The last couple of days have passed in a haze. To get you up to date, about a month ago, Christopher was sick with what we thought was a cold virus. He started running temperatures, sore throat, coughing and just feeling wiped. He did end up on an antibiotic and started to feel better, but about a week after the antibiotics, his cough persisted and he started feeling very fatigued after a nights sleep, noticed frequent bruises on his arms, pale color, unintentional 20 pound weight loss since September, nosebleeds, fever and night sweats. On Wednesday he went to see his nurse practitioner and she sent him for immediate labs and a chest x-ray at the hospital. She subsequently called him with the results and told him he was going to be admitted to the hospital. In the ER, the physician uttered the word leukemia, lymphoma, infection vs virus. His blood counts were abnormal and all signs were pointing to leukemia. 2 units of blood and 1 unit of platelets and Christopher felt a little better. Dr. Sipahi (hematology/oncology) was consulted and rounded on Thursday morning and told us he believed Christopher to have leukemia.....And so our nightmare began. A bone marrow biopsy and subsequent lab work followed. He believed the leukemia to be AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia), which is when an immature type of white blood cell multiples uncontrollably in the bone marrow. The myeloblasts (immature white blood cell) are unable to develop into mature cells or function properly. Christopher was transferred to Rush University Medical Center on Friday night after it seemed like endless of hours of waiting for a bed to open on the Leukopenic unit. This unit is truly amazing and we have only been here 1 day. The staff are incredible and extremely knowledgeable, everyone from the housekeeper to the doctors have been so warm and personable. It has taken a smidge off our fear of the unknown. He is being seen by a team of oncologists, oncology fellows and residents. At this point, they are running tests after tests as they prepare Christopher for his chemotherapy treatment. The medical team here are analyzing all his blood work and bone marrow biopsy to determine the type of leukemia he has and matching his treatment to the genetics of his leukemia. So at this point we are not 100% sure his leukemia is AML, there are several type of leukemia but AML was the type that Dr. Sipahi at Riverside preliminary diagnosed him with. The doctors here at Rush want to make sure we know exactly the type of leukemia he has. We are hoping to have a plan in order by Monday or Tuesday (the weekend slows things down a bit). At this point , Christopher's labs are stable and he is not having any abnormal bleeding (his platelet counts were very low, which affects his blood clotting ability). He is also neutropenic which means his infection fighting white blood cells are very low, which makes him very vulnerable to infections. He is not able to eat raw food (fruits, raw vegetables) and he is also not able to have flowers or plants on his unit or in his room. I am able to stay overnight with him, which calms my nerves as well as his. He is able to have visitors as long as no one is sick or has been around someone who is sick. There is actually a family lounge on the unit that Max can come visit; so one of my biggest fears of Max not seeing his daddy for at least a month was relieved when we found this out. I will be updating this website as his plan develops and we know more details. We truly appreciate all the thoughts and prayers. We need "our village" more than ever. My concerns at this moment are getting a plan in order, keeping Christopher free from infection and giving Max as much of a normal life/holiday season as he can have at this point. I am not sure if any of us are truly wrapping our heads around this new reality but we know that Christopher is strong and healthy otherwise and he is going to beat this and he is going to beat this with all our love and support.
"It may not be easy, you may not understand it, but faith is trusting God when life doesn't make sense" Joel Osteen
Faith, Hope and Love.
My name is Roxanne, Christopher's sister. I am starting this fund to help raise money to cover the hardship Christopher and his family will be going through. As we are supporting Christopher emotionally, if we could all give a little, I know it will ease his mind through this hard time. As Christopher goes through this challenge in his life, he will fight and stay strong. He WILL defeat this.
Christopher has the support from his loving wife, Jamie, his adorable son, Max, parents, in-laws and family, grandfather, siblings, and many aunts, uncles and cousins. This will be a long, rough journey that will make Christopher stronger in the future.
As you can imagine, we all love Christopher so much. I thank everyone for all the support and prayers throughout this difficult time.