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11/20/2016 Latest post:
Since 2013, I have been fighting various forms of blood disorders/cancers belonging to the category of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). Polycythemia vera (bone marrow that makes too may blood cells) progressed to myelofibrosis (fibrous tissue in the bone marrow that prevents blood cells from forming properly. I have been treated by an MPN specialist at the University of Michigan Cancer Center for the past two years. The medication had been doing its job of shrinking my spleen back to normal size and improving my blood counts. I had my 3-month checkup at U of M on Friday, November 4. My blood test this time showed unusual blood cells, so they performed an urgent bone marrow biopsy to confirm and identify the cause. On Monday, November 7, I heard the words that drastically changed my life: "You have acute myeloid leukemia (AML)". The only cure for AML is a stem cell transplant, but the first step is chemotherapy to induce remission. I will be admitted to the hospital for approximately one month - ten days of chemotherapy followed by about three weeks of close monitoring for side effects and to make sure I do not develop an infection. Once a bone marrow/stem cell match is located, I will again be admitted to the hospital for another month to prepare for and receive the transplant. My family and I are still trying to wrap our minds around this new reality. It has been a tremendous shock. Although we were aware that my blood disorders/cancer could progress to AML, this was not expected at this time. Even the doctors were surprised, as everything had been going so well and all of my blood counts looked good. Your prayers are already being felt, as I have experienced an overwhelming sense of calm over the past several days. Please continue to pray for strength, peace, hope and healing in the days, weeks and months to come.