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Since several people wanted to know the history of all this, here it is.

I was first diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in September 2000 during a pre-employment physical exam. My white blood cell count was abnormally high at around 85,000. The normal range is between 4,000 to 10,000. I should clarify…these numbers are per a certain quantity of blood, not total. I’m not sure what the quantity is. At the advice of my doctor at the time, I began chemotherapy a week later. My chemo cycle was three days in a row, then off for about three weeks. Sometimes there would be four to six weeks in between cycles because my white blood cell count was so low that it wasn’t safe to repeat the chemo yet. When a person’s white blood cell count is low, the immune system is compromised and there is a high risk of infection. I finished six cycles of chemo by around April 2001.

During those first several months, family and friends were very concerned and interested in learning a lot about my disease. I, on the other hand, wasn’t as detail-oriented, and didn’t feel a need to learn all I could. When all the questions from everyone came, I became overwhelmed with trying to answer (or not!). The worst part was having to answer the same questions repeatedly but to different people. Finally, I wised up and started sending email updates to a small group of family and friends whenever something happened. At first, it was just doctor visits to check on my status every three months. I would update everyone with how I was doing after every visit. Over the next few years, my email list grew to over 100 people and became difficult to manage. That’s when I thought it would be better to do a website instead of sending out emails. This blog was created in March 2007, and all the old emails have been posted in chronological order. So, when you read something here about an email list, that’s what I’m referring to. Yes, I’m ending that sentence with a preposition. Now, on to the secret behind the name…

When I was at juco, I took an Art History class. Despite my part-time job at a local independent pharmacy, I was, um, frugal. Wow, it sure is easy to do links on this blog thing. But I digress…back to my cheapskate ways. I decided not to buy the book for the class because after the first couple of weeks, it seemed like we didn’t use it much. There was also a copy available at the campus library. Before the tests, we would have a slide show of the various sculptures, architecture, paintings, etc. that the professor covered since the last test, and I took detailed notes on each slide. I was somehow able to borrow the professor’s book to study. My friend Eric quizzed me by showing me the pictures in the book and I had to respond with the piece’s name, date, and culture (Roman, Greek, Egyptian, etc.). One of the most memorable sculptures was the Kritios Boy, for the simple reason that he was missing a leg.
Kritios Boy
Over the next several years, we used the Kritios name in front of just about everything that was missing a major part, including a bird statue missing its head that we found next to a dumpster (don’t ask….long story). That’s right…Kritios Bird! This fine piece of modern art is now on our mantel at home.

How is this relevant? In a strange way, I associate myself with Kritios Boy, because I often feel that I am less than whole because of this disease. Not to get all Freud-like on everyone, but there’s definitely some emotional and spiritual repercussions associated with my physical condition. Most of you know the challenges Jen and I have been through in the past several years, so I’ll just leave it at that for now. Suffice it to say that when Sean V. suggested kritiosboy.com, I thought it very appropriate to insert my name and call it a website. While I was at Stanford last year, I met another Christian patient who was going through the same transplant process, and we had a few discussions about the spiritual side of the process. He said something that I had to add here: Even though I feel that I am less than whole, I am made complete through my salvation in Christ.

So, welcome to my site, and you’re welcome for me not filling your email inboxes any more with my updates! I’ve posted all the old emails, so the newer folks can read the history from the start. Pictures will be up whenever I get around to it.


15 Responses

  1. Well done young man! As usual I always learn more about you with each posting. My prayers are with both you & your beautiful wife. Looking forward to seeing you! Love, Stephanie

  2. Todd,

    This is totally cool. Thanks for including me. You and Jen are definitely in prayers. We gotta get in another kickball game or something before May!

  3. Why didn’t you tell me that I could see naked men on your website?! I will check back frequently! (wink)

  4. I am similar to you… “I’ve read a few sections, but not the whole thing.”

    Now I understand! It’s amazing what happens when you read 😉

  5. Hey hope you guys are getting stronger everyday, don’t give up you know he’s there for you always. miss you jen love etta

  6. Todd and Jen,
    Our prayers are with you! We want you to know how much we love you! If you need anything call.


    Hey guys, Tom here, heard another curve ball has come your way, not to worry. I know God has a pretty good pinch-hitter waiting in the on deck circle! I remember an old black and white movie called “Angel on my shoulder”, that is how I felt as I was lying on the table before my surgery. I kept telling myself to trust in the Lord over and over. I know I had some help driving myself to the hospital while having blockage of 80 and 90%! Stay strong, have faith and trust. If there is anything this old man can do, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m just a short plane ride away. Lots of love and prayers, TOM.

    Hello Todd and Jen, It is so hard to read what you both are going through. I wish I could have seen you both when you were here in Phoenix at Christmas. I have asked myself several times, WHY TODD? But then I realize, because Todd is strong, and God has a plan for you that we may not understand. I know God will take care of you. Recently I have been reading about our individual energy as live beings. I really believe that energy you secrete is then reciprocated with similar energy. So lets all ride the wave of positivity and let God be our guide. Love you both,

  7. Dear Todd and Jen,
    Thank-you for the updates. It helps me to know what to pray for specifically. As a body of believers we are to share in each others joys and pains. And I count it a privilege to lift you both up before our Heavernly Father.
    While reading your newsletter, it got me thinking how uncomfortable it is to be in a place where one is not in control and up against ones personal ‘Red Sea’. And yet it seems that God leads His children right to our Red Sea so that He might display His mighty hand. Or as Corrie ten Boom says in her book, The Hiding Place: ‘Perhaps only when human effort had done its best and failed, would God’s power alone be free to work.’ (a book I HIGHLY recommend) May we keep our eyes upon Jesus and things eternal, knowing there is no limit to what God will do with that one who will dare to believe Him for the answer.
    I will leave you with this beautiful Puritan prayer that has often lifted me Godward:

    O God All-Sufficient,
    My heart is drawn out to thee
    for thy amamzing grace and condescension.
    Thou hast kept my conversion fresh before me,
    that season of my first spiritual comfort
    when I passed through the Red Sea
    by a way I did not expect.
    I rejoiced then for that unthought-of passage,
    that delivered me from the fear of the Egyptian
    when I had almost despaired of life.
    I rejoice now as these things are fresh and lively in my mind.
    My soul melts when I think of thy days of old with me,
    when a poor worthless creature
    without wisdom to direct or strength to help myself
    was laid under the happy necessity
    of living upon thee and finding thy consolations large.
    Thou hast watched over me with more than parental love, more than maternal tenderness.
    Thou art my divine treasury in whom all fullness dwells,
    my life, hope, joy, peace, glory, end;
    May I be daily more and more conformed to thee,
    with the meekness and calmness of the Lamb in my soul,
    and a feeling sense of the felicity of heaven,
    where I long to join angels free from imperfections,
    where in me the image of my adored Saviour
    will be completely restored,
    so that I may be fit for his enjoyments and employments.
    And now with all the saints and company of heaven
    we join in ascribing blessing, honour, glory and
    power to the Lamb upon the throne, for ever and
    ever. Amen
    My love and prayers, Bart

  8. Hey – I am a CLLer too. Living in Boise, Idaho. 37 years old, and living with CCL. I have 2 kids, Ethan 5 and Abbie 3. I am a Mechanical Engineer, Christian and loving life.

    I went through 3 individual treatments of Chemo and Retuxan 2 years ago, with good results. My CBC is back up to 150k per mL, so I have choices to make.

    My wife, Kari May, probably already contacted you. She has been delving into the CCL research, results and the ‘phenomenon’ for months now. She actually knew that I had CCL before we married 8 years ago. She was the reason why, when we were dating, I went back four years after my first tests, at 23 years old, for a definite conclusion. I was diagnosed two days before my 10 year High School Reunion. At that time, Kari and I had been dating for only 2 months, but when I told her Sat night, after my reunion, she didn’t even blink. I knew that we had both been blessed for this reason.

    We’re surviving, and life’s been great. Your story, and blog are great news. Congrats on all of your success and tough fights. Your blogg is great. I will have to start my own soon.

    Thanks for sharing, and keep up the fight. Go long!

    Matt in Boise

  9. Found your site. Your history is interesting and your posts informative. I’m sorry you are going through this, but glad things are working out for you.

    There apparently is a Sacramento connection for you. There is a community of CLL patients in Sacramento who meet every other month (or so) in South Land Park area.

    Continued good luck to you, and I’m sure you are aware of all of the research going on in CLL. Advances in knowledge are being made daily.

  10. Can anybody recomend a good CLL hema/onc MD in the Sacramento Roseville area?

  11. I have just read a few posts on your blog and you seem to be a very positive and genuine guy. I was diagnosed with CLL almost 3 years ago (aged 40) during a routine blood test and i remember the feeling of confusion,fear and anger that i felt for the first few months post diagnosis. Keep writing your great blog, and good luck for the future to you and your family 🙂

  12. I just came across your blog this morning after publishing mine . I hope you’ll find some good things, there.

    – Tom

  13. I was diagnosed with CLL in Nov 2011. My wbc was 52,000 and is now up to 85,000. I go in this Thurs for a consultation of my latest blood work. I feel treatment is in the near future. I, like so many of these replies, feel frustrated, scared – oh so scared – alone and yes, sometimes mad. I am so excited I stumbled upon this blog!! Keep it up and I will be on the journey with you and all others on this sight that have responded.

  14. Thank you for such a supportive website. My best friend was diagnosed a little over a year ago with CLL. She is 70 years old, and her count is holding steady at 84,000. She has absolutely no other symptoms associated with the disease. At present, the doctor is keeping a check on things. She is at stage “0” right now with no actual treatment. Is there anyone else out there with this situation and can comment on it? Needless to say, my friend is petrified, but feels no adverse effects whatsoever. Thanks for any insights.

    • I’m 69 and was diagnosed with CLL 5 years ago. I started with a WBC count of 10,000 and it is now up to 52,000. I have no symptoms so am in stage 0, It is difficult living with CLL and although I’m in stage 0 it is on my mind quite a lot. I take care of my Mom who will be 96 in November, have a loving husband, 5 children, 12 grandchildren and 1 great grandchildren. I only hope that I will stay in stage 0 for a long time, although my doctor thinks I will end up having treatment at some time. I told him I need to outlive my mom for sure and he laughed and said he didn’t think that would be a problem. In the meantime I look for strength from my Savior and try to live life to the max. When fear takes over I ask the Lord to help me and give me peace. I know how lucky I am to have such a great life.

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