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Will's journey began on Dec. 12, 2016. He hadn't been feeling well for about 3 weeks and we just figured it was the flu. On that Monday in December he finally told me that I needed to take him over to Effingham VA Clinic to find out what was going on. The doctor talked to him, drew blood, told us they would contact us the next day with the results and sent us home. Around midnight that night our doorbell rang. Will was already asleep because he was planning on going to work the next morning and I wasn't sure whether to answer it or not, maybe they would just go away, but my curiosity got the best of me and when I opened the front door there stood Brad and Brian from the Vandalia Police Dept. They told me that the Marion VA Hospital had been trying to get a hold of Will and that he needed to get to an emergency room ASAP! I woke Will and let him know what was going on and that he needed to get up because Brian wasn't going to leave until he seen with his own eyes that Will was ok. After they left we called the Marion VA Hospital to find out what was going on. The nurse there explained to us that all of Will's blood counts were extremely low and he needed to get to the ER now! (The only count that I can remember her telling us that night was his white blood count of 1.7) We had no idea what this all meant and the roller coaster ride that it was about to take us on.......
After talking to Marion VA on the phone we went to Fayette County ER. They contacted Marion VA and were told to start a unit of blood and Marion was going to send an ambulance transport from Mt Vernon to come up and transport Will down to the VA hospital. Once at the VA, they started trying to figure out where Will was losing blood. For 3 days various doctors came to see him and it was eventually determined that he wasn't losing blood but more than likely was not producing blood and the hematologist thought it was either MDS (Myelodysplastic Syndrome) or AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) and they wanted to send him to Siteman Cancer Center in St Louis for a bone marrow biopsy to be done. So on December 15th he was transported there by ambulance and spent the next 3 weeks there. That's when we found out that Will had MDS. They ran tests, did scans and started him on his first round of chemo.
March 20th was the day of Will's stem cell transplant. We had been told