Why I Give
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was very abnormal-looking," Moell says. It could be any number
of things, her doctor told her. The only way she could know for
sure was to be diagnosed at UCLA.
on the morning of December 1, 1982, the Moells drove to Westwood.
The verdict came late that day. "Joe and I were among the last
people still in the waiting room," Moell recalls. "The
two doctors, a woman and a man, called us to the exam room. There
was a look of utter seriousness on their faces yet I could
sense compassion at the same time. I knew right away that they did
not have good news."
one of the doctors said, "We don't know you very well but we
have to tell you you have leukemia."
myelogenous leukemia, to be specific, a cancer that wreaks havoc
in the bone marrow's production of the myeloid blood cells responsible
for fighting infection and repairing damaged tissue. Without skilled
medical treatment, it was an almost certain death sentence.
doctor urged her to return to UCLA rather than put her life into
the hands of local physicians who had little experience with leukemia.
where you have the best chance," he told her, "where you're
going to get the best treatment."
spent nearly six months undergoing intensive treatment at UCLA Medical
Center. A few weeks into her stay, she progressed to remission,
a state in which the cancer, while not necessarily gone, is no longer
reward for being in remission," Moell jokes, "was getting
high dose chemotherapy." She underwent three rounds
of a regimen of powerful drugs that beat back her cancer but also
put her at high risk for life-threatening infections, hemorrhage