benefits plus income from his wife’s full-time job don’t cover all their expenses, so they’re constantly juggling bills and payments. They’ve even started an online fundraising drive.
Worse still, Isac is missing precious time with his only child.
Isac has a big family that loves to celebrate the holidays, but he spent Thanksgiving in bed.
That’s not the way a young husband and father wants to move through life.
But if this bone marrow transplant takes, Isac’s doctors paint a much brighter picture.
“Our hope would be within just a few months of transplant that he would be back to normal,” Vance said.
A life that ended to soon
Sadly, that didn’t happen. On Feb. 13, 2014, Isac died. A fundraising page has been established to help pay for medical and funeral expenses.
Last October, Isac reflected on the toll his illness was taking on his family.
It was hard not seeing his baby boy. “Basically, I watched him grow through pictures,” he said.
It was hard, too, for his wife.
“I think she didn’t know who to really be with,” Isac said. “[She was] trying to be there for me, but she needs to be there for our son, as well.”
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