Three years ago on August 30 I received my stem-cell transplant.Continue reading “My 3rd Re-Birthday”
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.
On August 30, 2017, one year ago today, I received stem cells from a world donor who was found to be a perfect match. Finding a perfect match was extremely fortunate as many people have to settle for half-matches or worse, which decreases the likelihood of successful grafting in your body. In May, 2017, I had been diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), which is a cancer of the bone marrow, and after a month of “lighter” chemo treatments it had expedited to AML (leukemia) and I had to be admitted to hospital.
A year ago, on May 19, I received a phone call at around 4:40 that would change my life. It was Friday of the long weekend and Dr. Crump from Princess Margaret called. He had been monitoring my blood for two years because early on they thought I had lymphoma, but when that was ruled out they just monitored until something changed. I remember Avery answered, and it had to be the first or second time she ever answered the phone. When she handed it to me and I heard Dr. Crump’s voice, that feeling of dread and fear welled up right away. Why would one of the most esteemed lymphoma specialists in the world call me personally? Let’s just say that I knew it wasn’t to wish me a happy long weekend.
Monday was Day +180 post transplant
High time I did an update.
I got the results back from my bone marrow biopsy. Blast count was at or below 1%, which is excellent (and expected). I don’t have cancer right now.
Today is Day +69
On Day +17 the doctor lifted isolation. Of course, on Day +15 my wife was sick and we couldn’t risk her bringing the kids to the hospital to see me (outside of my wing, of course, since the kids aren’t allowed in that wing of the hospital). But she was better the next day, and we gave it another day to be sure it was completely gone and not contagious, she brought the kids to the hospital on Day +18, a Sunday. We had a great reunion! Amazing hugs. And a really fun time in the 14th floor lounge that we pretty much had to ourselves.
I checked back into the hospital on Thursday, August 24th but I was able to get back out and have dinner with my wife and kids. Chemo started on August 25th on what is called Day -5. However, the chemo was very tame and so I was able to have a day pass Friday. Ditto for Saturday.