Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas

Santa brought me a new pair of trekking poles!

I hope it's OK to wish you all a Merry Christmas after the actual holiday.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!  We're still in the holiday season so I hope you are still celebrating.  I'm 'working' from the cancer center where I am getting an infusion of IVIG, a compound that is either actually immunoglobulin, or something that boosts the same - this is the only part of my new immune system that is not normal (yet).  I came down with another pre-holiday fever on the 21st, and the same antibiotics that punched out my Thanksgiving fever did their thing again - I was fever-free by Christmas eve.

We had a small gathering on the 21st to celebrate my one-year anniversary since the transplant.  I'm in a  very cool place now in my recovery, where the odds of a relapse are going down as I move into my 2nd year.  My re-staging checks will be spaced out to 6 months this year, and I hope my blood checks will also get spaced out, maybe to a month or so.  Unfortunately I've had two fevers within the space of a month, so I'm puzzling over what has caused that...I have had what I call cold symptoms for a long time without fever, so what has changed could be the fact of going to work daily and seeing lots of people, many of whom may have sick the stress of the new job.....anyway I need to stay healthy and figure this out.  I did get good news on my counts when I had labs drawn on Wednesday the 26th....counts were excellent.

Mike (my hiking partner) and I are already getting fired up about our JMT hike - we sat out behind his house last night talking about the trip - he has a fire pit in back, perfect for strategizing and dreaming about the JMT.  We plan to do our 1st training hike this Sunday - 10 miles with about 30 lbs of backpack weight.  Not much more to report.  I am planning my first international business trip which will take me to HongKong, Shenzhen (sister city to HK but over the old border), then Singapore for a few days, then the long trip home.  More soon....Dan

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Day, 2011

Dear Friends, today is a BIG DAY.  One year ago today, I received NEW LIFE in the form of a stem cell transplant - stem cells that were donated by my sister, Laure.

So the big news......that I am announcing that I have committed to hike the full length of the John Muir Trail in August of this year, and hopefully become the first stem cell transplant patient to do so, and the first Richter's survivor to do so.  This is a 212 mile trail, one of the most scenic in the world - it traces the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountains from Yosemite National Park southward through the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Kings Canyon National Park, and Sequoia National Park.  My longtime friend, Mike Nix, has joined me and will be my partner throughout the training and the hike.  I have 4 goals:

•  To raise a significant amount of money for the pursuit of CURES for blood cancers
•  To encourage and inspire blood cancer patients in their fight 
•  To fulfill a lifelong dream to hike the most scenic trail in the world
•  To bring glory to God for what He has done   

With the help of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I have a fund raising blog open now at:         <----------CHECK IT OUT!!

Mike's fundraising page is here:  (under construction)

I have a team of supporters, which I hope will grow - a team member just has to be enthusiastic about raising money to fight leukemia and lymphoma, and be willing to support my fundraising efforts along the way.  Right now my team includes:

Renee Rooker
Mike Nix (hiking and training partner)
Laure Rooker McKenna
Jeff Williams (buddy-for-life)
Harry Rooker (dad)
Tiffany Drummond Armstrong, Executive Director of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of NC

If you want to join the team - just let me know!  I cannot tell you how excited I am about this project.  Help me spread the word!  Dan