Mike Westberg was diagnosed with leukemia in 2017. He has endured chemotherapy every three weeks to keep his CMML in check, which can only help until it no longer helps. As a family we were told this from the start: The only option was on-going frequent chemo, which wouldn't work endlessly. The only true cure would be a bone marrow (or stem cell) transplant, which a doctor would have to be convinced is the best route, which isn't that common for 70 year old guys. So, unless a doctor would agree to do a transplant, and only if a marrow match was found, our dad wasn't getting the best news and we were all so sad.
But then. In the spring of 2018 it was discovered that Mike's sister Sandi is a perfect bone marrow match. This was fan-freaking-tastic news, but still Mike's doctor needed to agree to give this risky procedure a try. You see, the recovery road for most people is very difficult and not always worth the risks, especially in the "golden years."
Long story short, Mike's doctor said yes, and we said HALLELUJAH. The doctor said yes because of the rare perfect match in Sandi (there was only a 20% chance of that) which helps a whole lot with the process, and because Mike is in such excellent health for being nearly 70. His doc considers his body's organs and functions to be more of that of a 55 year old. (Thanks, metabolism! Thanks Westberg genes! Other than that cancer stuff, you're pretty great!)
And so the journey has begun. Mike and Sandi's stem cell transplant journey will begin on August 4th, and he will be in Rochester for at least three months. We (Mike and his wife Linda of nearly 50 years, daughters Shelly & Heather (ages unknown) and grandkids, Zachary, Maxwell, Miles, Asher and Elsie) appreciate your thoughts and prayers as we walk the precarious transplant journey together. We are learning to be less in control than we have ever been. We are scared and hopeful at once, and ready to face what may come. We are so grateful for all of our friends and family, and for Sandi especially, as she sacrifices her time and DNA to give life back to the loving, supportive and hilarious husband, son, father, grandpa, friend, cousin, uncle and father-in-law we love so dearly. We feel your thoughts and prayers and appreciate you all so much.