Stanford’s Supportive Dermato-Oncology Clinic

I have Chronic lymphomic leukemia. Ten years ago, I was told that I had two-and-a-half
to five years to live. And so I figured, okay, this is it. But, right when I was the darkest, new light
came. They said, “Well, you know, we ¬have this bone marrow transplant at Stanford. ” And so, I had the transplant. And then about
five years ago, I started developing a slight fever, I went from not eating to not doing anything and my wife insisted that I get transferred to Stanford. So, once he was at Stanford, they found out
it was some very obscure virus that just happens to happen with high frequency to people who
have gone through a bone marrow transplant. And the next morning I went to Stanford, and
they said, “He turned a corner. We almost lost him, but he turned the corner.” With all the chemo that I’ve had and radiation…
there are side effects. I had these kind of lesions that developed
all over my arms and on my face, and it was like, “My gosh, what’s going on here?” Then
the doctor said, “Hmm, let me have you go see someone in the dermatology section,” a
new section at Stanford. The motivation behind the supportive dermato-oncology
clinic was that we have wonderful dermatologists all throughout our community here at Stanford.
One of the most critical things about this clinic is that it’s actually in the cancer
center, and we’re there right alongside the oncologist. Having cancer itself can change your skin,
so you’re probably immuno-compromised in some way, so normal skin conditions that would
affect patients who don’t have cancer may be more exacerbated when you do have cancer.
The other thing is, you’re going to have quite a bit of toxicity, on your skin because of
just the nature of chemotherapies. So, they did biopsies, and, finally came back,
mosquito bites. He has a certain type of leukemia that actually
is kind of notorious for causing what we call “exaggerated arthropod bite reaction.” It’s very difficult for a patient to handle
widespread skin eruption and total body itching and pain and discomfort. And so that’s when
we decided we needed to be much more aggressive in our management of it. So then we had him put a bee keeper’s mask
on his face, which he did. He wore long sleeves, put Deet all over his body. His ability and
willingness to work with us and together, I think, is really what helped him. For the last ten years I’ve been fighting
CLL. To worry that something else is gonna come along and take you just like that, it’s
like, that makes you mad. So, having that squashed right from the beginning that same
day was — I went home happy. Everyone that I’ve met at Stanford, everyone
just seems to really care. That’s why I don’t worry, because I know that they’re
handling it. It’s been six months, and things are going
very well. I’m enjoying every single day, and as long as I have my kids and my wife
and family and friends, I couldn’t ask for more.

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