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Little Derek Fights Another Battle

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The CLL Society community has been lucky to have already met my Nova Scotia musical friend, Derek Caine, and even luckier to have heard his band and songwriting about living with CLL including his CLL classic blues tune, Haemo Blues.

In 2003, he knocked back his then newly diagnosed chronic lymphocytic leukemia or CLL for many years using the very best treatment available at the time, the chemo-immunotherapy cocktail, FCR, but the chemo damaged his bone marrow, a well-recognized and nasty late complication.

Now our bluesman is battling MDS (myelodysplastic syndromes), a form of malignant bone marrow failure and a much tougher enemy than the CLL ever was.

Takeaways:

  • Every therapy choice has potential long and short-term consequences. Derek didn’t have any good non-chemo choices when he had to play his hand, but we all do now.
  • It is never too late to start a new vocation.
  • Don’t underestimate the healing power of music.
  • Never give up!

Please enjoy this tough and wonderful story about my friend, Derek Caine.

Stay strong.  We are all in this together.

Brian Koffman MDCM (retired) MS Ed
Co-Founder, Executive VP, and Chief Medical Officer
CLL Society, Inc.