A Message from Marcello:
I would like to begin by thanking all of you for your help and support, during this very difficult time in my life. Your thoughtfulness has helped me put one foot in front of the other, quite literally, during many rough days. It seems too small an acknowledgment to say â€śthank youâ€ť, however, from the bottom of my heart, your contributions and words of encouragement have helped my family through the roughest of patches, and keeping my head above water. To know how many people out there are rooting for me is quite humbling, and I thought it only right to fill you in on my condition, and update you as to whatâ€™s happening in the current state of my illness.
Nearly a near ago, this November 6th, I was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia, an uncommon form of Cancer, most associated with children. I had virtually no time to digest this alarming news, I was just told I had to start treatment immediately, which is why I had difficulty letting people know what was happening; I wasnâ€™t sure myself. The team at Hackensack University Hospital began me on aggressive Chemotherapy and Radiation treatments, to prepare me for a bone marrow transplant. As no match was found in my family, they turned to the world-wide bone marrow registry for a matching donor, which can take a great deal of time. Weeks before I was scheduled for my transplant operation, a match was found. I wonâ€™t know who this person is until years after my recovery.
I received my bone marrow transplant in mid March. Though the procedure itself went smoothly, all that followed has been filled with complications, physically and emotionally. There is a great deal of risk when receiving a transplant, as your body can go through a series of rejections when introduced to the new immune system of your donor. That being said, there is a checklist of complications that can arise as a result, as it so happened, I have had virtually all of them.
This past spring and summer was the roughest summer of my life, to say the least. I have a post-transplant condition called Chronic GVHD (GRAFT-VERSUS-HOST-DISEASE), meaning the bodies way of rejecting the new immune system. This requires debilitating steroids that fight the effects of GVHD, which can have a laundry list of very unpleasant, adverse reactions, all of which I have. At one point, it was so scary, I didnâ€™t know how I would ever get through it. It was a terrible time, but time past, and little by little...by little, I was making progress, and feeling human. By summers end, I was on track, and continuing to make progress, and continue to do so today.
At present, with the help of physical therapy and a lot of determination, Iâ€™m generally feeling better, and getting stronger with each day. However, Iâ€™m still dependent on an abundance of medication, and occasionally continue to battle with my new immune system. Though extremely frustrating, I am determined to beat this, and I have begun new post-transplant options. In order to get past these reactions, get off these debilitating steroids, and move into the final stage of recovery, my doctors have started a new series of treatments for me, called PHOTOPHERESIS. This is a method of treating and cleaning my blood through photo waves - kind of like sending my blood through a photocopy washing device. Itâ€™s unusual, but hey, if it works, then Iâ€™m that much closer to getting back to work and finding a normal state of life!
I want to thank you all again for all of your thoughts, love, concern, and your faith in me. I am doing my best to be strong and get through this one day at a time. Not only for me, but for my daughter and my family. Having your support helps in ways youâ€™ll never know. I hope to be seeing you very, very soon!