A little over 3 months ago, I was feeling perfectly well, fit and healthy. I was hiking with my dog, coaching nutrition clients, and singing with my beloved choir, when my life was unexpectedly turned upside down.
I began to have relentless headaches that I attributed to a change in my contact prescription. After two months, I visited my doctor and bloodwork revealed abnormalities which required a bone marrow biopsy. Never could I have imagined receiving the news we did – I was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) which is a rare blood disorder that affects only 19,000 people a year, mostly men over 60 or people exposed to radiation. Some forms of MDS can be managed with medication, but if you have certain genetic markers, there is a high likelihood it will transform to Acute Myeloid Leukemia. I have those markers, which makes a bone marrow transplant (BMT) my only option to cure this disease so I can live another 45 years.
I will admit that I have moments of feeling sad that this is happening - but mostly, I feel optimistic and grateful for every day. We are so blessed to live near Stanford and I have an amazing team of doctors. I marvel at the miracle of modern medicine - I will be getting a new and improved immune system! Unfortunately, my siblings were not matches for me, but Stanford and BeTheMatch.org (http://bethematch.org/
) have found a perfect unrelated donor and my surgery has been scheduled for the end of September.
And so, the journey begins! The love, support and prayers of my family and friends are pillars of strength for me. My priority is getting well and strong, so that I can have many more years to sing, laugh and love. I know there are blessings in this journey - I have already felt them and I look forward to what life has in store for me on the other side of the transplant and recovery.
I'll be using this website to post updates, thoughts and prayer requests. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for going on this journey with me.