Science & Medicine

Remembering Karl

Portrait of an Unlikely Martyr

He was with us almost exactly one year.

In the brief time he surfaced on the patient support lists, few people made as great an impact on the group as Karl — khorak42 — posting advice, jokes, words of encouragement to others, and graphic descriptions of his own suffering right up to the day before his death, March 6, 2011.

His name was Karl Kevin Lachevet. He loved people and loved being outdoors, specially on the water, night fishing.. And yet it was the Internet that finally brought his family and friends to his side in his last weeks and days.

Karl was 53 years old when he died in a Florida hospice, apparently from complications from multiple myeloid disorders. He had been diagnosed with MF, nine years earlier. One month before his death, based on his final BMB, he was diagnosed with AML

Karl was a laborer, a fighter with some rough edges, a complex guy with guts and compassion. His wife and daughter say his anger control issues estranged him from his family and left him isolated in his Florida home as he struggled with pain, fatigue, bleeding, and advanced splenomegaly. His wife, Wanda, brought him together with his daughter, Terra, through Facebook and phone conversations. And Karl’s intensive use of the MPD on-line patient support forums kept him in daily touch with new Internet friends around the world.

For Karl, fundamentally concerned about others around him, this was essential. “Karl was a very kindhearted man that was always trying to help others,” wrote his wife, Wanda, from her Texas home.

“Karl cared so much about all of y’all and he was always worrying about all of ya’ll each day of his life. Even with me living here in TX, he called me every day to talk about all y’all. …Karl was always having me to look up info for someone off the groups so he could help them. The Karl I married would help any and everyone that he could. Karl was a very strong man with a heart of gold.”

Karl always held out the hope of recovery, but more and more, as his condition worsened, it seemed likely he was trying to cheer us up, his silent gallery of admirers on the MPN lists. An intelligent and relentless researcher, he was acutely aware of his deterioration and the inevitable outcome,. Still he did remain optimistic until the end. When he fought for == and received – an experimental drug the day before Christmas, 2010. he wrote from his hospice bed: ” I will have revlimid as early as Monday! Woo Hoo! Merry Christmas to all. I got just what I asked for.”

To many of us, the most astonishing thing about Karl was how he reached out through his pain to respond to others on the lists…offering Paula advice on magnesium, congratulating Arch on his Hippycratic Oath posting, condoling Giselle, commiserating with Joe over his MD Anderson trials
And he never lost his sense of humor. To Chis who complained about hearing problems post BMT, “EH, you lost your. BENDER?” In our last e-mails we talked about the Song of Ascents, a small section within the Book of Psalms I told him I’d be happy to send him a copy,.
He replied, from his bed in the Good Shepherd Hospice, “O I think there is a Bible around here, LOL’

In the end it was his daughter, Terra, who brought the news to usTerra and her brother, Kalon, were with him in the last days. ” March 6, she wrote to his MPN friends and followers: ” Thank you all so much! I know he was really touched to read the emails about how helpful he was. It really meant a lot to him. He fought it until the end. He hung on until we, my brothers and I got there. He decided after that, it was time to go. He did put up a fight.”

The best and most honest tribute to Karl Kevin Lachevet would be to publish a small sampling of his hundreds of posts .



khorak42 khora… mpdchat Jeremy, I’m so sorry that you have lost your
best friend. My most sincere condolences as I can imagine how close you were.
Hang in there guy. We’re here for you. Karl.
Nov 14 2010 by khorak42 – 2 messages – 2 authors

Kristina, sudden happening
khorak42 khora… mpdchat Hi Kristina, I’m sure it’s a great shock to
both of you finding out so suddenly. First a second opinion wouldn’t hurt but
that would be difficult with the daily transfusions. 58 isn’t too old to do a
BMT. 65 is more the cutoff and people still do it successfuly. …

khorak42 khora… mpdchat Hi Judy, A very nice poem especially
considering the time of day LOL. THank you We at MPDChat All know where the
answers are at, When we need a shoulder to lean on We know that Judy is there
researching and teaching all those answers for which we are reaching Happy
Birthday Judy …
Jan 22 by khorak42 – 1 message – 1 author

khorak42 khora… mpdchat Hi Gillian, Don’t you have low platelets? If
so you should stay away from fish oil and ginseng which are platelet antagonists
. If your platelets aren’t low krill oil would be a much better choice than fish
oil. Garlic is good for infections especially if you eat it often. …
Feb 19 by khorak42 – 1 message – 1 author

Hippycratic Oath
khorak42 khora… mpdchat Hi Arch, I knew it had to be you as I was
reading it. Very good as always. I can’t wait to hear the modernized version.
Jan 21 by khorak42 – 1 message – 1 author

GG bone pain
khorak42 khora… mpdchat I know what you mean Giselle, pain so bad
these nights can’t get any real sleep. Plus breathing getting worse. They stick
that dang clip on my finger for 2 seconds, nope you dont need O2. So tired all
of the time and always hurting. Was told platelets went from 6-13 but turned …
Feb 6 by khorak42 – 3 messages – 3 authors

Zhen, pain management
khorak42 khora… mpdchat Hi Zhen, Have told Giselle she would
probably benefit from a good pain management dr. For me these days is like the
fluid buildup. Taking diuretics. They work but not enough. Fluid backing up in
lungs making it harder and harder to breathe. The pain when I try to sleep
almost …
Feb 6 by khorak42 – 2 messages – 2 authors

khorak42 khora… mpdchat Could be. I sure hope so. And I hope the
Great Spirit will allow me to reside in my chosen place. Can’t ask for more. Big
Hugs, Karl.
Feb 27 by khorak42 – 1 message – 1 author

*****Karl Update
Gi :) —– Original Message —–=20 From: “khorak42” To:
“MPDchat” Sent: Saturday, March 05, 2011 1:10 AM
Subject: Karl Update Just go out of hosp today. They refused ro give packed red
cells finally made deal to get 2 units but no nore so will die shorty’ So …
Mar 5 by G.G. – 4 messages – 4 authors


…And these final e-mails, from Terra

Terra, Karl’s daughter

khorak42 khora… mpdchat Thank you very much for telling me this. He
went back into the hospital Saturday morning about 12:30/1 am. He was supposed
to get yesterday afternoon, but they decided to keep him because he was going to
get platelets today about noon. I’m sorry to say he didn’t make it. …
Mar 6 by khorak42 – 2 messages – 2 authors


khorak42 khora… mpdchat Thank you all so much! I know he was really
touched to read the emails about how helpful he was. It really meant a lot to
him. He fought it until the end. He hung on until we, my brothers & I, got there
. He decided after that, it was time to go. He did put up a fight. …
Mar 6 by khorak42 – 8 messages – 6 authors

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