Thursday, September 15, 2011

World Lymphoma Awareness Day

Just call me Famous Amos.
I was thrilled to be introduced to a few great people at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society not too long ago.  I was even more excited when they asked me to write a guest post for their blog about Light the Night and what it means to me. 

I described the first connection that came to mind, which was Harry Potter.  If you're intrigued, feel free to visit the (edited) post here:  My LLS guest blog post

While there are chunks of my first draft that had to be edited in the interest of length, you get the gist (plus, if you've been with me since Day 1, you know my story anyway).  

Today was my first visit to an allergist.  Since I have been having these strange reactions (rash, scant itching, worsened shortness of breath, heart racing) to every single pill I take (including but not limited to: zantac, probiotics, vitamin B, ALA, prilosec...), I decided to take matters into my own hands and go right to a specialist.  As it turns out, I cannot have any allergy testing due to my heart condition and use of beta blocker.  However, after undergoing a very high-tech scratch test (the doctor scratched my arm with a broken tongue depressor), my skin revealed what I understand to be an overproduction of histamine.  The medical term is urticaria, also known as hives.  The treatment (for starters) is to take two low dose antihistamines for the next two weeks and then check in with the doc.

Meanwhile, I really am feeling good about the Light the Night walk coming up in October.  I'm a bit wary about returning to life as a working mom in a few weeks, but I think anything worth doing is going to be scary. 

Today being not only my mom's birthday, but also World Lymphoma Awareness Day (in the midst of a big cancer awareness month), I thought I would highlight some famous Lymphoma survivors (aside from myself).  Would you have guessed Mr. T??  Gene Wilder (the original Willy Wonka)?  Mario Lemieux and even Charles Lindbergh were all of the lymphoma variety.  Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) had it and Tracy Nelson (actress granddaughter of Ozzie and Harriet) beat it, too.  Blood Cancers are a bitch.
What dumb cell would want to mess with this?

I bet it was the chocolate river that got him through.

PGH represents.

Lymphoma before R-CHOP
You know, the guy next to Bill Gates.
This looks like a Law & Order episode, but it is from a much older mystery TV series called Father Dowling.
I am so honored to include some phenomenal new members of our Light the Night Team Mama Mia.  The very generous Casey Edwards, Betsy Madway, Julie Bahuriak, Marcy and Gary Garb, Gabe Pardo, Marla Scarola, The Pflegers, The Wanderers, Andy Love, Susan Burkhardt, and Jenny Lynn Keller have all joined the ranks.  I speak the truth when I say this is a group of givers.  I am proud to call them my friends (ok, I'm related to a few also).

Please do not be mistaken.  There is still time for YOU to join the team!  While there have recently been some huge breakthroughs in treatment, there is still so much work to be done.  One problem we were just discussing tonight at dinner is that in order for treatments to gain approval, there need to be patients willing to take risks on experimental medicine through clinical trials.  Often times, these new drugs or regimens are not covered by insurance and so patients are stuck with enormous bills (if the treatment works - if it doesn't, it's their families who must foot the bill).  LLS is one of the great organizations that is involved in both cutting edge research as well as patient support services (matching patients to appropriate clinical trials and even helping secure payment options in some cases).

What can you do?  Click on the link in the upper right corner of this blog to view my team page and give a tax deductible donation.  I promise you will feel good about contributing (no matter how small) to something meaningful.  And obviously, you are welcome to join us down by the art museum for the walk next month.  This year, I'll be the one with the hair.


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