Father with terminal illness traveling to see son's wedding

Glen Kertz has a non-alcoholic form of cirrhosis of the liver.

A father in El Paso leaves Saturday to see his son get married in Washington, D.C., despite being in hospice care.

Doctors diagnosed Glen Kertz with a non-alcoholic form of cirrhosis of the liver nearly five years ago. They gave him six months to live.

"I wake up every morning and it's a surprise I'm still here," Kertz said.

Kertz underwent 16 surgical procedures in the last five years. He decided to go into hospice earlier this year.

"The hospice has been a real shock to me because I fought it for months," he said. "The quality of my life has improved considerably since I've been on hospice."

Kertz said he has easier access to medication and a nurse visits at least once a week. He paints almost every day, took up ceramics and is writing a book.

"Glen came into hospice with some very definitive goals. One was to have his pain controlled," Kertz's hospice nurse, Mary Beth Medicke, said.

The other goal was to make it to his son's wedding in Washington, D.C. The team at La Mariposa Hospice with the Hospitals of Providence helped arrange for that to happen.

"We had to find a hospice in Washington, D.C., that would follow Glen for the two weeks he's going to be there," Medicke said.

Kertz leaves Saturday for a two-week trip to Washington, D.C., to see his son get married, tour the White House, and Capitol.

Even when he comes back, he said he has a lot more life to live.

"I've got a head full of paintings," he said. "I've got a head full of words."

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