August 9th, 2009 No comments
I make no secret about how cancer has touched my life. My wife Traci was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, caught at stage 4 just over 6 years ago. The softball sized tumor has settled neatly near her lungs, and was making it difficult to breathe.
The early detection of the cancer allowed for her doctors to treat the tumor aggressively. The attacked it with chemo that placed her within inches of death, obliterating her immune system, and making her susceptible to practically everything. But she survived. The tumor shrunk to virtually nothing, and a bone marrow transplant removed all the cancer in her bone marrow, to where she now lives cancer free. This happened about 6 1/2 years ago.
The bone marrow transplant did not go without complication. There was not a perfect match for Traci, they were able to get as close as possible. But cause it wasn’t a prefect match, she continues to struggle today with a condition called Graph vs. Host disease. In Traci’s case, her skin never really accepted the new bone marrow from her donor, and even today, her body fights this new marrow by attacking her own skin. It has caused a loss of elasticity of her skin, resulting in loss of motor function in her right arm at the elbow joint, and both of her legs at the knee and ankle. This has rendered her incapable of walking.
Traci’s case of GVH is even more severe as her body continues to attack her skin to such a degree that the skin tears, and opens up. In her legs, her top skin has been wounded so deeply, that most of the skin below her knees was removed, leaving behind an open wound. These wounds on her legs are dressed by her physicians, and changed weekly under conscious sedation, and are the main source of her pain. It is a constant reminder of the cancer that once was.
We do still hold onto the hope that healing will take place, and that the worst of it is all behind us. Over the last year, while it has been a consistent battle, there have been improvements and things to rejoice over. Traci’s body has showed the ability to regenerate new skin over her sores, which means that her body isn’t damaged beyond repair by the GVH. But the healing process is painfully slow, and we don’t know when it will be complete. But we hope it will, and we hope for it soon.
Much of Traci’s existence today can be attributed to the early detection of her disease. Cancer is different for everyone, and every case of cancer has a different tale to tell. Ours is one of victory. I am so blessed to have Traci be a part of my life. To have her beside me is a great honor. She has a spirit of life and appreciation for all the little things that exudes happiness and joy that is unparalleled. It’s infectious.
Mixing my passion for poker and my detest for Cancer, the members of our homegame (Team7Deuce) have partnered with the Prevent Cancer Foundation, and taken the 1% Pledge to Put a Bad Beat on Cancer (http://www.preventcancer.org/). This charity works diligently in the early detection of cancer, and preventing cancer from becoming a life threatening disease.
I am proud to have worked with the Twitter Poker Tour in putting together the TPT Charity for BBoC, in which fellow poker players can play poker together and raise money for this great charity. The tournament is today, August 9th at 6:15 EST/3:15 PST, and will be held on Full Tilt Poker. The buy in is only $10 with half of the proceeds going to put a Bad Beat on Cancer. The tournament ID# is 99488653 and the password is TPTFORBBOC. Professional Poker Players Andy Bloch, Rafe Furst, and a freind of Pablosplace; Lee Childs have all joined the tournament. You can test your poker skills by playing against some of the best poker players in the game, and in doing so, give money back to this great charity.
On behalf of my family, my friends, and everyone whose life is touched by this brutal disease, I want to thank you in advance for participating in this tournament, and helping us fight cancer. Through your charity, I hope that others might be able to experience the joy of life that winning the battle against cancer can bring.
Categories: Blog Post