CANCER… Only July 1st, 2019, Our friend and coworker Andrea and family was rocketed into a new world ruled by “the C-word.” Their oldest Justin had been feeling tired, having headaches, shortness of breath with what should be easy tasks, and unexplainable bruising all over. Andrea (Justin’s mom) encouraged Justin to seek some medical evaluation. Justin went to the clinic that morning and had some labs drawn. When the labs resulted, things got REAL. Andrea was called in an attempt to reach Justin and get Justin to the emergency room ASAP for more evaluation. Justin presented to the ER where blood work showed an elevated white blood cell count, low red blood cell count, and extremely low platelet count. All of these labs are highly suggestive of acute leukemia. Justin was immediately admitted to the oncology unit and began receiving blood products to stabilize the blood counts. Since admission Justin has had: bone and bone marrow biopsies, Philadelphia and genetic mutation screenings, CT scans, lumbar punctures, a portacath placed, and so many drugs–chemotherapy orally, intravenously, and into spinal fluid, high doses of steroids, and a slew of medications to help with the awful side effects of these drugs. At this point, there is still more testing that needs to result for a prognosis but what we do know is that the treatment plan is a long one: intense inpatient treatment for several weeks followed by 2-3 years of up to 4 clinic visits per week for chemotherapy, daily oral chemotherapy at home, and blood draws, bone marrow biopsies, lumbar punctures, CT scans. In addition to that is the very real potential for a stem cell replacement. Justin is handling this diagnosis and treatment well, rolling with the punches and keeping a positive/hopeful outlook.
In the past 3 weeks, Justin has needed more than 25 units of blood and we anticipate more to come.
We have been getting many questions about how to best help Justin and the Mellott family. We plan to use this site to update when and how help is needed.www.caringbridge.org/visit/justinmellott
But in the mean time, please be called to donate blood. Any blood type is helpful to the Portland Area. By supporting Justin and the Mellotts, we can help save even more lives. Make an appointment to donate at your local RED CROSS! 🙂
Thank you , thank you!
* TBA- onsite Blood drive