We Interrupt #DistrictDuals With #RealTalk

EDITOR’S NOTE: We have had guest bylines before. None have ever had their text unedited or supplemented. Until tonight. Please read. And donate to our wrestling family member. Thanks, Shannon.


By JOE STETZER, Englewood HS (Jacksonville) Head Coach:

So I have Leukemia…

So this is going to be a fairly long post:

On december 23rd I recieved a phone call from the hospital telling me that some things were off with my routine bloodwork that I get each year with my physical. My platlets were extremely low (for you medical people out there it was 7 when it should be 150 or higher). My white blood count was high as well. The end of the conversation was that I needed to come straight to the Emergency Room. We got the call at 7:40 in the morning. By 8 we were at the Emergency room. Labs were taken and by 10 am I was diagnosed with Leukemia, (more specficially Acute promyelocytic Leukemia (APL)). By 2 pm I was getting a bone marrow biopsy, and by 6 pm we knew that I was going to be staying in the hospital for awhile.

On Christmas Day 2019 the official diagnosis of APL was set and we found out the game plan. 36 days of induction chemotherapy in the hospital. Everything was such a whirlwind. I talked to my immediate family and things started to spread from there but I just was not up to going in depth about it all yet. Luckily I have been blessed with a great close knit support system. The first several days had close friends and family taking care of our dogs coming into town and helping with anything we needed as we wrapped our head around the news.

The New Year came with even more news. Because I will be undergoing outpatient chemo after the induction period for up to 6-8 months my schedule will be messed up and my immune system will not be as strong as usual. This is going to prevent me from returning to work this school year.

Although the upcoming months have a lot of changes coming and so much has already changed I have to say I am greatful for quite a bit. First, APL is a form of leukemia that the doctors have called “treatable and curable”. Second, my amazing wife Shaunna is the absolutely incredible. Shes the best person I know. She has been by my side being my anchor the whole time. Third, my family and friends that have known to this point continue to be such an amazing support system as more news and information comes in. Between meals and visits I cant help but feel the love.

I probably won’t post all the time about whats happening but if anything comes up I will keep everyone posted. As of right now we are in a good routine and I have tolerated the medicine pretty well. I am trying to live by the doctor’s motto of “Be boring”. If I can be boring things should go smooth.

If you have questions please reach out to me and I’d be happy to talk about it.

Thank you all for reading I’ve attached the GoFundMe page for anyone that may want to or is able to help with the future medical bills. Thank you so much for any support and if you can’t help financial thank you for your prayers and support.


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