From Captain Bruce:

To all of you who sent prayers, good wishes, and positive energy to me throughout my recent illness, I really have no words to truly express the depth of my gratitude. It’s quite humbling for me to hear of the number of you who were pulling for me, and I firmly believe that it was not just the doctors, but all of you who got me through this. Thank you.

In case you were wondering, and to clear any confusion, I was diagnosed in April with Meylo Displastic Syndrome (MDS). This is a form of blood and bone marrow cancer, somewhat similar to leukemia. In a very, very small percentage of people who have had cancer in the past (mine was nearly five years ago), and were treated with chemotherapy and radiation, MDS can develop. You may have heard most recently that the host of Good Morning America on ABC TV was recently diagnosed with the same disease.  The strain that I have developed is causing my bone marrow to create mis-shaped and useless components of my blood. Also in my case, it is affecting ALL components of my blood, including my white blood cells – these are the ones that fight infection. The pneumonia that I developed probably would not have even caused most of you to cough. With me, I had no way to fight it.
I was hospitalized for five weeks beating the pneumonia.  As some of you may have read on Steve’s blog, there for a few days it was touch and go.  I am home now (Yay!!) and am slowly recovering the use of the muscles that weakened while I was unconscious. Day by day I’m getting stronger and am ready to face the next part of my challenge. I have already begun chemotherapy for the MDS. It will likely be an 8-month regiment, one week each month for eight months. I’m also hoping to find a bone marrow match in the bone marrow donation bank. This is really the only true cure for my condition.
I would like to make the following observation:  For those of you who have had cancer in the past, it might not be a bad idea to have your oncologist check for the markers for this disease. In some cases (not mine) you are able to donate your own bone marrow before starting treatment, and you’ll have a much higher probability of being successfully treated. There are risks, so I’m not saying you SHOULD do this, just that it might not be a bad idea to bring it up with your doctor.
Again – let me thank you for helping me through these past several weeks. Please keep sending those prayers, good wishes, and positive energy. It WILL help to get me through the next part, I’m sure.
Bruce Payette
If you are interested in becoming a bone marrow donor, here is a good web site to get you started:
I am too old, have too many joint issues and several other disqualifiers.  But YOU may be able to save someone’s life.
Capt. Steve Willis
Professional Scuba Bum™
Aboard S/V Escape

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