Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pay It Forward

I know this blog has taken on the patina of being much more about my Good Doctor's own battle with life-threatening illness, but at this point, it certainly appears that she is going to make it (recovery length be damned).

However, one of our felllow poker bloggah, the delightful LJ, is in a hell of a predicament herself. Or rather, her cousin is.

Her cousin Mitchell has been diagnosed with lymphoma, and has already had his spleen removed. Unfortunately, the chemo treatments have not had the desired effect, and here is where we all can jump in:

After meeting with a team of doctors, it was decided that my greatest chance of survival would be to start a new regiment of Chemotherapy called R-IVAC, followed by what is called a Blood Stem Cell Transplant. This new Chemotherapy is a different group of drugs with a much higher potency aimed at killing any and all remaining cancer cells. Because of the potency of these drugs, I will need to be admitted to the hospital while undergoing treatments. Each treatment will last five days with a two week recovery in between. Soon after my treatments, I will have another scan of my body to determine the success of the R-IVAC. Depending on the results, I will then need one of two types of Blood Stem Cell Transplants.

If after my next scan, there are any residual cancer cells remaining in my body, I will need what is called an Allogeneic Stem Cell Trans plant. This is where I need your help! An Allogeneic Transplant is where we try to find a donor whose DNA typing best matches mine. The hope is that the donor’s stem cells can be transplanted and start to regenerate new white blood cells that are then capable of destroying my cancer cells. Because finding a donor can be a very time consuming process, and I will need a Blood Stem Cell transplant within four weeks after my last scan, I am asking as many people as possible to get tested now to see if they are a potential match for me. This is possibly the only chance at survival I may have and here is what you can do to help:

First you need to call Lab Corp at 1-800-533-1037 and ask to speak to Sharon, Tanya, or David. Please tell them that you would like to be tested as a potential donor match for Mitchell Brown (Date of Birth: 1-5-1977). You will also need to let them know I am part of the Hackensack University Medical Center Friends and Family Account, so they know where to send the results. They may ask you a few questions and will then send you an easy to use testing kit. The kit will arrive with instructions and will require you to swab the inside of your cheek. It will also ask you some medical questions, which will help identify you as an eligible donor. You will need to follow the directions and mail the kit back to Lab Corp ASAP. When filling out the paperwork, please be sure to give Lab Corp permission to fax your results directly to: CarolAnne Carini, Transplant Coordinator at Hackensack University Medical Center. Her direct fax # is: 201-996-5691. Please understand that there is a cost associated with the kit that is typically not covered by your insurance. Lab Corp will bill you a charge of $150.00 after they receive your kit back in the mail.

After Lab Corp receives your kit and processes your information, they will then forward the results directly to my team of doctors at Hackensack University Medical Center (with your consent). Lab Corp will NOT disseminate your information to anyone else such as a national registry.

More information can be found on Mitchell's blog.

Sometimes, even when your own family is facing crisis, events hit home that illustrate that even when you do have it bad, there's always someone else facing at least a big, or bigger, hill to climb. Good luck, Mitchell.

1 comment:

lj said...

thank you. wishing you and j the best.