With the quiet comfort of a caring partner, Sue Krummrei reaches over and pats her husband’s leg as he breaks down on camera.
Pat Krummrei, her best friend and husband of 38 years, regained composure while sharing his thoughts of Manali Kamdar, MD, the woman he credits most with saving his life.
“She’s like, you’ve got to live your life,” he said of Kamdar’s advice that came early in his treatment for mantle cell lymphoma.
Pat Krummrei and Manali Kamdar, MD
Now, eight and a half years post-diagnosis – with the words stage four, aggressive, rare and incurable ringing more faintly in their ears – the Krummreis have followed Kamdar’s guidance and formed an unbreakable bond with the rare lymphoma expert.
Turning hopelessness on its head
“I was confused,” Sue Krummrei recalled of when doctors near the couple’s Greeley home delivered the devastating news. “I was scared. I felt hopeless in the beginning.”
The cancer diagnosis was a “cruel cut” for Pat Krummrei, an active, athletic, health-conscious man, who courted his wife on the golf courses and hiking trails of Germany, where they both spent their working years before retiring in Colorado.
But their devastation turned to hope when the two were sent to Kamdar, clinical director of lymphoma services in the Division of Hematology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
From that day forward, Sue Krummrei knew they “were going to be OK,” she said, crediting the expertise, team spirit and hopeful culture that she said emanates from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
Science, hope, caring equals success
“Dr. Kamdar is gifted in the way that she puts the emphasis on optimism and hope when it’s appropriate,” Sue Krummrei said. “It’s not sugarcoating anything. It’s not false hope. But: Here’s the science, and this how it all works together. And she has been our guide in all of that.”
Kamdar, a member of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, emphasized that in the cancer-care equation, patients are just as important in finding success.
“I’m just so thankful for the fact that they trusted in us, in my team, in the system, in the information that I was presenting to them.”
Of course, no one’s more thankful than the Krummreis. “Thanks for giving me an extension on my life,” Pat Krummrei said, breaking down again as he turned toward Kamdar. “Words cannot describe how much I care for you.”