Andy Wood

Andy Wood

CLL Patient Advocate

Andy, 56 years old, was diagnosed with CLL after a routine physical revealed his blood work was elevated. Andy, who also has multiple sclerosis, was referred to Dr. John Burke at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers. After being in watch-and-wait for several months, Andy begin to experience CLL symptoms, including a rise in white blood cell count and enlarged lymph nodes. Andy first underwent treatment in 2014 with fludarabine (Fludara), cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) and rituximab (Rituxan) [FCR] and was considered in remission. In November 2015, he relapsed, and Dr. Burke suggested enrolling in a clinical trial with ibrutinib (Imbruvica)—in which he may or may not receive the drug.  He decided to enroll because he believed it would help people in the future. According to Andy, “If any one person gets anything out of what I’m talking about…they go and talk to someone else and get benefit moving forward – that’s what it’s about.” Andy, who is currently still enrolled in the trial, experienced side effects early on, such as muscle pain and fatigue. His advice for others?  1. Make sure you’re comfortable with your provider. 2. Let them be the expert. 3. Do your research. If you’re well enough, strong enough and have good support—find out what your options are. Find out what you need to do to help yourself. Andy has been married for 22 years and has three sons, ages 19, 17 and 14. He feels he wouldn’t be where he is today without the support of those around him—including friends, family, neighbors, his church community, co-workers and support group members. 

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Page last updated on May 26, 2017