Lee First

First post: Feb 15, 2020 Latest post: Nov 22, 2020

Dear Friends,
I so much appreciate ALL OF YOU, especially those who volunteered to be my caregivers during my bone marrow transplant procedure, which was delayed due to the Covid Virus.  Just yesterday – I learned that I will be admitted to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance to begin the transplant on July 14.

Some background:  After a long history of a blood disorder, in November 2019 I was diagnosed with secondary Myelofibrosis.  Myelofibrosis, or bone marrow cancer, is the name for a group of diseases in which the marrow is no longer able to produce healthy blood cells.  The transplant is the only cure for my disease, and without it, the disease will very likely progress to acute leukemia, which is much more difficult and complicated to treat. 

My new schedule is as follows:  starting on July 14, I will undergo a daily series of tests to make sure that I’m healthy enough to proceed with the transplant, and I’ll have several conferences with mySCCA care team.  Near the end of July, I’ll begin a rigorous treatment of chemotherapy and radiation to prepare for the transplant, and then I’ll receive the donor stem cells (from a young man in Germany).  For this stage of the treatment, between late July to mid-August, I’ll be in the hospital at SCCA or Fred Hutch.  If all goes well, I’ll be able to leave the hospital around August 10th to live in an apartment near the hospital called the Pete Gross House.  Once the hospital stay is over and I’m living in the apartment I’ll have daily appointments with my care team.  During this period, I’ll be dealing with a variety of side effects. 

Before the Covid19, I asked you, my friends, to volunteer for a week to be my caregivers.  And I was so heartened when so many of you signed up!  As you know, I am required to have a caregiver for the entire time once the hospital stay is complete.  But now, with the Covid, it is more dangerous to me and to you to have a rotating team of caregivers.  I’ve elected to pay two caregivers for three months to lower the health risk.   Because the cost of caregivers is not covered by my insurance, several of my dear Bellingham friends suggested that I begin a fundraising campaign to cover the cost of care-giving.  A link to the fundraising site is here: https://gf.me/u/x77js6 I am so lucky to have a team of people helping me!  I call them my Care Team!  And I am so fortunate to be supported by all of you.  I feel good and am ready to confront this challenge, which is the only way to gain a cure for my disease.  Please let me know if you have any questions. 


Lee First and Lee’s Care Team

Lee can be reached at leefrider7@gmail.com (mailto:leefrider7@gmail.com)

Caring Bridge Editors: Judy Calhoun;  jpcalstark@centurylink.net; (mailto:jpcalstark@centurylink.net)Kathy Creahan ;  kathy.creahan@comcast.net (mailto:jpcalstark@centurylink.net)

Gofundme Organizers:

Blanche Byee; blanche.bybee@gmail.com; (mailto:blanche.bybee@gmail.com) Leslie Glen; bhamscot@gmail.com (mailto:bhamscot@gmail.com)


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