HW: Dance party planned to help couple deal with overwhelming setbacks
Cyndi and Jeff Haifley want, and need, a party.
The past 12 months have been physically, emotionally and financially draining on the young Montrose family, prompting friends to put together a fundraising dance Nov. 2.
In December, Cyndi and Jeff’s 11-month-old son Aidan was flown to Grand Junction with skull fractures and bleeding in the brain after Jeff accidentally dropped Aidan in the family’s home.
In January, Jeff, 27, an epileptic, had the first of two grand mal seizures brought on by the stress of his guilt from dropping Aidan.
Perhaps most trying, however, was 28-year-old Cyndi’s cancer diagnosis June 25. She had successful surgery Sept. 19 in Denver to remove a rare neuroendocrine tumor on her appendix.
Before the surgery, physicians were concerned the cancer was lining the abdomen. Fortunately, that was not the case and physicians did not need to treat her with a chemotherapy wash, Cyndi said.
As it was, the tumor was 1.7 centimeters. Had the tumor been 0.3 centimeter bigger, physicians would have had to remove part of her colon, she said.
Prior to her cancer diagnosis, Cyndi had difficulty getting pregnant, so she is unsure of how the cancer has affected her ability to have more children. Doctors advised Cyndi she should try and have her final biological child within two years.
Cyndi was released from the University of Colorado Hospital at the end of September and is still recovering from surgery. She must have computed tomography scans, or CT scans, every three months to check for a possible return of the cancer.
The family has health insurance, but it does not cover the costs of travel, food and hotel rooms racked up in the past year, Cyndi said. The insurance also does not pay for a new vehicle after the family’s Toyota Camry was totaled last summer when someone backed into it.
“We just need a party,” Cyndi said, referring to the upcoming Nov. 2 fundraiser at Canyon View Vineyard Church. “We love to dance although I don’t know how much dancing I’ll do.”
Jeff has been on sick leave from the Montrose Police Department so he can take care of his wife and Aidan. After surgery, physicians placed limits on how long Cyndi can hold her son.
After a year of health problems and medical bills, it seems plausible Cyndi and Jeff would be bitter or angry.
Instead, the Haifleys, who have been married for more than five years, are thankful they are all on the road to recovery.
“This whole year has been really trying, I guess, but it’s brought our whole family closer together,” Jeff said. “There’s not anything we can do to change the circumstances. It’s just something we have to live
through, and we couldn’t ask for a better result.”
Aidan is healthy and ready to walk. Jeff and Cyndi worried Aidan would be behind developmentally after the head injury, but he is crawling around and recently learned to say “no” and mean it.
“We’re in trouble now,” Cyndi joked.
Jeff is on daily medication to control his epilepsy. The medication costs $800 monthly.
Cyndi regains strength every day and is gradually taking fewer and fewer pain medications.
The Haifleys said they are have leaned heavily on their friends, family and faith in the past year. In fact, Montrose city employees have donated sick time to Jeff so he could be with his family.
The dance fundraiser for the Haifleys will be at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 2 at Canyon View Vineyard Church chapel in Grand Junction in conjunction with Aidan’s first birthday.
A photo of the Haifleys will be one of several exhibited at the Rockin’ the Runway fashion show and fundraiser for St. Mary’s Cancer Foundation at 7 p.m. Friday at Wells Fargo downtown.