Collaboration between medical teams in Burlington and central Vermont helped Serge treat leukemia close to home.
I love to work. It’s that simple. I get up at 4am every day and hit the ground running. It takes a lot to slow me down, and before I got leukemia I hadn’t been sick in over 22 years. But then I started feeling tired all the time and started getting constant head colds and nose bleeds. I really knew something was wrong when bruises started appearing for no reason.
My family doctor agreed. Something wasn’t right. After he consulted with other doctors I was sent straight to the ER for more blood tests where they discovered internal bleeding and platelet issues. So they sent me to see experts at UVM Medical Center in Burlington and I first heard the word “leukemia.”
That’s when I realized just how amazing the level of care is in this region. Not just the doctors either. The nurses and all the staff were just so knowledgeable about everything and so great at keeping me informed. They gave me all sorts of literature to read while I spent 43 days there in a positive pressure room being treated by 12 teams of doctors. I even had a counselor to talk with.
“I'm grateful for the unexpected yet highly valued connection to my new-found friend and for the inspiration and care that enabled me to rally to this challenge.”
When I found out I had leukemia, it hit me like a ton of bricks. But I’m the kind of guy who likes to shoulder up and get going. So I told doctors, “let’s do this thing and start treatment.” It would take 28 more weeks, so you can imagine how relieved I was to hear I could be treated back home where I live without having to drive so far. And because CVMC is so close, I knew I could always swing by at night if something ever happened. Knowing my wife could stop by the hospital whenever I was there made a huge difference, too.
The staff at CVMC was just amazing. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I felt so reassured because of the collaboration they had with doctors back in Burlington. It was all so coordinated. They were always reporting my progress to them and really had a handle on things. And it wasn’t just the medicine either. They had acupuncture, massage therapy and talked to me about nutrition and other ways to deal with how treatment was affecting my whole body.
Leukemia changed everything for me. It really put things into perspective. But everybody at CVMC helped me deal with it and stay positive. Do I still work hard? You bet. But instead of going 90 miles-per-hour, I keep it around 60 these days.