Monday, August 27, 2012

Mission Monday: Dave

This is the story of my finding out I had an incurable and lethal form of leukemia. It starts in early 2002. I've been lucky, as I've lived ten years with the disease, which is longer than the average longevity for a lot of folks. I never thought I'd live this long! This story starts out with a series of messages I sent to my family regarding my illness, before I even knew what I had. Then it goes through a lot of anguished and fearful messages as I realize what I'm dealing with. You see, my dad died of the same disease after having it for five years. These short messages start in February and go up to about July 2002, when I started my first round of chemotherapy.

When I finally started my first round of chemotherapy in July 2002, I began a journal, at the suggestion of a colleague, which I sent out to concerned friends and family. I included a lot of medical information about the disease and its treatments, my fears about my future and what was going to happen to my wife when I died, plus a lot of personal information that concerns things not generally discussed in public; my depression, references to sexual dysfunctions, side effects, diet and weight problems and, uh, excretory problems (all in good humor of course, without many clinical details). I'm a physician so I'm pretty open with these things. They're what I dealt with in caring for patients for decades, after all. There are many deep, thoughtful passages about death and dying, but there are also a lot of very humorous references about my treatments and my many misadventures (such as the time I accidentally pulled a central line out of my chest while in the shower) that I experienced during my therapy. There's rare bawdy humor, too, but I tried to restrain myself, not being sure exactly who was reading my stuff. You may find some of these things interesting, funny, sad, boring, too clinical, or whatever. It kinda reads like a book, and each "verse" (as I for some reason listed each passage) tends to build on the previous ones. Our daughter convinced me that e-mails were "so last-century" and she encouraged me to start this blog. So here ya go!

It presently consists roughly of five sections starting with the compiled messages to my family from early 2002. The divisions between are roughly as follows:
Prologue-- early 2002 up to about July 2002.
Book One-- The First Chemotherapy Experience, July 22, 2002 until October 2003
Book Two-- Relapse, and The Second Chemotherapy Experience, With Stem Cell Collection, October 2003 to about October 2004 with a few updates thereafter
Book Three-- Starting in February 2008, More Chemotherapy and Some Experimental Stuff, with introductory information in the letters leading up "Book Three."
Book Four--It's Baaack! Starting March 2010.
Book Five--PCI 32765; the Bruton's tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Starting March 2012

I welcome e-mail questions and frequently have addressed them openly in my letters which have been sent out across the US, Germany and Scotland to many concerned friends and family. I can be reached at  I hope to use my blog to keep all you folks who are reading this updated from time to time as I progress into my adventure and experience more and different treatments.

Today's Mission Monday is brought to you by Dr. Dave Eckberg.  He has served as an Honored Hero for our Team In Training team for several years and is very involved in the DFW Metro Marathon team.  You can follow Dave's journey Leukemia on his personal blog here

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