Shai Gerstner - Acute Myeloid Leukemia Survivor

Shai Gerstner
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Copyright © 1999, Shai Gerstner

The following is a short summary of my cancer story. I decided to tell my story especially as a public service for all of those brave soles that have been diagnosed recently and are desperately searching for information that will give them some hope. Two and a half years ago I was just like them.

If you compare me to other cancer survivors, I guess you will say I am not very typical. Cancer has not changed my life from one side to another. The contrary is true. I was longing for my life prior to cancer and won It back.

Just like many people I was overall very healthy until one fine day in December of 1996. A simple blood test had revealed that my bone marrow cells went a bit "kuku". The diagnosis was AML (M3) or APL. At the time I was managing a large team of engineers in a large software company and found the cancer quite a nuisance for my life at the time. The worst was that apparently I was in a bad shape. Two days after being diagnosed, I was assigned to an isolation room since my WBC was too low and I was defenseless against infections.

Granted, at first I took it bad. I cried a bit. (OK... More than just a bit). However I quickly returned to my senses with a strong conviction to get better. My company sent me a computer and I continued to be in-touch with my team and my work. All and all I reacted well to the treatment and with the exception of a few bad days, I passed the three courses of Chemotherapy although without hair but with strong spirits. I was now in a full remission.

I immediately returned to my job and my life prior to cancer and tried to forget that it had never happened. As a matter of fact four month after my last Chemotherapy course, my wife and me received the biggest gift of all. My wife became pregnant with our second daughter. This pregnancy was a natural one, which is quite rare so close after Chemotherapy.

I am now over two years in remission and besides the periodical preventive visits to the Hematology Oncology Clinic I have completely put the experience behind. If you have been diagnosed, you can too.