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More thoughts on this seven-year path - Mark's Journal
More thoughts on this seven-year path
In the spring of 2001, my mother was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. At the time, she didn't need treatment; she was healthy, in what they called "stage zero," and there was nothing specific that immediately needed to be combatted. She might never need treatment, or the disease might progress to a point where she needed to be treated.

Since then, my family has helped raise awareness and funds in several ways, and I'd like to thank all of you who've shared your supportive thoughts and prayers, or made a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or other cancer charities. Donating money to combat illness is often an abstract concept. Even if we know someone with a disease, it's hard to contemplate a donation to a particular organization and imagine, never mind pinpoint, a specific positive outcome.

Well, last year, my mother's white blood cell counts showed that her leukemia had progressed to the point where her doctors felt she needed to begin a course of treatment. She began a course of chemotherapy that wasn't pleasant, but wasn't nearly as debilitating or traumatic has the treatments we know some folks go through.

The treatment my mother has been receiving did not exist when she was diagnosed, just a few years ago. It was developed by a researcher whose work has been significantly funded by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

This morning, before beginning a fourth round of chemotherapy (she'd been told she'd need four to six rounds), my mother was told that the results of last week's blood test showed that she doesn't need further treatment at this time. Her white counts may start to rise again in the future; the tests show she's in blood remission, but not necessarily marrow remission. She may need treatment again down the road. But for now, she's in remission.

We're incredibly lucky and blessed that my mother has mostly enjoyed good health and that her treatment has been so successful. It's remarkable to me that we can look back at the last few years and know that our efforts, our fundraising, our donations have directly helped. Not helped abstract people. Helped my mother. Your dollars and my dollars have made a difference in cancer treatment for real people over the span of just a few years.

As I said this morning, we're celebrating! Meantime, there are too many more people who need such luck, and such blessings. My family members will keep walking and spreading the word. Let's keep helping. Thank you!

5 comments or Leave a comment
triola From: triola Date: August 25th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. How absolutely wonder for your mom and your family. :)

One of our reference substitutes' husband has been diagnosed with leukemia. He's a very pleasant man (I've met him once or twice; awesome sense of humor) and I hope he gets great results like your mom did.

It's humbling to see how much difference people can make, in small ways, that result in large changes.

Give your mom a hug for me, please.
khanadafaye From: khanadafaye Date: August 25th, 2008 10:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad your mother's in remission! That's such good news, and it's so uplifting to know about the progress being made in research and treatment for this type of cancer. I know that some types of cancer become the "popular" poster children and so get a disproportionate amount of funding, so I'm pleased to know that your mother has been helped by these advances. My thoughts are with your family that she continues to improve and remain healthy and have many, many more years to celebrate.
iamjanjan From: iamjanjan Date: August 25th, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
that's heart-warming.
kitchenqueen From: kitchenqueen Date: August 27th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's awesome to hear!

I remember when I was diagnosed with my blood issue that was causing my miscarriages. They told me that 10 years prior to my diagnosis, they would have been able to just shrug their shoulders and say, "We just don't know what's wrong with you" because they didn't know about my problem.

It's an amazing world that we live in.
mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: August 27th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yup! I love the 21st Century.
5 comments or Leave a comment