In 1983, two days before Christmas, a routine flight physical resulted in a diagnosis of hairy cell leukemia.
My doctor explained that the available treatment would kill me before the leukemia did. He estimated a two-year life expectancy. Thankfully, a couple of weeks later, he read an MD Anderson paper in the New England Journal of Medicine describing the remission of seven hairy cell leukemia patients treated with alpha interferon. He showed me the article. I agreed that, if accepted, I would participate in any future study.
On Feb. 29, 1984, I became patient No. 6 in the drug’s second clinical trial. MD Anderson’s multidisciplinary approach impressed me then, and I continue to believe that it’s one of the few places in the world that have the collection of talents required to properly approach the cancer problem. Because of that, here I am. At age 81, I’m blessed to be able to maintain a heavy technical work schedule ― and recently agreed, tentatively, to retire perhaps by 90. Those who know me say they’re not taking bets.
Do you promise? Tell us why you’re committed to Making Cancer History®. Email Promise@mdanderson.org.