The Cervix of Steel: The Sequel

For those of you old enough to remember Jacqui’s cervix of steel from 3 years ago… it’s back.

Jacqui was progressing and in full labor. She was 4cm and 80% effaced. But at around 10pm things came to a screeching halt. Following a few hours of contractions every 2-3 minutes, Jacqui slowed to contractions every 5-7 minutes.

Someone is incredibly stubborn.

They have given her a small dose of pitosin to see if they can get this train moving again.

More later…


Things are moving along here, and we have graduated from the PETU to Labor & Delivery.

Jacqui started having intense contractions last night at 2:30am that finally graduated to real labor at around 5pm this afternoon.

We are excited and awaiting Baby Grover’s (Sophia’s name for the baby) arrival.

Stay tuned…


Well, friends, it is time to live blog another Rick-Yudell baby.

Jacqui’s contractions are 5-6 minutes apart for about a half hour now, so we are heading over to the hospital.

We’ll keep you posted.



Today is my 42nd birthday.

Well, sort of. I am a leap year baby, so I don’t officially have a birthday this year. Despite the uniqueness of being a ten-year-old 42-year old, I am thrilled to be another year older, to be healthy, and to have a loving family that is going to expand in days or perhaps just hours (no, no labor yet).

It has been an emotional few weeks– the relief of a clean CT scan, memories of my father who’s Yartzeit and birthday were this week, and the passing of Jon Galinson, a friend and fellow traveler on the lymphoma road who tragically lost his battle with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia earlier in the week. I did not know Jon well, but over the last 24 months, Jon and his wife Yael struggled mightily through endless rounds of chemo and a bone marrow transplant. Jon leaves behind his wife and two young daughters. Reading the tributes to him on his CaringPages website, I am sure that Jon’s legacy of love and commitment to his family and friends will live on through all who knew him. He was 40.

We are anxiously awaiting Baby Grover’s arrival (named by Sophia, of course, who has been put in charge of “big lovies” once the baby arrives).

Once we have labor, we will post news here at BaldMike.

Then and Now

What a difference three years makes…

Yesterday I passed an awesome milestone. Although I am just two months shy of my three year “I Conquered Chemo (and chemo kicked my ass)” anniversary, yesterday marked my third annual CT scan. I wanted to get the scan and doctor’s visit out of the way before Jacqui gives birth to our second child in a few weeks (due date March 7–no, we do not know the gender). My three year scan and visit was all clear, and I have been officially downgraded to a twice a year patient. Wow. Wow. What a relief.

There are, to be sure, still hurdles ahead. I am still well aware of the risk of relapse. And the distance between progress and reality is still measured by those who I know who still struggle actively with the disease. But as each year passes and I remain healthy, that risk for me decreases, and the likelihood increases that even if I should relapse, the march of time also marks the march of progress against lymphoma. New studies and clinical trials, now published monthly, are giving so much hope for healthy futures to men and women who have been on my journey or who are scarily just beginning it.

It is still incredible to me to think where I was just a little more than three years ago. Jacqui was then six months pregnant, and with our lives turned upside down, we struggled through me in chemo, and soon a wonderful new baby.

Well, now Sophia, that miracle child, who then came into the world with the news that I had successfully been blasted into complete remission, is three and soon to be a big sister. She is a thriving girl, and every day with her marks for us both a victory over lymphoma, and the reality that every day is a blessing.

Days like yesterday are still tough. I completed my CT scan at 9am, spent 30 minutes in the bathroom passing the colonic big gulp the CT scanned are forced to drink to distinguish their digestive tracts from their other internal organs, had a quick meeting with a student, then wandered the city nervously, waiting for my 4pm appointment back at Penn to find out whether or not I had passed my test and if I would be graduated to another year of “lymphoma-free”-dom. I bought gifts for Jacqui, Sophia, and my doctors and nurses, I sweat a lot, and worried that once again, with a baby on the way, I would again be a patient. The mind can go to terrible places in times like these.

But relief came quickly in the form of an email from my beloved nurse practitioner, Lisa Downs, who at 12:30 emailed me to say “Mike, breath… Your scans look great…” And so I did. I let out an audible sigh of relief that turned several heads in my direction. I did my best not to cry. And started frantically making phone calls to let Jacqui, my mom, sister, in-laws, and other family and friends know that I was OK.

And so it was a good day.

Now it’s baby time.

Bone Marrow Drive for a Friend


A friend in California is in search of a compatible donor to treat and hopefully cure his Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.

Please see below for instructions on how to register for the potentially life saving bone marrow donor registry.

Jon has two young children and a lovely wife.

Please consider trying to help them out by registering for the National Marrow Donor Program.

Thanks and Love.

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, my husband Jon was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) last year. He has been undergoing chemotherapy for the past seven months. Jon’s best hope for a cure is a stem cell transplant, and we are currently in search of a match for him. We are asking all of our friends, family members, friends of friends and everyone in our extended circle (and your extended circles) to register with the Be the Match Registry of the National Marrow Donor Program as soon as possible. The process to join is very simple and involves a medical questionnaire and a cheek swab. You can read more about it at: .

If you are local in the Bay Area, there will be two opportunities to join the registry:

· Sunday, June 7, from 11am – 5pm at our booth at Israel in the Gardens. See for more information.

· Sunday, June 14, from 1:00pm – 6pm at Congregation Netivot Shalom, 1316 University Avenue, Berkeley.

If you live out of town or can’t make it to one of the above events, you can join via our online drive at . When asked to provide a promo code, please type in JonGalinson.

Thank you for considering joining the registry and for helping us spread the word to as many people as possible.

Good News for Mantle Cell Lymphoma Patients and Survivors

I visited my doctor at Penn last week and received another clean bill of health. In just a few weeks I will be officially two years out of chemo and I continue to be in complete remission.

That’s the good news.

Here’s the better news.

When I was diagnosed with lymphoma now almost four years ago (I went untreated for almost two years), the median remission for a patient diagnosed with my subtype of lymphoma was 4-5 years (with few options with recurrence). My lymphoma, MCL, was often referred to as a “poor prognosis lymphoma,” and the internet was filled with scary statistics that left me wondering if I’d reach my mid-40s. And even though my doctor (and others) had told me that the tide had turned with MCL, and that that sea-change was not yet reflected in the medical literature (patients were surviving the disease, they said), it was still horrifying to read some cancer websites which still called my disease incurable.

Well, folks, all that seems to be changing. And quickly.

First, a recently published article in the journal Blood suggests a cure for MCL for patients treated with a very aggressive transplant regimen:

A second study, presented recently at the American Society of Hematology, significantly extends the median failure free survival time for MCL (to 7 years) for patients treated with R-Hyper CVAD (what I had), and is also suggestive of a cure (there is a tail on the survival curve–some patients are almost 10 years out), but only time will tell for that:

Keep up the good work doctors and scientists. This is all great stuff. Thanks!!!