Digging up daffodils: Craig woman battled pancreatic cancer with spirit | CraigDailyPress.com

Digging up daffodils: Craig woman battled pancreatic cancer with spirit





Chris Muzik, pictured in 2014 standing on front of a display of Native American goods at Spirit Pass — the store she owned until she was forced to close it in September 2016 due to stage three pancreatic cancer.

— Finding the word cancer scary, one Craig woman battled the disease with unusual spirit.

Remembering Chris Muzik

A memorial service is planned for later this year when more of her family are able to travel to Craig.

As a small business owner, Chris did not have health insurance. The family has asked for donations to help pay medical costs at Yampa Valley Bank in Craig in Drew Muzik's name.

Donations maybe made in her honor to Moffat County Cancer Society through Grant Mortuary and Crematorium.

Tributes are being posted to her Facebook Page "Chris Musik" and at grantmortuary.com/obituaries/Chris-Muzik/.

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Her obituary may be read at: grantmortuary.com/obituaries/Chris-Muzik/#!/Obituary

"I have a daffodil. A daffodil is a bulb and once removed from the earth never grows back unless it's put back into the soil. I'm removing the daffodil," said Chris Muzik in August when she talked to the daily press about the decision to close her store — Spirit Pass.

On Thursday, at age 61, Chris lost her fight to "remove the daffodil." She died, surrounded by her family in her Craig home, from complications stemming from stage three pancreatic cancer.

"She was in high spirits to the end. She always thought she was going to beat it," said husband Drew Muzik who is recently retired from United Parcel Service (UPS).

Drew and Chris Muzik fell in love in 1999 and married in 2000, a couple of years before opening their Craig store — Spirit Pass. This photo was taken after Chris Muzik was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Many people knew Chris through her handmade jewelry that inspired her to open Spirit Pass in the Centennial Mall in Craig in 2002.

"She won 2013 'Business Person of the Year' and Spirit Pass was voted 'Best Place to Buy a Gift' for three years in a row," said Drew. "She would give anyone a discount. We didn't make any money."

After feeling ill and trying a number of treatments, Chris learned in June that she had a large tumor — "a daffodil" — on the duct to her pancreas. That's when her battle began.

Chris's condition deteriorated last fall and doctors were unable to operate and the odds stacked against her. The American Cancer Society puts survival rates for those with inoperable tumors at three percent.

"She thought she was superwoman and thought she would get better," Drew said.

Drew met and fell for Chris in 1999. They married about a year later in 2000.

He was first struck by "her trademark long hair," he said. "She lost it all, with the chemo but it was coming back. And towards the end, I loved combing her hair."

When Chris began to loose her hair she asked friends from Spirit Pass to help her create something beautiful.

"She wanted paints on her head in pretty colors and she started wanting her make-up done," said Pam Wilson-Orth, friend, tattoo artist and owner of Pam's Body Art in Craig. "She had a big heart and did so much for everyone else, I told her 'it's your turn Chris.'"

In keeping with his wife's wishes, Drew plans to scatter Chris's ashes later this year.

"She told me 'just don't keep me in the damn closet,'" Drew said.

When talking about the name of her store in August Chris said, "in the morning sunrise, the spirits that came before, they traveled from the east to the west and their spirit passes through us each day."

It seems fitting to look for Chris Muzik's bright spirit in the yellow of the spring daffodils or the glow of the rising sun.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

Remembering Chris Muzik

A memorial service is planned for later this year when more of her family are able to travel to Craig.

As a small business owner, Chris did not have health insurance. The family has asked for donations to help pay medical costs at Yampa Valley Bank in Craig in Drew Muzik’s name.

Donations maybe made in her honor to Moffat County Cancer Society through Grant Mortuary and Crematorium.

Tributes are being posted to her Facebook Page “Chris Musik” and at grantmortuary.com/obituaries/Chris-Muzik/.

Her obituary may be read at: grantmortuary.com/obituaries/Chris-Muzik/#!/Obituary