Saturday, May 7, 2016

U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier Shares that he has CLL (chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia)

Good for him.

The rookie Democratic Congressman Mark DeSaulnier who represents the Bay area of Walnut Creek and Richmond (very near where my oldest daughter and oldest two granddaughters live) announced yesterday that he has been diagnosed, treated and is a deep remission with his CLL.

Let's read his own words from the press release on his official website:

"Before sharing my diagnosis, I had much to consider personally and professionally. My doctors assured me that people with CLL, myself included, could continue to work and function at a high level. The medical professionals were right; I have been able to go home every weekend, except one, logging over 170,000 miles flown, held 14 town halls, had meetings with thousands of constituents, and maintained a 99.1% voting average in my first session of Congress.

By publicly sharing my story, I hope to add my voice to the growing number of people fighting cancer and the other chronic conditions so many families confront. I look forward to continuing to serve the people of our district, and do so stronger and with a better understanding having faced this experience."

I couldn't agree more. 

Being a Congressman is a very public job. Lots of potential "germ" risks from all the handshaking and community meals and more. He is on a plane even more than I am. And what a demanding schedule!

And still he and his doctors say it's all OK.

Here is a link to the LA Times story.

Diagnosed last July, his CLL already required therapy and he has done well with his cancer knocked way back.

Compare this to the secrecy of jazz and funk great George Duke or actress Jill Clayborn where the diagnosis was only revealed to the public after their deaths. Readers of this blog and members of the CLL Society support groups have shared many strong opinions and had poignant and heartfelt discussions on the subject of whether "to tell or not to tellhere and in our live group meetings.

I respect and fully support my friends who choose to stay quiet for a myriad of good reasons, but I must admit I am thrilled when a public figure shares his diagnosis in the hopes of helping others.

Many of us have seen our world grow bigger and our purpose become clearer after sharing our diagnosis. Our welcome video in the bottom right corner of our home page reminds me of this constantly.

Thank you Congressman DeSaulnier for your brave and helpful disclosure. I wish you  a long and healthy life.

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