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May 4, 2018
SEVEN YEARS POST TRANSPLANT! This CaringBridge Site has been set up for family, friends, & co-workers of Rob's. His Acute Leukemia could not be put into remission with Chemo. A Stem Cell transplant was the only option. His brother, Curt, matched. Curt donated to Rob the Gift of Life on May 4th,2011. Join Team Zeis for the Journey from Transplant to Renewal.
Rob and I began this Cancer Journey (why does everyone refer to this as a Journey???I feel like it is a roller coaster!!) in February 2011.
After feeling tired at Christmas time and sleeping the entire last week of December, it was time for a visit to the local ER. He was immediately admitted to the Hospital with an oxygen level of 77 out of 100. Many tests and specialists, later it was determined he must have been exposed to something that impacted his lungs. He was diagnosed with Interstitial Lung Disease of undetermined origin. Rob was sent home with oxygen and a bottle of steroids and a follow-up appt. with the Lung doc.
By Thursday January 27 he looked strange. His coloring was different and his energy was diminished. He called the Lung doctor and was told to have a blood draw in the morning. By noon on Friday the 28th he was re-admitted to the hospital with extremely low blood counts. An oncologist was called in. Blood tests and specialists filled the next few days. The oncologist kept saying "this just does not feel like Leukemia to me". Like WHAT?? We were soothed by her assurance that the blood was not showing typical counts for malignancy. A Bone Marrow Biopsy was done and we were sent home to wait the results. On Feb. 7th, a week later, we walked out of the Oncologist office with the news. Acute Leukemia with an Inversion 16. Good news about the Inversion she said. It meant this was treatable. The biopsy had also revealed some distinct and strange results. She had contacted a specialist in Denver to consult. We shared the news with our friends and family and we waited some more to hear from the "Denver Blood Cancer Doctor " By Wednesday we were on the phone to the Denver office pleading the case for the Doctor to see Rob. We finally received a phone call back that the "Denver Blood Cancer doctor" had his pathologist look at Rob's results and yes he would treat him. If we could be in Denver the next morning, Rob would be admitted to the hospital and chemo would begin.
On Friday Feb.11 we got up at 5 am and drove to Denver. Rob was admitted to Presbyterian/St. Luke's Hospital and so began the Journey. We met Dr. Mark Brunvand and heard the news. He had a very challenging and nasty component to his Leukemia. Rob underwent 7 days of very high levels of chemo followed by 14 days of recovery in the hospital. I stayed with him 24 hours a day.
It was after the chemo and the new Bone Marrow biopsy we learned his Acute Leukemia could not be put into remission with Chemo. He must have a Transplant. We were told he had a 10% chance of survival of 12 months without it.
With the arms of family & friends wrapped firmly around us, filled with HOPE, we move into this new phase.