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John’s Story

John was diagnosed on April 5 with Acute Myelomonocytic Leukemia (AML-M4). John is at Presbyterian/St. Luke's hospital in Denver. He was transferred from Durango to PSL on May 15.

We are trying to stop his body from producing leukemia cells (a temporary remission) for enough time so that John is able to have a bone marrow transplant. He has had 4 chemo treatments so far. (Join the bone marrow registry at

John is currently in the ICU and on a ventilator due to severe pneumonia and other infections.

Each of your thoughts, prayers and messages mean the world to us: thank you.

While at Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango, John received 2 rounds of chemo (12 days total) in a period of 28 days. After 28 days at the hospital, he was able to go home to Silverton for about 10 days.

Essentially the goal of the chemo treatments is to wipe out his bone marrow, which destroys his red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

So for a time after each chemo treatment he lives with almost no immune system at all (yes, boy in the bubble type stuff) as well as very, very low red blood cells and platelet counts. He receives transfusions and platelets on a regular basis during that time.

When he went home to Silverton for that short time, his counts were just starting to recover and we were hoping that his cells would grow back healthy.

Unfortunately, his body began to make more leukemia cells and he was rehospitalized on May 14, then transferred to Denver the next day. 

When he got to Denver, he had a 3rd round of chemo. This also did not put him into remission.

This is one of the factors of the Monosomy 7 genetic alteration that is occurring for John. It is a more "stubborn" type of leukemia to treat and doesn't respond well to chemo. This is, of course, a significant problem because that is the way you treat leukemia. This is also why doctors know that they want to move him as quickly as possible to a bone marrow transplant.

However, you have to have the leukemia in temporary remission in order to move into the bone marrow transplant, so we are really hoping (wow, that's an understatement) that this 4th round of chemo - different set of drugs that he hasn't seen before - will do the trick.

Please read my journal updates for more current info.