On October 19th 2016, Dan was diagnosed with Leukemia which was classified as AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia). Treatment began that next day starting with Induction Chemotherapy. He stayed at UMass Memorial Medical Center and battled through a few more rounds of chemo that kept him there until Thanksgiving. He was happy to spend some time at home before going back in for more treatment. With another round of chemo and a few weeks waiting for the counts in his blood to normalize, he was able to come home for Christmas. It was the best gift of all to have him home during that time.
During this 2 month period after multiple biopsies of his bone marrow it was determined that a Stem Cell Transplant would be the next step in Making Dan Great Again.(MDGA) The process to identify a donor was slower than we had hoped but we got the amazing news that Dan's brother Tom was a great match. Tom has been great in his efforts to get the process going. It was frustrating at times with unexpected delays, but we are very happy that Transplant Day is in sight.
The process of 'harvesting' the stem cells from his brother Tom is interesting. For a week leading up to his donor day, Tom will receive a shot every day that will stimulate stem cell production in his bone marrow and bring them into his blood stream. On the donor day, the doctors will connect an IV to Tom and run his blood through a machine that will collect all the healthy stem cells which will be transplanted to Dan. These will be fresh and healthy stem cells to help build Dan’s immune system back up from that of an infant. I am by no means a medical professional and could be a little off on some of the terminology and processes but it's the best I could do to share some insight on how they go through the transplant process.
Transplant Day is scheduled for 2/2!
We will be providing updates here as often as possible to keep everyone informed.