Hi. Jason was recently admitted to the hospital, so we thought it would be helpful to send everyone an update of what's been happening lately…
Jason was diagnosed last week with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML.) Over the past month he had been experiencing more and more fatigue in everyday activities, erratic fevers and shortness of breath. Thinking he may have the flu or just been run down from the stress of work and not eating right, he went to the doctor for a physical on Monday, August 5th. His blood work came back abnormal, so a second round was taken on Tuesday, August 13th. He was referred to a hematologist, then immediately admitted to the hospital on Thursday, August 15th.
AML is a very aggressive form of bone marrow cancer. Once contracted - and without proper treatment - the progression of the disease (and thereby the patient's survival) is sometimes measured in weeks and months. The doctors all feel that Jason was extremely lucky to have caught this within the 1st month. So, his prognosis is very encouraging. After 7 days of chemotherapy, which began on Saturday, he will spend 3 more weeks in the hospital. If all of his tests come back well, he will be declared "in remission" and go home, to continue an out-patient chemo. regiment over the following 5 months.
Jason has a very positive attitude, which will most certainly help him through all of this. He'd like everyone to know that he'll be back in the office (pushing papers around and sharpening pencils), on the links (hacking away) on the soccer field (running his butt off), on the volley/walleyball court (being MVB - the most valuable ball hog) and at home (tormenting me) in just a few months.
We've had already many people asking what they can do to help. So… we came up with a small list. Any of these would be great while Jason's in the hospital and/or when he gets out…
Give us a call. Hospital Room: 412-623-5437 Will occasionally be turned off to let him sleep.
Cell Phone: 412-638-2655
As for visiting, the doctors have said that he'll need to be extremely careful of catching an infection over the next few weeks. So they're going to limit visiting to short periods over the course of the day, as well as the number of people in the room at a time. Please call first to discuss coming over.
Send frequent cards or letters. Jason Tsaggaris, Room # 705 - 7 Main, UPMC Shadyside, 5230 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Get our mail or feed our pets.
Give blood, plasma or platelets. Jason's blood type is B+. He has an account set up with the Central Blood Bank of Pittsburgh. Mention his name, whether you’re his type or not and he'll get hospital credits.
Contribute to Leukemia Walk. Kim and Mero Capo (and their kids) are walking in a leukemia & lymphoma walk on October 2nd. They will have a banner with Jason's name on it - in honor of him. If anyone is interested in making a contribution, please send to: Kim Capo, 290 Celestial Drive, Freedom, PA 15042. And make the check out to: The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. For anyone contributing, they'll need the money ASAP - (by next week.)
He'd love non-hospital food. (Homemade or otherwise. No raw fruit or vegetables, nuts or other non-cooked or pasteurized foods allowed. Jason is now on a strict diet and environmental control - to limit infections.)
Also… He's not a bubble boy or anything, but we need to make sure that certain precautions are taken. This means no fresh flowers or plants in his room. Live plants or fresh food can have pesticides or carry germs. We appreciate the thoughts put into sending them, but they're just going back to my house or remaining at the nurse's station. Balloons are also great, but we have so many now! Maybe it could wait a few weeks. A card or letter would be terrific at this point; we're trying to cover a few of the walls with them. Also, unfortunately, no children. They are great germ carriers, and that's the last thing we need in his room right now…
So, please wish us and our families luck, and send us lots of positive energy. Thanks for being there, and we'll keep you informed as best we can. And if you know someone we may have accidentally forgotten, please let them know.