In 2014, I wrote a book called Nine Lives, A Story of Survival and Hope, an autobiographical account that focused on my battle with MDS, a kind of blood cancer (For more information, visit here.) In the process of looking back on my struggles, some “themes” begin to emerge. I saw that my nine lives were as much about reinventing myself as they were about surviving myriad obstacles and beating the odds.
Although 19,000 people are diagnosed with MDS in the United States each year, it continues to be a disease with an identity crisis. Sometimes mistaken for Muscular Dystrophy, Myelodysplastic Syndromes has only relatively recently been classified as a cancer of the bone marrow and blood. Indeed, for years, those diagnosed with MDS were often told they had a “terminal” illness: doctors didn’t always know how to label it, let alone how to cure it, with the exception of a dangerous and often unavailable, bone marrow transplant. Little understood and far more common than people realize, MDS must step out of the closet and into public awareness.