Beating Leukemia and Building a New Life

The Healing Power of Working for the Greater Good
Feb 12, 2013 2:00 PM ET
Beating Cancer and Helping Others

Beating Cancer and Helping Others

From the blog at Gifts From the Train Station

My friend Rob Meadows grew up on the move, the third of four boys in his family.  During his childhood they lived in a variety of states and even as far as New Zealand, and through it all, his father was always there for him.  As Rob grew and pursued his education as far as a PhD, he knew his father was proud.  Which made it all the harder when Rob faced leukemia and his father was no longer there for him.

In 2008, Rob’s brother was almost killed in a car accident, left in a coma from which he would not recover.  For months his father went, visited, and waited.  Finally, his father gave up.  He made the arrangements for his son’s funeral, went home, went to bed, saying he was tired, and never woke up.  Rob’s father had died in his sleep of a broken heart.

Over the years, Rob got a PhD, and worked in the pharmaceutical industry doing research, investigating new drugs.  Through his work, he met his wife Vicki, and after returning from a vacation in Italy they learned she was pregnant.  It was a big surprise, but a welcome one.  As the months passed, the pregnancy progressed and Rob found himself tired and with a nagging cold, trying a variety of steps to get better but nothing seemed to work.  Finally, after talking with his doctor, Rob was referred for more tests and by November he was referred to an oncologist, which seemed odd to him for a case of the sniffles.  The oncologist immediately told him to get up on the table for a bone marrow biopsy. 

Bone marrow biopsies are not easy.  A large needle is inserted into your bone, and tissue removed for a pathologist to examine.  “I have to say candidly that had I not been married with a baby on the way, I would not have done it,” Rob said.  “I would have walked out.”

But having a baby on the way and a family that needed him changed things.  He got the biopsy and by December 1, his baby daughter was born.  While he was resting with his wife and newborn baby he got a phone call from his doctor. 

His doctor asked him three things:

“Are you at home?”

“Are you with family?”

“Are you sitting down?”

Those are not the kind of questions you want to hear, much less what follows.  His doctor told Rob that he had advanced leukemia, Acute Mylogenous Leukemia, and had about two months to live if something wasn’t done quickly.  Within hours he was on a table being prepped for chemotherapy, isolated from his family, as the treatments and the cancer battled for his body. 

Read more at Read More


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