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It all started unexpectedly... Pierre went to the doctor for a mild stomach flu and along with other tests the doctor called for a routine blood draw. The blood counts came back abnormally low for an otherwise perfectly healthy man. After many more tests, visits to specialists, and a bone marrow biopsy, my father received the diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia
AML (a rapidly progressing cancer of the blood) and a prognosis of 2 months without treatment.
Fortunately, it was caught early and he is already undergoing treatment. He will soon finish up his first round of chemotherapy and begin his second. He will also need a Bone Marrow Transplant
in the near future. Pierre
is a Navy Veteran and currently employed with the Civil Service at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA. He is the wonderful father of 4 grown children, the grandfather of 10, and a loving husband. He has a quirky sense of humor, an infectious laugh, and a smile for everyone. Pierre loves living in the Pacific Northwest, hiking and exploring the natural beauty of the region. He is an avid gardener and is missing this aspect of spring, having to be away from home at this time.
Pierre has quite a fight ahead of him, but with all of our help he will make it through victorious.
Below I will give you details about the disease, the team, the treatment,
and end with how your donation will help
Acute means that this leukemia can grow quickly if not treated, and could be fatal in a few months. Myeloid refers to the type of cell this leukemia affects.
AML is a cancer that starts in the cells that are supposed to mature into different types of white blood cells. AML starts in the bone marrow and causes the bone marrow to create excessive immature myeloid white blood cells. These cells never mature and have no function. They just take up space needed to manufacture good cells, and can simply crowd out the cells that are needed to fight infections and other important functions. These immature cells can sometimes spread and create problems in other parts of the body including the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, and central nervous system.
As you can imagine, my father has a tough road ahead, but he has never been known to back down from a fight. Besides being a scrapper, he has 3 very important things going for him. He has Heidi and his close family, an excellent medical team, and wonderful supportive friends.
His wife Heidi (my bonus Mom) has taken on the role of dealing with all the logistics involved with hospital stays, insurance, and financial concerns. She takes care of problems before they can snowball and makes my Dads comfort a priority. We are truly blessed to have her. He also has three other grown children in the area who have each stepped up to help in one way or another. He has many close friends who have been able to tie up loose ends and provide lots of support.
His medical team is led by Dr. Eli Estey
at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). Dr. Estey is a world renowned senior physician and at age 74 has more success, experience, and knowledge about curing AML than anyone else in the world. The doctors and nurses who have been helping my dad through this process have been amazing. They are kind, compassionate, and beyond capable. It is comforting to know he is in such good hands.
Pierre is nearing the end of his first treatment cycle, which consists of one week of chemotherapy at University of Washington Medical Center followed by three to four weeks of monitored recovery. This was the first of multiple 7-day treatment cycles of chemotherapy at the UW Medical Center
in Seattle. Treatment consists of continuous 24/7 infusion of very strong chemotherapy drugs through a port that was surgically placed in his chest (the Hickman line
). Following that, since his neutrophil count (a type of white blood cell that are important in fighting off infection) was so low, he developed what is called neutropenic fevers. This resulted in adding three days to his hospital stay. He was discharged from the hospital on his 58th birthday, April 3. They even gave him a special treat that morning, a big bag of caramel - his favorite. In all truth it was actually an IV of platelets, but he's always been a glass half full kind of guy.
His follow-up treatment is being administered by the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
in South Lake Union. He has many appointments each week for blood draws. The blood test results dictate if he needs an appointment for a platelet transfusion or a red blood cell transfusion. His progress will be checked by bone marrow biopsies throughout this process.
In order to be prepared for immediate treatment of sudden-onset neutropenic fevers, he is required to live within 30 minutes of the SCCA and the UW hospital. This means he cannot go home or go to work and must pay for accommodation and other living expenses in Seattle. Unfortunately, these expenses are not covered by insurance and are quickly increasing. He and Heidi are currently living in a hotel in the South Lake Union area of Seattle.
How your Donation will Help:
Your generous donations will help cover the accommodation expenses and other related expenses from being away from home that will incur during Pierre's Leukemia treatment.
It will help ease their financial burden and allow my father to focus on what is vital - crushing this cancer.
Since his discharge from active duty Navy many years ago, Pierre has worked for several contractors supporting PSNS and IMF, including 23 years for Electric Boat Corporation. He came to the Civil Service only about 7 years ago. This being the case, he has not had sufficient time for his leave balance to accrue to a meaningful level. He will be undergoing cancer treatment for the next five to six months and is unable to work during that time. His civil service friends have donated and are still donating leave to him because his leave has run out. We are very grateful to them for this kind gesture.
That is all the news we have for now, but know that Pierre is in good spirits, optimistic, and unafraid. He knows he will be fighting for a while, but he also knows that his family, his medical team, and his friends have his back.
Thank you so much your time, your compassion, and your generosity. Please share this message and help spread the love!