Comments from the Wife: In Exile

On June 4th, Wil and I and our friends Shawn and Michelle will be running in the Rock-n-Roll Marathon in San Diego as a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation. This will be the second time we have participated in this marathon. The first time we did it was in 2004, because our friend Kris was diagnosed with leukemia and we wanted to do something to help funding for finding a cure. If you didn’t read about this when we did it the first time, here’s a brief summary of what happened.  

In August of 2003, our friend Kris was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. A month later she started chemotherapy at her local hospital. Treatment was unsuccessful, so she was admitted to City Of Hope Hospital in Duarte, California to begin an aggressive treatment of radiation and chemotherapy. The cancer was taking over quickly so her only hope was to harvest her own stem cells and transplant them back to her after treatment. This was a very grueling time for Kris as well as her family and friends as we all felt so helpless to do anything. I wasn’t Kris’ blood type so I couldn’t donate to her. I tried donating platelets three times, but my body decided it didn’t want to let me. Then I heard about the Rock-n-Roll marathon in San Diego for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and knew that was the way to help. A nurse at the hospital told me it costs $25,000 a day for cancer research so I decided that would be our fund-raising goal. I wrote about Kris’ progress on Wil’s site and our own training progress for the marathon. So many people wrote such wonderful words of support and had stories of their own with loved ones battling cancer and making it through, I printed out all these comments and brought them to Kris in the hospital to read. It was very inspirational for her and a great distraction while she spent all those weeks in bed. Kris said her treatment was the hardest thing she had ever done and would never do it again. When it came time to do the marathon, we were so excited because not only did WWdN readers raise $28,420, but Kris was waiting for us at the finish line.

Over the past two years, Wil has mentioned to me on several occasions that people wanted to know how Kris was doing, and if I’d make a post for his blog about her. Today, I can finally tell you. The first year was great. Kris’ bone marrow biopsy came back clean and her health continued to improve. She got her hair back and was able to go on vacation.

In October of last year, Kris went in for a check up. She had been feeling a little tired, but didn’t think anything of it. A biopsy revealed that her leukemia was back. Fortunately, doctors had been searching for a stem-cell donor since Kris first started her treatment in 2003, so they had a match for her. With the progression of the cancer, she needed to start treatment immediately. She went home for a week, and tried to decide if she wanted to go through the treatment again. She finally decided to do it so she could see her son graduate from high school, and Kris spent all of the holidays as well as her birthday in the hospital. I would visit her as often as I could, even if it was just to bring her some lip balm or a crossword puzzle. We would watch TV together and talk about her son’s college plans. Some days were so bad for her I would only be able to write a message on the dry erase board in her room letting her know I had been there. It was so hard to see her like that; I was so worried she wouldn’t make it. She had the maximum amount of radiation with her first transplant, so this time was all chemotherapy which made her really sick. She was worried her transplant wouldn’t work (and so were we) but it did. She fought like crazy, didn’t give up, and came home shortly after her birthday at the beginning of January.

In late January, Kris wasn’t feeling well again. A high fever put her back in the hospital with an infection in her Hickman catheter and bacterial pneumonia. This time, Kris spent 45 more days in the hospital. It was really scary but she’s been home for a couple of weeks now. Last week she got her biopsy results: All clear!

During Kris’ second round of treatment, we were thinking about how she said she would never go through it again. At the end of the marathon in 2004, we said we would never do it again because it was the hardest thing we had ever done. To see Kris’ strength as she goes through all this is amazing. So we decided if she could do it twice, so could we. And this time, we are going to try to get twice as much in donations!

We were overjoyed by the kind words of support for Kris and for all the donations that came in from all over the world. Every single dollar makes a difference, and every single comment and e-mail helped lift Kris’ spirits. Her doctors told us in 2004 that she was a fighter; she told us on several occasions that she was fighting so hard because she didn’t want to let down all the people who were pulling for her. It was incredible to see how many people were willing to be a part of something so great. We have a donation page set up through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We only have a couple of months to reach our donation goal. Please help us reach it as we prepare for the marathon in San Diego on June 4th.

I’ll drop in here from time to time with more Comments from the Wife, to update you all on fundraising and our training progress (We’re way behind. Someone tell my husband to step away from the computer and exercise more!) Wil is going to have some in-person fundraisers in Los Angeles, and at least one charity poker tournament at PokerStars, so watch for that, too.

Thank you so much!!

-Anne

Note from Wil: The original "Comments from the Wife" posts are: 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 4.0.
(Yeah, we just went for an entirely new version after 3.7, because we,
uh, found a new version of the working-it-out software in the CVS and
decided to, uh, recompile the . . . uhm . . . unit. Yeah.)

34 thoughts on “Comments from the Wife: In Exile”

  1. Thanks – this came at the right time. I’ve been pledging money to be given to a cancer research/support organization via a project happening in the Where’s George? community (Operation Doomer °), but I haven’t decided where to send it. So, I made a donation to your fundraising thingy.

  2. What a beautiful and inspirational story – I’m only disappointed that I couldn’t follow it from the start. It is truly wonderful to be reminded how much people’s small efforts can make such a big difference in those lives they choose to touch positively.
    Recently a friend of mine lost someone to cancer, and I might, too. I was thinking about that earlier today, and you have offered me the oppertunity to do something in memory and support of those people. Thank-you.
    As always, this blog never ceases to amaze and inspire me as a reader. =)

  3. You can be sure I will make a donation. My mother-in-law is ill with cancer and may not have much time left. She doesn’t have leukemia or lymphoma, but it’s nasty nonetheless, and any donation I can make to help someone who is going through anything like it is the least I can do. I know Wil and Anne’s efforts will pay off for a lot of people who need it.

  4. I, too, am participating in another of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s fundraisers; their Light the Night Walk at Lake Eola in Orlando, Florida this upcoming September in honor of my father, Ken, who succumbed to his two year battle of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma twenty years ago this year.
    I will certainly donate to this worthy cause; but should anyone else have the opportunity to donate after the June Rock and Roll Marathon…or double spare cash…I hope it’s not too cheeky to post my own fundraising site here, too.
    http://www.active.com/donate/ltnOrland/ltnGlickman

  5. I’ll post the page on my blog and at my myspace page, and try to generate some traffic to the site. As soon as I can, I’ll definitely donate!
    Shauna

  6. Please tell Kris that she is my personal hero, my uncle recently died of colon cancer following a long line of family memembers that have been attacked by this horrible disease. Hearing that someone not only fought it but kicked its ass puts a smile on my face and eases the pain.

  7. Let’s play poker!
    Oh, and Wil, step away from the computer and exercise more would ya?
    Disclaimer: This is in no way a hypocritical statement, no matter what my friends may have told you. They need to get a life and stop bugging me already. Disclaimer over.

  8. Anne, thank you so much for sharing Kris’ story with us. I am completely amazed that even after everything she’s been through, she will be right there along with you and Wil at the finish line again! This is truly a beautiful and inspirational story. Kris sounds like an amazing person, and she definitely is a fighter!
    I will keep her in my thoughts and prayers during the next few months while you’re training for the marathon. Godspeed to all of you!!
    I will also definitely spread the word about your fundraiser and link the donation site to my blog, and I will also make a donation, as well. It probably won’t be a large donation, but as you said, every dollar makes a difference.
    And Wil, if you just happen to be reading this, listen to your Wife and get up off your arse, step away from the computer, and start training. That’s an order, Ensign Crusher. Make it so!!

  9. I’m going to go get HLA typed for the national bone marrow registry tomorrow. Right now I’m a grad student (protein biochemists represent, yo!), so money donations are a little hard to come by, so this is what I can do.
    My lab does basic research on proteins involved with a variety of cancers – I promise that we all work long hours and make every dollar donated to cancer research last as long as possible.
    One of the guys down the hall from me is on a grant from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation. He works his butt off.
    I’ll tell him about Kris.

  10. City of Hope is an amazing place. Not only did all the doctors go to great lengths to save my mom but after our new health ins. dropped my mom (stating that the cancer was a pre-existing condition that she never mentioned…which was total crap) City of Hope continued with her treatment free of charge.
    It’s so great of you guys to share your story. I’ll make my donation Friday (payday) I only wish I was able to run the marathon as well. I’ll spread the word though.
    Now, Wil, step away from the computer and start training. You don’t want to stay in the med tent with another -itis do you?

  11. A close friend of mine was diagnosed last week with cervical cancer. Her doctor says it is very treatable. She has already had one procedure and it is a waiting game now to see if they got it all or not. I have gave earlier when you all first announced you would be doing the marathon again this year and I plan to make another contribution very soon. Good luck to both of you during the training for and the actual running/walking of the marathon.

  12. Thank you for sharing this story. My partner has CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia) and has been going through chemo and radiation for the last year. Watching someone I love go through such a painful process is probably one of the most difficult things I will ever do in my life. I tried to write about it, but it is such a hard thing to express.
    Thank you both so much for your efforts to find a cure!

  13. Sent in my donation. I wish it could have been more.
    *lots of Hugs* for Kris. Anne, you and Wil are awesome for doing this. Wish there were more good folks like you in the world.

  14. I’ll donate regardless, but let’s get that charity poker tournament going. It may not be Katrina-big, but considering you can pull 100+ people for the weekly Tuesday game just by saying “I’d like to see 100+ people there,” I imagine you could get quite the turnout with a legitimate raison d’etre behind it.

  15. Anne- Awesome to hear from you. I have your page up on my blog, and it is really fun talking with Wil on pokerstars.. And I will also definitely donate, and enter the donation tournament.. Just let me know when! You are one amazing person. Keep us informed!

  16. Hi Wil and Anne,
    My aunt beat cancer 3 years ago this month, and I know how hard it is seeing someone you love so much go through something so aweful. That was a very touching story, and my prayers are with Kris Everyday! We need to do all we can to stop this terrible illness once and for all. Kris is very lucky to have friends like you two. They just do not come any better. God Bless you Kris!

  17. I lost all 4 of my grandparents to cancer and my dads friend is battling it now, so helping out in any way to cancer research is great. Keep up the good work.
    Btw, you should be a blogger Anne :P

  18. I would like donate to the cause but I need a place to send a check – sorry I’m not putting a credit card number into the computer (a Wal-mart shopping card number where I can add to the card when I want to but not one where someone could add another things to my card- I have had this done so no more chances for me)
    REally this is a great cause & I would love to help so please a snail mail addy

  19. Anne & Wil – When people we love experience pain and suffering, there is usually a helpless feeling of not knowing what to do. Thank you for providing a wonderful outlet to satisfy the need to be useful. My dad and my cousin both lost their lives to cancer, and I applaud the courage of your friend, Kris. She must be very special. And she is blessed to have such wonderful friends. You are putting out some very positive karma, and I’m sure it will come back to you threefold.
    Color me a contributor! I wish it could be lots more – it’s times like these that it would be very useful to be extremely rich. lol

  20. Been reading since September and felt compelled to finally sign in so I could comment.
    Just had to say thanks to both of you for your work with Team in Training. My wife and I have been involved with TNT since she did her first marathon with them in 2000. My Mom passed from Non-Hodginks Lymhoma in 1996, so TNT is our personal charity of choice.
    We are both currently mentoring folks in the Maryland TNT chapter and we will be completing the Rock and Roll Marathon with TNT in June as well! Good luck on your fundraising, hope you knock it out of the park and get recognized on stage at the Pasta Party.
    Maybe we’ll see you out on the course! Go Team and folks please consider helping Wil and Anne out with there fundraising. It truly does make a difference.
    Eric

  21. Its always good to hear an uplifting story! My dad beat cancer a few years back (prostate) and my mom had a brain tumor removed just last year. I am participating in Relay for Life in May, so I will gladly make a contribution your way, as I know how important fundraising is!!! Take more pics this time around!

  22. For those wanting a snail-mail address for donations, this just came in the “thank you for your donation” email:
    The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
    Greater Los Angeles Chapter
    6033 West Century Blvd.
    Suite 300
    Los Angeles, CA 90045
    Phone: (310) 216-7600
    Wish I could give more…

  23. Wil – I finally put some money into pokerstars.. Please tell us when you will hold the charity poker tournament! I am ready to donate my bux for that :)
    Thanks! Misty- Kyhunny78 (pokerstars)

  24. Anne, it is the kindness of people like yourselves that make it easier for people like ME to get up in the morning and beat this disease. I am now a two-time cancer survivor and I am watching my brother in law have his second fight with leukeamia, and I know that, rather than people’s pity, I prefer they do something positive and constructive to help. Over here (in Australia) I encourage people to not only support research to find a cure, but organisations like CanTeen http://www.canteen.com.au which empowers and supports young people living with cancer. That includes patients, siblings and children of sufferers between 12-24. They give awesome support in both an emotional way but also by providing FUN in their lives, through cool activities. Your marathon effort – literally and otherwise, DOES make a difference and I am sure Kris and others value that.
    All the best!

  25. Anne- Thank you so much for TNT, I’ve been involved with them since 2000- 2 marathons with TNT later I’m going for a century ride with them in Salem OR this year…Kris is lucky to have friends like you…I’ve seen some of the celebs from other events and none were as human as you and Wil thank for sharing your pics. On a side note listening to Wil on his pod casts, I’d swear it was my brother.

  26. I think it is great what you are both doing. I was recently diagnosed with chronic myelegenous leukemia. Luckily in the chronic phase, there is a new drug that helps keep blood counts and chromosome mutations in check for most people. It is only because of people like you that research for things like this is possible.

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