Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Big Weekend

This Saturday night is the annual Light the Night Event. I am very excited for this fun event. It will be the first time my daughter, Ava, will be coming. In addition, I will be meeting one of my CML buddies, Wanda, who I have only corresponded with by email.

Despite the economy, people have been extremely generous. We have raised over $7000 and are quickly approaching $8000. Although this is less than we have raised before, it is still a very impressive amount of money to donate. Some people were so generous, they even donated twice (Thanks Blusteins!).

As a reminder of why such an event is so important, two things happened today. Frist, I received my blood tests results from two weeks ago. I remain PCRU or undetectable. That is as good as it can get in CML language. Thank you Gleevec!

In addition, one of my oncologist, Dr. Brian Druker just one a very prestigious award.

Here is the press release from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society:

LLS-funded researcher Brian Druker receives the Lasker~DeBakey Award

Posted by Samantha Mills on Sep 15, 2009 12:24:55 PM

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is proud to congratulate Dr. Brian Druker for receiving the prestigious 2009 Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. Dr. Druker, along with Dr. Nicholas Lydon and Dr. Charles Sawyers, is receiving the award because of their discovery of and successful clinical trials with Gleevec®, a drug that benefits chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) patients.

Dr. Druker received critical funding from LLS in 1995 for his research on the tyrosine kinase inhibitor, STI-571, later named Gleevec, through the Translational Research Program. He discovered that CML cells that had been taken from patients were killed by this inhibitor. In 1998, Dr. Druker was able to test Gleevec in clinical trials and 53 of the 54 patients who participated achieved normal blood counts.

Dr. Druker continued to receive funding, and in 2000 was awarded additional funds through LLS’s Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) program. In 2001, Gleevec was approved by the FDA.

Many CML patients, who once may have considered their diagnosis terminal, are now leading normal and healthy lives because of Dr. Brian Druker’s breakthrough research. LLS is proud to have funded this innovative research, and appreciates the valuable work that Dr. Druker continues to provide to our patients and their families.

Visit the Lasker Foundation website to learn more about the Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medial Research Award, and watch this eight-minute video that highlights the important research of these three doctors.

For more information about this award, you can go to the Lasker Foundation Website. According to an email I received about this, many people who win this award also go on to win the Nobel Prize. Go Dr Druker!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Light the Night Update

I wanted to provide a brief update about where the team stands at this point. As of today, we have raised $3353.00 as a team. There are a few hundred dollars worth of checks that still need to be turned in and counted.

I am hopeful that in the next two weeks, we can increase the donations and walkers on our team and get closer to the goal of raising $12,000.

If you are planning to donate, please do so when you have a chance. If you are planning to walk with the team, please register. You can go to the Light the Night website and register to walk.

Incidentally, I had my 6-month visit to my doctor at Dana-Farber. Since the appointment was scheduled for 9:30, we were lucky enough to hit the rush hour traffic into Boston. It took my wife and I two hours to get there.

This was the first time that things were moving on schedule. In fact, I had to delay my vital signs because my bloodwork had not been taken yet. Once we went into the room, my doctor and another woman came in.

The other woman introduced herself to me and my wife and I assumed she was a physician due to her coat. This was not confirmed, however, until I was able to read her name tag. I am a little more sensitive to these seemingly minor issues because I have been teaching a class at Brown Medical School for 7 years on medical interviewing which incorporates bedside manner. I would have expected an explanation of who this new person was and whether I would give her permission to be in the room. None of this occurred.

My appointment was quick and too the point. Since my bloodwork was not back yet, we had little to discuss. I need to check in a week and a half to get my latest PCR value. When I had this done last time in Oregon, it was undetectable, so my doctor was quite pleased.

Overall, the appointment was good, but I certainly get a very different feel in the waiting room in Boston compared to my experience when I go to Portland, Oregon.

In the meantime, I need to focus on the fundraising and living my life as normally as possible.