Steve and #TeamMagann vs. Acute Myeloid Leukemia

On March 14, 2019 Steve was admitted through the ER to St. Anthony's Hospital for what we thought was a heart attack.  He had symptoms of extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, and felt like he was going to pass out.  Within the first 20 minutes the ER doc came in and said "his heart looks fine, but he needs a blood transfusion.   We are going to need to admit him for a bone marrow biopsy.  It looks like he has leukemia."   By March 26th he was officially a Moffitt Cancer Center patient diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  On April 1st he underwent his first round of chemotherapy followed by a brutal 30 long hospital stay while he recovered and battled miscellaneous challenges including 2 back to back sepsis infections. 

His next step is "Consolidation Chemo" which is scheduled for May 29th.  That's followed by another month long recovery.   We just got the confirmation that his brother, Doug is a 10/10 match and he is willing to graciously donate his stem cells for a Bone Marrow Transplant.   The next couple of  battles will be HUGELY tough ones, but we all believe in Steve.  And, just as important, if not more-so, Steve believes in himself.    #TeamMagann  #EverybodyLovesSteve and #LoveHeals have been our hashtags and mottoes over that last couple of months.

But we need your help too.  Of course neither of us has been able to work much since this whirlwind started.  Realistically Steve won't be able to think about working until, at best, a year post transplant.  The Moffitt requirements of a 24 hour caregiver takes me out of work as well.   Yesterday, I was quite literally crying my eyes out about the very real possibility of  losing our home.  One of the transplant requirements is to find "clean/transplant furnished approved housing" from a very specific list that is less than 5 minutes from Moffitt.    The idea of packing up and storing all of our belongings right away, and then living through the next 4-5 months having no idea if we will ever return, or to where, or how or with what is beyond gut wrenching.   I could hardly breathe.  As if just the horrific medical fears and planning isn't enough to take the rest of the life out of you....  I really hate cancer.  (deep sigh)

And, if that's not awful enough, we heard from Social Security that his disability was approved.   Steve's diagnosis is one of a very few that has an automatic "compassionate" approval, but the kicker is that the first check won't come until mid October.  And, contrary to popular belief, it is not retroactive.  Well, by mid October I should be able to get back to work.  And, while his SSD will be about half of what he used to earn, it will be, at least, a big help in offsetting bills next fall... but somehow we have to get from now until then-try to keep our home here, find one near Moffitt, survive the slooowwww summer season at Chill, pay the fine people who are doing both of our jobs,  and keep the co-payments for medical flowing plus umpteen gillion medications.  It's truly overwhelming, to say the least.

We do have faith that God will continue to guide, direct and bless us through this difficult time.  But, we also realize that God works through people.   Certainly God works through doctors, nurses, social workers, case managers, friends, family and hopefully you as well.   Please consider a monetary donation, of any amount,  as a member of our #TeamMagann effort and commitment. 

Updates on Steve's Leukemia's Battle Progress 
I have used this link to Caring Bridge as somewhat of a diary of our cancer journey.  I update there pretty often.  


Much Love,
Ruthie & Steve

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Ruthie Hill Buxbaum 
Saint Petersburg, FL
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