(you will need to click on "More About This Site" or "read more" to get the whole story)
On Wednesday, November 23rd, Stan began to feel like he caught a bad cold. By the next morning (Thanksgiving) the cold had gotten worse but he was still able to enjoy a nice dinner with his family. He decided to see a doctor on Friday November 25th.The doctor felt that he most likely had a cold and suggested that Stan give it a couple more days to see if it got better. By Monday, he was still feeling under the weather so he went back to the doctor.The doctor then thought he had pneumonia and started Stan on some medication. On Tuesday morning he was feeling a bit better but his vision was slightly blurred so he went back to his doctor.They said give it a couple days, and if not better to see an eye doctor. That brings us to Thursday, December 1st, where we would really start to discover what was causing some of his problems.
He was still seeing "floaters" in his eyes, so Stan decided to go to his eye doctor that morning. Upon the optometrist looking at his eyes they noticed some areas of concern so they referred him to a retinal specialist. The retinal specialist said he had some hemorrhages in the back of his eyes that could be indicative of a bigger issue and suggested he go back to his doctor and have some blood work at his primary care clinic. An hour after Stan's blood was drawn he received a call saying his red and white blood cell counts were very low and that he needed to go the ER ASAP.
That Thursday evening he was admitted to Fairview Southdale Hospital. Over the next 48 hours he received three units of blood and had a bone marrow biopsy done. After the bone marrow biopsy we had to wait three days for definitive results. On December 5th, we were told Stan has Acute Myeloid Leukemia. This is better known as AML. This type of leukemia moves through the body quickly. With the speed it moves at, all treatments that are done need to done quickly and aggressively.
Stan will stay in the hospital for the treatment. He began Chemotherapy on December 7th for one week. Once the week is complete the doctors will see how the chemo worked and Stan will stay in the hospital while his body starts to rebuild its immune system. This stay averages 4 weeks, but could be as long as 8 weeks. The expectation of the chemo said by the doctor: remission. Based on a whole bunch of other factors the future needed treatment varies.
What caused this? No idea. Doc says best they can say is that a number of factors likely came together that made him vulnerable.
When did it start? We know his blood was healthy last March when he had his shoulder replacement, and again 2 months ago when he had a physical. Thus, this came on fast.
Is it hereditary? No.
The big question: What's the prognosis? With treatment, it's on the positive side - which gives us great hope. Sue shared with the doc that Stan is in about as healthy of state "wellbeing" as one could be: He has no work stress, is enjoying life each day,walks an average of 100,000 steps each week, is at a healthy weight, doesn't smoke, children are doing great, has a great wife :), a personal faith, a close church family, 5 great caring siblings and spouses, and great friends and neighbors. Sue then asked the doctor what he could tell us for hope. He said: "I cant overstate the positive impact of Stan's good health and young age (just turned 60 on Nov 14th - 60 in this case is considered young). The doc also said he could clearly see a loving and supportive family surrounding him, and that is significant in terms of treatment. (Caroline and Collin were with us, and Katy was on the speaker phone)
Can you visit? Maybe. We ask that you call/text Sue to ask. We need to really be careful to ensure Stan's energy does not get depleted. So we appreciate no "surprise visitors," as you might be turned away. And, as Sue says, "only if you are 100% sure you are 100% healthy". For now, please text Sue to see if he is up for a visit. (952-484-7435)
Flowers? No - needing to do everything possible to reduce germs getting to Stan
Cards? Wonderful - please send to: Stan Stanek (patient), Fairview Southdale Hospital, 8th Floor, Room 825, 6401 France Ave. S., Edina, MN 55435
Email? Yes - Stan has his laptop & cell to receive.
Phone calls? Texts? You can text or call Stan on his cell phone.
What can you do?
PRAY PRAY PRAY. Pray Stan's body responds super well to the chemo and kills all the bad cells. Pray the side effects of chemo (which we are told do vary) are minimal to non-existent. Pray that Stan is filled with the love and light that gives hope, and that he is released from the stress that goes along with this. Prayers of thanksgiving too: for many little "God signs" we've been given already, for being in a position to take this on full out without other stressors, for a living personal faith we have together to equip us as a family, and for "God with skin on" - which is all of our friends and family - we so fortunate to have so many wonderful caring people in our life.
We appreciate everyone's support and prayers as our family navigates this path. The doctors have reminded us that Stan is in great shape and that is a huge plus, but an even bigger factor will be in the support and positive thoughts prayers we send him over this time.