Jeff’s Story

Site created on August 20, 2006


Updated on April 16, 2019

So here we go again........
   As some of you may know and a lot of you may not I was diagnosed again with Leukemia (AML) last August, almost 12 years to the day that I was originally diagnosed with AML. We were totally blown away as we thought that we were in the clear especially after 12 years of being Cancer free. After a routine blood test on my yearly check-up with my Oncologist they discovered some abnormalities in my blood levels. Over the coming weeks they continued to monitor my blood levels and after a bone marrow biopsy they determined at the time that I had Leukemia. They immediately scheduled an admission date where I would be undergoing chemotherapy treatments in the hospital to get me in remission, however a week later they changed their minds due to the fact my blood levels remained steady. Your bone marrow helps produce your white and red blood cells, so when you are diagnosed with Leukemia your marrow can't produce those cells they way they should so your blood levels drop down low. Mine remained slightly below normal. The Doctor's decided the best course of action was to wait before they started treatment. They were also baffled by what was going on because of not only the way my levels were behaving but also because this was happening 12 years after I had beat this the first time. We were being told that they hadn't seen anything like this, that this was pretty rare. So we waited, weekly then bi-weekly blood tests with a handful of bone marrow biopsy's thrown in.
   The good news was I wasn't admitted to the hospital while they were figuring out what was going on. I was able to be at home and live my life, as best I could with this hanging over our heads. I was able to work, see the kids. be home for the holidays, spend time with Sandy, continue playing hockey and even play in a handful of Bruins Alumni Games (7 to be exact!). Finally in February my counts started to drop especially some of the critical ones they watch. We did another bone marrow biopsy and the results showed 10-15% blasts (or cancer cells). You are deemed to have Leukemia (AML) when the blasts are 20% or greater. based on this info and how my blood levels have been for the past 6 months they were finally able to determine that what I have is something called Myelodysplatic Syndrome which is also known as preleukemia. Typically this would become full blown Leukemia within 3 years however mine is a more advanced case so because of that I was told I would need a bone marrow transplant within the next few months.
     Last Thursday I had a port surgically implanted in my chest which will make it easier to draw my blood and to administer the chemotherapy treatments. The treatments will be outpatient (which is great because I'll be home every night) so I will have 5 straight days of chemo then I'll go in the hospital once or twice a week for 3 weeks or so to have my blood levels checked. We'll go through two to three rounds of this to get me in remission then I'll be admitted into the hospital around the end of June or so for 4-5 weeks to undergo a transplant. It all begins tomorrow with my first chemo treatment. The good news is I have the same Doctor who treated me 12 years ago and a lot of the same team is in place so although we have a long road ahead we know we're in good hands.

So here we go again...........

Newest Update

Journal entry by Jeff Dumart

So once again I've gone way too long between posts. Now that we are through the Holidays I figured I should let everyone know how things are going. I hope everyone had a great Holiday season and a Happy New Year! We did as we had everyone home (including Allie from DC) for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was great just being together and spending time after everything we have all been through over the past year. 
     As for me I've been feeling great! The only issue I've had is a little Graft vs. Host (GVH) that's been going on for the past month or so. It's a slight rash on my back and chest that they noticed when I was in on one of my checkups before Thanksgiving. GVH is when your donor cells attack your
body/host cells. In it's mild form GVH can fight remaining cancer cells which is a positive benefit. Nonetheless, it needs to be managed so  they have not been able to wean me off of my immune suppressing drugs yet. I just need to continue to be careful who I'm around as I'm extremely susceptible to catching anything I come in contact with which can be tough at this time of year but so far so good! 
      I've also started back to work, at first several days a week, now full time. It's nice to be able to get my life back to normal or as normal as it can be. I've also been able to get in to several Bruins games with Sandy and the kids. I also have a milestone this week as this Friday I'm scheduled to have my port surgically removed from my chest. It's been in since April and it will be great to finally get it out after nine months! 
      Here's hoping that everyone has a healthy and prosperous New Year, we're certainly hoping for that!
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