The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/17/12 at 02:17 PM ET
Earlier this month, Red Wings alumnus Shawn Burr found a bone marrow match which will help him battle acute myeloid leukemia, but Burr continues to help raise awareness of and promote registration for bone marrow donation banks, and as he prepares for a bone marrow transplant next week, he spoke to DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose about his second battle with leukemia, revealing that he found out about his bone marrow donor just like everyone else did:
“I was actually in the hospital for my treatment and they punched it off the computer and told me,” said Burr, who feels fortunate that a match was found so quickly. “I think the emotion of finding a match is more for the people who have been sitting for years, like those people waiting for a liver transplant, those people who have been sitting for months and years of not having a match. … For me, I hadn’t experienced that rejection for very long.”
Even though a donor has been identified, Burr knows that a long road still lies ahead before he receives a clean bill of health.
“I imagine that I’ll have a couple other setbacks somewhere along the way,” he said. “Nothing goes perfect and I think you kind of prepare that way. But you have to know that there are going to be some bumps along the way.
“I fought it before and thought I had it beat, but then it relapsed and obviously you’re emotional when that happens. But it’s like losing a hockey game; you pout about it for a few minutes then it’s over and, ‘What do I have to do now?’ ”
The process began this week for Burr, who is undergoing baseline tests to prepare for the transplant. Next Wednesday he’ll be admitted to the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, where he’ll begin a four-day chemotherapy regimen meant to wipe out his existing bone marrow.
The transplant will leave Burr without an immune system, which he’ll have to rebuild over three months, he said. He’ll adhere to a strict diet void of fresh fruits and vegetables that – along with any bacteria – can jeopardize his health. Burr will likely remain in the hospital for 2-3 weeks after receiving the harvested marrow. Regular follow-up visits to his doctor’s office several times a week for 2-3 months will be necessary to closely monitor any infections or complications.
“I will be literally like a baby where I don’t have an immune system,” Burr said. “Eventually after a year you have to get revaccinated and everything because you lose everything. I won’t be in a bubble, but isolated.”
Continue reading to learn more about Burr’s desire to expand bone marrow donor registries.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.