In 1998, following a long postponed routine physical, I was informed that I was no longer producing red blood cells. I had falsely attributed an energy loss to stress and long hours. Diagnosed as Myelodysplastic, a blood disorder that was once considered a preleukemic condition, I had to face my mortality. For two years, blood transfusions made possible through donors that gave to the Red Cross were my lifeline. As the success of transfusions in extending my life began to wane I researched my options through doctors, the Internet, and sources like the Cancer Information Service. I quickly learned my only option would be a bone marrow transplant.
I chose the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington for my transplant. Known as the "Hutch" they were the original pioneers in the field and they have developed a super program with a wonderful caring staff. Bone marrow and Stem Cell transplants require a DNA matched donor. I was extremely fortunate to have a sister that was a perfect match. Sibling matches aren't common and the need for unrelated donors is necessary to offer lots of good people a chance at life and I encourage you if able to register with the National Marrow Donor Program.
I received my transplant on December 28th 2000. After four months at the Hutch in Seattle I returned to my home in Durham, NC where I continue to recover. All my post transplant treatments and follow up have been at Duke University's Bone Marrow Transplant Center by another world-class team.
With the help and support of my family, friends and the medical staff at Duke and Fred Hutchinson I have recently been able to return to the job I love.
And this was written 16 years ago and I am still at my job of selling real estate.