Leukemia – Luke S, 2007

I would like to give a brief history of the illness that I suffered from as well as the differences in treatment types that I have undergone over the last five years.

On April 27, 2001, at the age of 19, I was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (“AML”).  Never in a million years would I have thought the “all star” jock and captain of the football team could have Cancer.

I started a regimen of 3 days of chemotherapy followed by 4 days of call boosting shots, then followed by another 3 days of chemotherapy.  I was doing great for the first 2 weeks, but was continually warned by my nurse that it would get ugly soon. Sure enough soon came not long after and things got very ugly.

Over the next three weeks, I lost all of my hair, everything I ate came back up, I lost my appetite, lost 47 pounds, would up in intensive care and was put on a respirator because I couldn’t breathe on my own.  At that point in time, I told my father I was going to just “give up”.  I thought that I was going to die and that I was never going to get any better.

Over the next month, after many tests I had a choice of a year of chemotherapy treatments or bone marrow transplant.  Either option gave me less that 50 percent chance of surviving.  The calculation showed that by year 5, I would only have a 10% chance of still being in remission.

In July, 2002, my body was in such a state of shock and transformation, having catheters running directly into my heart and being used to walking around with and I.V. pole – at that time, I was introduced to a brilliant man with a heart of gold, Barry McNew, who introduced me to his Life Vessel.

I will never forget my first session.  Barry gave me a big hug and showed me into the Life Vessel.  With all needles removed, with no more staring eyes constantly monitoring me, and no more I.V. pole, there was Just Peace!  It was so nice to just lay and sleep in a comfortable enclosure while I heard peaceful nature sounds through the speakers. I woke up to a room with Barry and my parents all focused on me, my first words were “was I sleeping?”

That night, I remember looking up at the moon and telling my parents how beautiful it was. At that moment they knew I was back and excited to be alive again.  I knew after that session the Life Vessel was the treatment for me and I completely forgot about that bone marrow transplant.

Over the next year, I continued to visit my oncologist on a regular basis, each time telling him a little bit about the Life Vessel and the treatment I was now undergoing.  He just continued to tell me, even after seeing great blood test results, that I would still need the bone marrow transplant.  After 14 months of being in remission my oncologist finally said “well I guess you can’t argue with success no matter how you get there.”

I have been a patient of the Life Vessel for five years.  Over the past 3 years my regime changed to treatments every 8 weeks undergoing 2 sessions each visit.

The people that work at the Life Vessel and the treatment itself, has been a very enjoyable experience. It has become more of a mental health and detoxifying treatment for me than anything else.  After my treatments my mind is noticeably clearer and I am able to focus more on my day-to-day life and the joys in it.  The Life Vessel keeps me centered and balanced, I know without it I wouldn’t be in my fifth year of remission, and probably wouldn’t be around to write this letter.