I am taking a quick moment to update you on my battle with leukemia and my recovery from a stem-cell transplant. I state the words “quick moment” and that’s a good thing. It’s not to gloss over anything that I went through or that others are going through, but to state emphatically that I am better, I am healthy and I am strong. I literally have no news to share, and in this case no news truly is good news.
Two years ago, on this day at 3:30pm, I received a stem-cell transplant from a donor who – to this point has chosen to remain anonymous – has given me the gift of life and my kids the gift of a dad who is still around and can do things with them such as camping (I just returned from Algonquin Park). On the heels of seven weeks of chemotherapy and a day or radiation, I got this orange bag of stem cells. Less than 30 minutes later it had been slowly infused into my body via IV and 10 days later it had become good, healthy bone marrow that started producing and rebuilding my immunity. Since then it has been a slow and steady process of starting from scratch – getting my vaccines all over again, bit by bit. Next month I get the measles and smallpox vaccines (yes, right now I am susceptible to those). Then I have one more set of boosters in about six months and then I’m caught up.
There have been my share of obstacles, and I had detailed them in prior updates and won’t rehash those now. And the new blood has changed a couple of minor things, such as – bugs that previously left me alone or never bothered me, suddenly find me to be the greatest buffet meal in the world, feasting on me whenever I step a foot in their range. But the bottom line is that I feel good and that’s certainly a small price to pay. In one more year I will be deemed ‘cured’. And for this milestone today, the doctor has informed me that a man of my age group and situation, without any complications, has a 90% chance at a full and normal life. Well, that’s where I am, watching that percentage as it started at 40% – the number I was given before receiving my stem cell transplant – and ticked it’s way upward to 90%.
A year from now it will be 100.