It was at the start of the curling season last year that things just didn’t feel right for Dane Roy. The healthy avid athlete and curler in Moose Jaw had his life turn upside down. What started out as feeling ill and a staph infection on his hand turned out to be acute myeloid leukemia.
“I didn’t realize it. It was October that I started feeling crappy. I had a staph infection on my hand and I took regular antibiotics to get rid of the staph infection,” explained Roy.
The 28-year-old who dislikes doctors tried to diagnose himself for almost six months before he was admitted into the hospital for pneumonia. Late April is when his whole life was flipped upside down as he spent another five months in and out of hospitals receiving chemotherapy. He lost his hair, dropped 45 pounds and had to battle for his life.
“I don’t like going to the doctor. So, I made the mistake of self-diagnosing,” he explained. “I got sick in April with pneumonia and it took a long time to get my X-ray results, so my pneumonia came back, and I went into the emergency. That is when they did a quick CBC (Common Blood Count Test) to check my hemoglobin and white blood cells.”
When the doctors got the results from the blood test, they noticed things were strange.
“They saw that my hemoglobin was way down and the white cells were way up...I was sick with pneumonia, so that makes sense with the white blood cells, but the red blood cells didn’t make sense,” Roy explained. “My hemoglobin were about 78 or 79 and normal is about 140-180. So, that gave them the alarm bells right away.”
Despite a low chance of survival the doctors gave him shortly after the diagnosis and staring the dark cloud of cancer in the face, Roy did what he has done his whole life – battle and fight.
“I spent the night in the emergency room and I had some blood given to me the next day. They tested me for lymphoma and leukemia and saw that it was leukemia. The day after that, they did a bone marrow biopsy...it was not very fun. They found what type it was and how bad it was. It wasn’t good.”
Acute Myeloid Leukemia is a cancer of the blood that creates abnormal white blood cells that accumulate in the bone marrow. It is a rare disease that progresses rapidly.
“What happens it that it spreads to your white blood cells. There is a lot of things I don’t know because I chose not to ask a lot of questions,” stated Roy. “It crushes your immune system because your white blood cells are garbage.”
For more on this story, read an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.