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5 years out of work??? Leukemia Question

edin555
Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2008

To all kind people,

My best friend that I known since high school has just informed me that he was diagnosed with leukemia.

I am naturally shocked and I immediately promised to be there for him financially and emotionally. However he has 3 small children and was very worried that he won't be able to work for a very long time,telling me that he talked to a friend, who has a friend, who was unable to work for full 5 years.

Now I am panicky trying to learn as much as I can about leukemia, but I wasn't able to find anything about the average and the worse case scenarios of the length of time being unable to work. Is the 5 years he heard of about right, assuming he does survive which is the most important thing of course.

I am asking this because I am thinking of starting a collection drive at our work place, and I would like to have as many facts as possible.

Thank you kindly for all of your responses,
Edin

proudmommy
Posts: 7
Joined: Jun 2008

Well Edin I have been dx with chronic mylogenous leukemia for 8 months and doing really well on a pratically new med called gleevec. i went back to work after 6 months. I could have went back to work within 2 weeks but had to get my emotions together with dealing with this. I guess it depends on what kind of leukemia u r dx with. Did your friend do any blood work to find out what kind of leukemia it is? When i 1st was dx symptoms were very worn out tired and also had an enlarged spleen which is a known side effect. Just remember leukemia is not the end of the world, u have to be a fighter. U also can become a member in the chatroom and come in and chat with alot of loving and caring people. Please feel free to comment back. Take care and god bless.

edin555
Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2008

Thanks a lot proudmommy,

I am really glad you are doing better and I thank you for your kind response.

Unfortunately I don't know exactly what type of leukemia he has and nobody was able to contact him since the first time we spoke. I am very worried and am praying for him all the time.

I asked the question about work because he seemed the most concerned about it the last time we spoke, but I know that the information from a friend who knows a friend are not always reliable. That is why I am asking if it is even possible for any type of leukemia to have made him unable to work for such a long time.

Again, I am very new to the cancer and I appreciate all the responses.

tiggertoo's picture
tiggertoo
Posts: 31
Joined: Mar 2003

Keep praying for your friend and send encouraging thoughts! There are several different types of leukemia and the age of the individual can impact a response to the meds as well. If he has an Acute (as in aggressive/fast growing) type, the docs may have to throw "everything but the kitchen sink" at him as I like to call it. 6 years ago, at age 33, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I have been in remission for the past 6 years, however, I am not able to return to work in the foreseeable future. I have a number of what it called "long-term" & some "late-effects" of the chemo and radiation that I received. Not everyone has the reactions to the meds/treatments. For example, one of my chemo drugs caused permanent nerve damage in my feet & hands. The radiation I had on my heart (which had a 7 in tumor wrapped around it at the time of diagnosis) damaged my heart & lungs, so I now fight Asthma & have 2 leaky heart valves. The chemo put me into what I call "instant menopause" -- ie. infertility, osteoporosis, hormone replacement, etc. You get the idea. But I did survive.

So now you want to know how we survive financially -- my hubby is a firefighter, so he doesn't make much! I was able to apply for Social Security disability. I was able to get the paperwork done and could receive $$ 6 months after my treatment/disablity started. If your friend has not applied -- HE NEEDS TO! We also receive $$ for my son -- with 3 kids, he would get a good amount I would think! Between family and friends who generously gave us grocery gift cards, etc, we didn't have to sell a car or our home. For Acute treatment, I had to spend 5 days every 3 weeks as an inpatient in the hospital, to receive the 24 hr chemo, etc. Over a 7 month period, I spent 17 weeks in the hospital -- 8 were chemo weeks -- the rest were all the fun side-effects. I was also the "poster child" for "Anything that can go wrong WILL!" Every three years I have to reapply for SSD benefits, but as I can't lift heavy objects, stand on my feet or sit for long periods (especially consecutively) and I have poor memory (I almost had a stem-cell transplant and had extra radiation on my brain in prep for it) I am not likely to ever return to work. But I have friends who did not have the debilitating side effects and have gone on with life as normal. My most expensive stay in the hospital was a 3 week stay, when I was battling a severe staph infection of the blood which fortunately my insurance paid: $65,000!

For accurate information about diseases and treatments, etc. for blood cancers like Leukemia, go to: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society website: www.lls.org

I do fundraising to support this awesome group who provides: financial aid to pay for meds and milage regardless of your financial situation, support groups, treatment/disease info, etc. They also have a program called "First Connection" which matches up newly diagnosed survivors with another person who has fought the same disease. Usually male-male, similar age, etc, to help enourage those who are in the fight. Online you will be able to see if there is a Chapter in your area -- this time of year the LL Society does a fundraising walk called "Light the Night" which is a fabulous way to see a postive outcome from treatment. The walk is held in the evening and survivors carry illuminated white balloons and supporters (we couldn't do it with out you!) carry illuminated red balloons. Another cancer site that I like is ( I think) :www.thecancer.info
Lots of good resources along with the American Cancer Society.

Hope this is helpful and encourages rather than discourages you and your friend. Leukemia in general is very treatable. Due to research, funded in part by groups like LL Society and ACS, survival rates are up for all ages. God can do miraculous things. All my friends and family got all their friends and family to pray for me. That tumor that was around my heart was gone after that first week of chemo -- stunning my oncologists! (mine even had his men's prayer group praying for me) Go to my page to read my story of all the ways God intervened and saved my life MANY times over during the previous years! Good luck and let me know if I can help!

tiggertoo

edin555
Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2008

Thank you SOOOOOOOO very much Tigertoo,

Your kind post answered many of my questions and I appreciate it greatly.
Currently my friend is very depressed and I have been very busy helping take care of him, but he is fortunately improving now.

Once again,
Thanks a lot,
Edin

proudmommy
Posts: 7
Joined: Jun 2008

Edin Did your friend find out what kind of leukemia it is

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