Thoughts and Prayers Requested

Discuss anything else athletic or non-athletic related that doesn't belong on the main Tulane athletics forum.
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Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:18 pm

Dave, just saw this thread and wish young Zach all the best in the world. It's wonderful that he has a twin brother who is a perfect bone marrow match and most importantly, has a loving dad like you.

As you know via our pm conversations, my dad died of multiple myeloma in 1994 and my younger brother was diagnosed with it in 2001 IIRC. When diagnosed we immediately went to the MM treatment center in Little Rock which was founded by Sam Walton who, I believe, ultimately died of the disease. I don't recall the head doctor's name there, a German, but he told us it was extremely rare to see the disease in family members so closely related. Topping that off, my mother died of chronic leukemia in 2012. As my brother and I always said, great parents, lousy genes.

Anyway, they treated my brother for a year or two but the condition worsened to the point that a bone marrow transplant was considered. I had a marrow sample extracted there at the treatment center but was not a close enough match to use. They ultimately decided to do a stem cell transplant using his own marrow. Over the course of many months we made regular trips to LR where they extracted and separated his stem cells and froze them for later transplant. When the time arrived for the transplant, they gave him a powerful chemo treatment that basically killed his bone marrow. You can imagine the shape he was in by the time he had the transplant.

I believe he had the transplant in 2003 or 2004 and when we discussed his chances thereafter, they were guarded.......perhaps 5 years they told us.

Well, I'm happy to report my brother is still alive and as healthy as he can be for his age. Miracles do happen Dave.

God speed to young Zach. He'll be in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you as well.

Jonathan: I have nothing now to complain about on any TU coaches.
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Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:40 pm

We went forward with the Bone Marrow Transplant on December 8th. Teddy, Zach's brother, was a hero donor. He didn't complain about the pain, nor did he play it up (he's a bit of a ham) as his mother and me expected. Zach was excited to get the new marrow. We had my daughter and a few friends and family there. Zach insisted on a marrow party, and to mark the party he wanted cake! Unfortunately, a heavy dose of Benadryl 15 minutes before the infusion knocked him out for the party. But Teddy got to press the button on the IV to start the transfer, and 45 minutes later it was in God's hands.

As expected, Zach had a number of chemo/radiation/marrow transfer side affects. The worst was mucusitis, which was so painful that he didn't speak for almost a week. He also had bone and joint pain. The Saturday of Christmas weekend, when a few of my family members from afar visited, was probably the worst. Christmas was tough, but Zach rallied to open a ton of presents before sleeping for about 18 hours. Leaving on the 27th to go back to work for a couple of days in CT was really hard. Coming back on the Friday evening of NYE weekend was a lot better. The mucusitis was clearing. By the end of the weekend he was making white blood cells. Earlier today we got the best news possible: his counts had jumped with white blood cells at 1200 and ANC going from 80 yesterday to 320. All signs that his body and the marrow are, as Teddy would say "making friends."

Zach and Teddy's sister, Lauren, who will graduate later this year from UCF and is almost as big a sports fan as her father, had a great experience at the Peach Bowl. She had given up her entire Christmas vacation to be with her brothers spending 90% of the time in the hospital. Nobody deserved to have that happy experience more than Lauren. Those tickets, which weren't cheap, might be the best Christmas gift I've ever given, and the UCF win was every bit as emotional, if not more, for me than the Liberty Bowl in 1998.

Your continued thoughts and prayers are requested and appreciated. There's a long way to go to get Zach back to full health, but we've hopefully taken a big step.
" For every alum, no matter where they are...I want a football coach that's going to make Saturday something you anticipate and look forward to." --Troy Dannen

Thank you all for your support as my son Zach continues to beat leukemia
Wild Pelican
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Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:53 pm

Sorry to hear about all the suffering he had to endure but glad that things have taken a turn for the better.

Glad your daughter was there to cheer UCF on to the NC.
Find A Way!
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