Friday, December 5, 2008

Reeling from Shock

Tyler and I have been reeling from shock since we first heard that one of our closest friends was also diagnosed with leukemia this week. Many of you who attended the auction or donated stuff to the auction will remember our friends, Hans and Cynthia, who put so much time and effort in to the auction effort and are responsible for much of its success. Both were part of our wedding party and we consider them some of the finest people we have ever met.

On Wednesday, Hans was diagnosed with leukemia too.

We cry for them because we know how scary the initial diagnosis can be. You don't know ANYTHING really except that you have cancer. Thankfully, Hans was able to get in to see some oncologists on Thursday and now knows that he has also been diagnosed with CML and he will be starting out with Gleevec. As we learned on our journey, leukemia (and specifically chronic myelogenous leukemia or CML) has been one of the biggest breakthrough areas in cancer treatment. Gleevec was approved about 2001 and has allowed many, many people to achieve remission without all of the nasty side effects that you associate with "chemo" and "cancer". We pray that Hans will have more success with Gleevec than Tyler did. I suspect that Tyler had gone too long with the disease in his system before beginning treatment, which is why it ultimately stopped working for him. With luck, Hans will respond and get into remission within the first 6 months and not have to travel the same path we have.

Our minds are puzzled however, that we have 3 men on our soccer team who have dealt with a blood cancer over the last 5 years. The odds of getting a blood cancer are not that high, but to have 3 members of our 12 person soccer team seems astronomical. So, forgive me if I beg, but... please go get a physical (with blood work) this month! My only thought is that there must be something environmental (Tyler's pick is the field turf we all play on) that we have all encountered that caused our cells to reproduce poorly. While I don't want anyone else to be diagnosed with cancer, we all know that early diagnosis of a disease is the best thing you can do to improve your chances of beating that disease. So, go to the doctor at least once per year and get your systems checked out, regardless of whether or not you feel healthy.

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