Posts Tagged ‘Cancer

What does Dad’s birthday and Leukemia have in common?

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Happy Birthday Dad! (Even though you probably won’t read this ! HA!)




I thought today was a good time as any to talk about Cancer.  I know, I know – Come on Di! Stop being a Dizee Downer! Why are you going to talk about cancer on your dad’s birthday?


Well, because he almost wasn’t here to celebrate another year.  And, sharing his story could just possibly ensure someone else can live to celebrate theirs!


Now, I fully admit I have become neurotic about cancer.  Dad’s diagnosis was really the catalyst for me embarking on this journey to a greener, healthier, simpler lifestyle.


Dad has always been a healthy, athletic sort of guy.  He would even fill in on our co-ed softball games back in the day.   So, when he ended up getting what we believed was a routine sinus infection, we didn’t think much of it.


But, the infection did not seem to go away.  A few weeks passed.   He started sleeping a lot.  Then, there was the reoccurring fever.  Even an antibiotic didn’t kick this cold.  Finally, it was time to admit he had to go to the doctor.


Luckily, he went to his primary doctor who realized dad was overdue for some basic blood work.  (I doubt one of those ‘first medicine” places would have done a complete blood work up).


Imagine our shock when it turned out dad’s “sinus infection” was really Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  Apparently, many times a person’s symptoms are so innocuous, the leukemia goes undiagnosed for a while.  But, it spreads rapidly – it can be fatal within months if left untreated.


Well, let me tell you, there is nothing “cute” about this disease.


Now remember, I am not a doctor (even if I am playing one today on this blog), but basically what happens in Dad’s Leukemia,  was his normal blood cells were getting replaced with a leukemic (blast) cells.  Everyone at one point or another has blast cells in their system- they are really immature blood cells.  However, for the general public, these blast cells convert themselves into normal blood cells.  In a leukemia patient, these blast cells end up replacing your good, functioning cells.


Yup, dad won the leukemia lottery.  Only, there is no million dollar prize (just a million dollar hospital bill)


In the end, dad ended up getting a bone marrow transplant (similar to Robin Roberts – but none of his family members were matches.)  But, that is a story for a different day.


So, what is the moral of this story?  If you have a cold and it isn’t going away – go to the doctor.  Chances are, it really is JUST a cold.  But, it is always better to be safe than sorry.


I hope I didn’t ruin your day or make you rush off to call your physican!


PS – if you or someone you love has AML & you are searching for a ray of hope in this vast internet world of horrible statistics and sad stories – dad is currently doing well.  Email me if you want details – but AML does not mean it is a death sentence, even if it seems that every other page is telling you it is.

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