acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
This is the fourth anniversary of Jean-Paul being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). We had just gotten back from San Francisco, and Jean-Paul got scratched by Oskar. We thought we would go to the emergency room to get an antibiotic shot and maybe a tetanus shot and then go to dinner. Instead, we spoke to the doctor, and 1.5 hours later the doctor had already reached Jean-Paul’s oncologist (this is Jean-Paul’s second diagnosis of cancer, the first was testicular cancer in 2016). They set him up to start chemo the next day. We were shocked and did not believe it. The next day I spent 4.5 hours with Jean-Paul’s oncologist making a plan. She told me I would have to go down to half-time work, and Jean-Paul would be in the hospital for a minimum of 28 days, four rounds of chemo all in the hospital. His chance of surviving was less than 10 percent because it was treatment-related AML.
Four years later, five times being told by the doctor that Jean-Paul would not live, 379 days in the hospital, one stem cell transplant, two relapses, GVHD of the eyes, skin, GI tract, liver, and lungs, and one doctor identifying Jean-Paul as a miracle baby, Jean-Paul is still here!
This last bout of hospitalization was in September 2022 for a medication reaction. Jean-Paul lost his independence, struggled with walking and breathing, lost tons of weight, and he once again is fighting. He is strong. He is determined. Dying is not an option. Only thriving is.
Our lives have changed, and they may never be the same. We have learned a lot and appreciate our community.
Written by a family member.