5/3/2013 The Plight of Sam (sorry this one is out of order)

Update from the Family

"Update: May 3, 2013.

On Wednesday, Sam's CBC showed abnormal cells and they have been confirmed to be leukemia again. Fortunately, we caught it early and it hasn't spread to his spine. Sam is receiving chemo at UVA now, and at the end of 30 days, he will hopefully be in remission again. Once he's in remission, he will receive a bone marrow transplant (either from a family donor or via stem cell from donated cord blood).

At the transplant center (probably Duke), he'll receive a special sort of chemo for a few days that will entirely kill off all his bone marrow, to the point that it won't ever grow again. It is very likely that he will also receive total body irradiation. When he's ready, he'll get the new bone marrow through transfusion, and then we wait. Hopefully, the new bone marrow will set up shop and begin working. This will take anywhere between 1-3 months. When he's well enough, he'll be released to a special apartment close by for monitoring until day 90 or 100 and then be released back for care at UVA. He won't need any more chemo after that.

The entire process - chemo at UVA, transfer, transplant and recovery - will likely take about 5 months.

This comes as a real shock to us, as he had responded to treatment so well and so quickly. His doctors told us they too never pictured Sam as having a relapse.

Sam's doctors are optimistic for him, since, as one said, "he has a positive attitude and though he's quiet and reserved, he is definitely a fighter."

So keep us in your prayers, please. We know how to do chemo but we are unfamiliar with handling all that a transplant requires. We don't know at this point how much I (Abbey) will be able to work during this time either, or where Joe and Claire will be, or how much back and forth to Duke we'll be doing. Your love and support are tremendously precious to us."

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The Plight of Sam

Updates from the family on Sam's fight with leukemia Read More