Mar 18, 2020 Latest post:
Jun 30, 2020
In October of 2019, John had an episode of fevers, night sweats, low energy, and low blood counts. He was tested for Valley Fever and a variety of illnesses at that time, all tests coming back negative. He even had a bone marrow biopsy that came back normal. His symptoms eventually improved, his blood levels normalized, and it was chalked up as a virus that he worked through on his own. Life went on... he enjoyed golf, pickle ball, and happy hours and felt mostly normal for a few months.
In late January, he was struck by fatigue and an unusual lack of energy. He returned to the Dr. for blood work, only to find his blood levels (RBC, WBC, hemoglobin, neutrophils, and such) were critically low. He was immediately admitted to the hospital where he stayed for four days, having four blood transfusions during that time. Once his blood levels improved, he was discharged with plans for his bloodwork/symptoms to be monitored each week thereafter.
By the end of February, his blood levels were dipping again and the fever was back, so more tests ensued to look for sources of internal bleeding or any other explanation for the low blood counts. He had severe neutropenia, which ultimately required that he be admitted to the hospital. On March 6th, he entered St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson to be placed on IV antibiotics which would protect him from infection while the doctor continued to seek a diagnosis. On March 9th, another bone marrow biopsy was done, and the doctor was confident it would reveal an answer this time.
On March 10th, the diagnosis was revealed.... Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL). Even though we knew he likely had a blood cancer, it was still difficult for us to hear the final diagnosis. On March 11th, he was transferred to the leukemia unit at Banner University Medical Center in Tucson. We were immediately impressed by how quickly the doctors and nurses went to work with additional testing to learn more about his condition. This was followed by several days of waiting for the final biopsy results so the proper course of treatment could be determined.
On March 16th, all the tests came back and the plan is set. John has started chemotherapy (Induction Phase), which will last for 3+weeks. The treatment is intense and is inpatient because his immune system will be very compromised during this time. The goal of this phase of treatment is to get him into remission by killing all the leukemia cells so his bone marrow can do its job to produce normal blood cells. There are additional phases of chemotherapy to follow (Consolidation and Maintenance), but we will take things one step at a time and pray for positive results during this first phase of treatment.
Please say healing prayers for John.... to have the strength, hope, and courage needed to fight this cancer, to be comforted when he is feeling sick, weak or fearful, and to be guided into remission by the doctors and nurses who will care for him over the next several weeks. Please pray for Kathy and family as well.... to give them strength to support John on this cancer journey, to have safe travels to/from the hospital, and to calm their fears and anxieties. Thanks in advance for the love, prayers and well wishes!