January 26, 2004
This letter is to let you all
know how much I appreciate your thoughts, prayers and support.
I know that I will never be able to reach everyone who has
supported me in my battle with cancer, therefore I hope
that you will share this letter with others that you know
who have also given me support.
The Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
that I have was apparently caused by Agent Orange exposures
that I received in Vietnam. CLL is generally known as a
slow progressing cancer that effects older people. Many
with this disease will die from other causes. Research on
the disease, the symptoms and potential treatments has been
limited due to the perceived “normal onset and progression”.
I was diagnosed in August of
2001. Although I have traveled to MD Anderson Cancer Center
in Houston, TX several times in the past two years for tests
and checkups, I received my first treatments there this
month. At this time, I have had two of the four prescribed
infusions of a chemical know as Rituxan. Dr. Michael Keating
describes the chemical as a “monoclonal antibody”
which means that it targets the cancerous cells in my blood
and supposedly leaves the others alone. After two treatments,
my white blood cell count is in the normal range for the
first time in almost 3 years. Dr. Keating claims that my
red blood cells, hemoglobin and lymphocytes will return
to normal about 3 to four weeks after the final infusion.
No one knows how long these good effects will last due to
a lack of experience with this drug and CLL. I had no ill
effects from the infusions. I did feel hot (flushed) during
the actual infusion, but that is all. Dr. Keating did say
that most people tolerate the medication well without any
side effects. My last two infusions will be in Lakewood
(Denver suburb) over the next two weeks. The first infusion
is the most likely to cause problems, so I expect the final
treatments will be well tolerated.
I realize that many of us have
some type of problem in our lives and that I am not alone
when I wonder what my future will be. The fact that many
of you are dealing with serious problems makes me even more
thankful for the time and energy you take to support me.
Believe me that each of you has my total support too.
I thank you again for your
love, prayers and support.
Tomorrow Will Be a Good Day!