Saturday, May 17, 2008

One Year Ago Today

A year ago today I was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia. I had never met Dr. Reddy until that afternoon, my Primary Care Physician had made the appointment. Dr. Reddy said to confirm the diagnosis she would need a bone marrow biopsy. I would be admitted to the hospital in three days for three weeks of aggressive chemo therapy. I’d probably live six months, maybe a year. Dr Reddy took the bone marrow from my hip. Anna met me in the doctor’s office and listened to Dr. Reddy lay out the details. Our good friend Janet picked us up and we went home and spent the next 24 hours trying to come to terms with the idea that I was sick and dying.

On the afternoon of the 18th Dr. Reddy called, “Mr. Sumner, I have good news, your leukemia is chronic not acute. I have cancelled your admission to the hospital. We will start a different course of chemo therapy next week.”

The bone marrow biopsy showed I had CLL, a very serious but treatable blood cancer. Thanks to Dr. Reddy and a particular monoclonal antibody called Rituxan, today less than 5% of my blood cells are cancer cells. A year ago 80% of my blood cells were cancer cells.

Anna started this blog a year ago to help keep friends and family informed on my condition and progress. It also served as a learning tool and a sort of therapy for her. This past year was extremely hard on her. She gave up a great deal for me, she put her life on hold to help save mine. Thanks for giving her space and the time she needed.

I don’t intend to ever mention this anniversary again, it’s not a day to celebrate. I don’t celebrate pain and anguish. Since May 18th, 2007 I’ve celebrated each day, one at a time. And each day is better than the one before.

This blog will remain and be updated at least monthly. But if you wonder “How’s Dave doing?”, just tell yourself “He’s doing fine.” Because I am.