By Congressman Mark DeSaulnier,
Last summer, I was diagnosed with the most common leukemia in the world, a cancer named Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). I recently completed aggressive chemotherapy. I feel fortunate that I had a positive response to this treatment, and that neither CLL nor the treatment impacted my professional work.
CLL is a chronic disorder many Americans face, which doctors liken to diabetes and hypertension. While CLL cannot currently be completely cured, incredible breakthroughs, medical advancements and cutting edge therapies are allowing it to be managed over a lifetime. As a result of these developments, there are approximately 1.2 million Americans, like myself, living long, full lives with blood cancer.
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.