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Overcoming the Olympic-Level Hurdle of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Diagnosis

Overcoming the Olympic-Level Hurdle of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Diagnosis
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Published on March 20, 2020

The Challenge of an Adult Leukemia Diagnosis

With the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan in the news, you probably think of international travel and top-tier athleticism, all in pursuit of the coveted gold medal. Jud Logan, a current acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patient and four-time Olympian, joined his oncologist, Dr. Hetty Carraway and Andrew Schorr to discuss how his previous training prepared him for his challenges after diagnosis.

Is B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Treatable?

The key to Jud’s resilience through this process was his family. One of his daughters, an oncology nurse practitioner, joined her father on the phone for his initial doctor appointments. “When the doctor said I had B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, my daughter said, 'that’s one of the treatable ones, Dad’...she could help translate for me,” Jud recounts in our recent interview.  From there, Jud connected with Dr. Hetty Carraway, an ALL and AML specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. With Dr. Carraway, Jud secured a spot in an on-going clinical trial in the nick of time (the cut-off age for the trial was 60, and he was just shy of that). Beyond navigating medical vocabulary, Jud credited his family, specifically his wife of 34 years, for taking the role of “Communications Manager”, handling well-wishes from Jud’s network of friends and fellow athletes so he could focus on healing.

Finding Support When You Have Cancer

If patients don’t have family close by or available, Jud and Dr. Carraway both encouraged patients to feel comfortable asking questions of their doctors to understand their test results and treatment plans. The day of our interview, Jud received a test update that some of his numbers had not improved from the last test. While this was a first for him in his treatment, another doctor reminded him, “This may not be the norm for you, but it is the norm for us.” Everyone from hospital greeters to doctors can recommend additional people to support cancer patients. “People always think about the medals…” Jud related at the end of our interview, “…they don’t hear about the people pushing you every day to be the best you can be.” With Jud and Dr. Carraway’s advice, your care team will be as competitive as Olympic gold. 

Watch all of Jud Logan's interviews about his Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia journey:


~Aaron Poor

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