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Young couple triumph over cancer diagnosis

Young couple  triumph over cancer diagnosis
Garrett and Krystal Porter have triumpehd over his cancer during their first year of marriage.

For many young couples, the only challenges they face are choosing a wedding date and paying off honeymoon debt, but one local couple has faced a more daunting trial.

Garrett and Krystal Porter, formerly of Sutherland Springs and La Vernia, respectively, went to the emergency room earlier this year, as Garrett was having chest and side pains. The doctor returned 15 minutes after running a blood test with results that would forever change the couple’s lives.

Garrett was diagnosed April 7 with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). This type of cancer directly affects the blood and bone marrow.

“When he told us, we were both in disbelief,” Krystal said. “I remember asking if he was sure. To us, it seemed hard to believe you could be diagnosed with cancer so quickly.”

Shortly after the diagnosis, the Porters made the decision with the help of family and friends to start rounds of chemotherapy, said Krystal, currently majoring in education at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She also teaches at Gymboree Play and Music.

Garrett, who previously worked as a detailer at Koepp Chevrolet, has been in and out of the hospital since April. The cancer even affected their May 18 wedding. Garrett, 23, had been in the hospital recovering from the effects of his second round of chemotherapy only a week before he tied the knot with Krystal, 22.

The couple canceled their honeymoon, due to Garrett’s extensive treatments and the length of his hospital stays.

Garrett has struggled with effects of the chemotherapy, such as weight loss and impaired vision, but his wife has been by his side every step of the way.

“I think this experience has made our marriage stronger,” Garrett said.

Garrett’s parents, Barry and Helen Tillery, and his sister, Katie Preston, sponsored a benefit in June to help raise funds for Garrett’s medical expenses. More than $300 was raised from selling barbecue plates and baked goods.

Garrett said the hardest part for him has been being away from the couple’s home. Only a month before his diagnosis, the two moved into their first apartment in San Antonio.

He officially finished his last round of chemotherapy Aug. 24. Though he shows no signs of cancer, he is currently in the hospital recovering from an infection. Otherwise, he has a clean bill of health, Krystal said.

Krystal said they would not have been able to get through this experience without the help of their friends and family. She added that the little things people did, like bringing food and spending time at the hospital, made things easier.

Faith also was a factor in overcoming the struggles the couple faced.

“Prayer definitely helped me,” Krystal said. “Knowing He is going to heal my husband. That is what God does.”

The couple said they do not know what God has in store for them, but they are most looking forward to spending time outside the hospital together.

Benefit for Garrett Porter

Join the Porters’ family and friends for a barbecue benefit and bake sale Saturday, Sept. 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Pruski’s Market, 10140 U.S. 87 in Adkins. Barbecue plates will be $7.50 per person. Proceeds will go toward the Porters’ medical bills. For more information, call Barry or Helen Tillery at 830-947-4144.

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