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Friday, October 26, 2007

The Great Petersauras




Peter Togasaki Update

Donate to Peter at paypal@wrenchscience.com

You may or may not be aware of our close friend, master bike builder and MotoGP gossiper, Peter Togasaki’s debilitating medical ordeal, but perhaps you should be. He probably built your bike, a solid build that has withstood years of abuse. Diagnosed with AML Leukemia this summer, his chemotherapy treatments, as painful as they are, have not been successful. His most recent biopsy has confirmed his cancer has spread to his bloodstream.

Peter has now been transferred to Stanford University Medical Center, for his bone marrow transplant. I am asking you to join us in rallying behind Peter. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers. Make a donation to the Peter’saurus fund. Write him a note. Let him know you got his back. He needs it now, more then ever. This may be his last chance for survival, even if he will not acknowledge it.

We have never had a mechanical error under Peter’s scrutiny. His frame check, prep, set up and tuning have been flawless, infallible, beyond reproach and incapable of error. We have never even had a complaint or any other negative feedback about Peter’s work. If you have enjoyed the quality of your bike build, let Peter know how much you appreciate his skilled labor of love. We have never asked for labor charges when you buy a complete bike from Wrench Science. Let’s reward Peter, as the build quality of your bike continues to reward yourself.

What I find most amazing is the strength of Peter’s spirit. Brimming with skeptically curious confidence (reinforced by successful experience and awareness,) an engineering mentality and a comical sense of humor, Peter pours his soul into the quality of his bike builds. The quality of Peter’s work is synonymous with the Wrench Science reputation and a reflection of the quality inherent in the products we offer. Peter’s tireless work ethic is evidenced in the fact that he was working seven days a week, supporting himself through school, a difficult task in and of itself. His sister will be the marrow donor, as she is a perfect match.

While we carry on our daily operations, in a business as usual manner, the reality is everything but. We look forward to Peter’s full recovery and having him back at Wrench Science, building bikes. We have taken up Kenny Roberts’ MotoGP Team KR offer to print and feature Peter’s name on their MotoGP bike for the final round in Valencia. We ask you to carry Peter with you in your thoughts, prayers. Thank you for taking the time to read this appeal. Feel free to make a contribution at paypal@wrenchscience.com Our first round of donations solicited less then half of our goal. If you have not yet made a donation I ask you to do so now, regardless of the amount. If you have already donated, I ask that you make a second donation, as many of us have already. You can not put a price on life.

The following are excerpts from Peter, through his ordeal, in his own words.



From September 23rd 2007:

“Hi all,

Sorry for taking so long to give an update, but it's been a few rough weeks.

I was released from the hospital a couple weeks ago despite the fact that my blood count hadn't improved. So I was released with no immune system, which left my family with a huge burden of keeping me infection free. Not an easy task in the hospital and an even harder one at home. But unfortunately nothing has improved yet.

Turns out I had developed a dependency on the pain med they were giving me in the hospital and was going through withdrawal. Something no one told us and even after a trip to the ER, didn't figure out. Now I'm being weaned off the med slowly to avoid the withdrawal symptoms.

Unfortunately because I'm out of the hospital it is harder to monitor any complications, so I'm limiting the visitors until the infection risk is lower.

One kind of negative thing is my latest blood test not only revealed no improvement in my immune system, but leukemia cells as well. This could mean the first chemo round didn't put my cancer in remission and the cancer is still chugging away. The other option is that the lab is mistaken. The very medicine that I'm prescribed to produce white blood cells (it's a shot in my belly) can also look like leukemia. I've been getting those shots for a month now so it wouldn't be surprising if my system was flooded with the mistaken cells. More tests are being done and everyone is hoping that it is the second option. If that isn't the case and I still have cancer it means I'll go into the hospital for more and different treatments.

I miss you all and wish I could see you while I'm out.........stupid immune system.”


From August 23rd, 2007:

“True to character, I underestimated how hard this process was going to be. Luckily my friends and family have bailed me out and really helped me through it. Granted I haven't been through much in my life so I may not have the best perspective, but this definitely is the hardest thing I've ever done. I get a wide range of emotions day to day which aren't worth going into but it's a mix of good and bad. The side effects are pretty bad. The chemo I'm given is a pretty clean one I think, so I can't imagine what a more aggressive treatment must be like. The biggest side effect is just an overall feeling of crap. I can't really describe it, but something is just generally wrong and my body lets me know it. I immediately started to feel very drained and weak within the second day of treatment. Pretty quickly random pain starts. It's hard to pinpoint, but it seems to be all over the body, although not necessarily at the same time. Chemo attacks any rapid developing cells so your hair, intestine, mouth and stomach fall victim pretty quickly. My hair hasn't fallen out yet, apparently if you have dark hair and are Asian your hair sticks around for a while. I wish it would fall out cause right now it's just annoying and dirty. My stomach and intestines were the first major side effects I felt. A lot of pain and cramping. The nausea the meds and chemo gives is terrible. I don't want to or can't eat anything when the nausea is around, plus they don't seem to have meds that deal with it completely. My gums deteriorated and eating is difficult.

After that first week the chemo was done. YAY!!! I was left with f-ed up gums, lots of weird pain, a constant headache, nausea, no immune system but also no leukemia cells in my blood and no bone pain. The second week was just spent putting out fires. My immune system left me vulnerable to the most common bacteria, and I got an infection from some bacteria in my stomach. More nausea and a fever with some flu like symptoms was the plan for most of last week. They gave me a lot of different meds to deal with that pain and help me eat. They also started iv fluids to keep me hydrated and a broad band anti-biotic to protect me from further infection. The anti-biotic seems to be handling any infections and now we are just monitoring my blood counts and waiting for them to recover. My red blood cells dropped a bit low and they gave me a transfusion which went off without a hitch. The next transfusion was some platelets, the little guys that stop the bleeding when you get a cut. That one did not go well. I had an allergic reaction which resulted in head to toe hives that looked like TB test blisters. It wasn't painful but it was very uncomfortable and I was kinda twitching and thrashing about in bed. The staff reacted pretty quickly and gave me a couple doses of IV Benedryl and finally a IV steroid to get the reaction under control. A couple of hours later it was all gone. Luckily my friends Matt and Robyn were there with me through the transfusion, otherwise it would have been really scary. I also called my friend Rob and asked Alekist to come over to make sure the doctors did the right thing since platelet reactions aren't too common.

I guess that's it. The days run together in here so I'm missing a lot of details but I can't remember them right now. Hopefully my blood counts will recover quickly and I can get out of here. The record from start of chemo to release is 21 days so I'm aiming for that. The doctors said at least another week, probably two. We'll see. Once I get out I get a short break, a week to a month, to recover and then I go in for another round of chemo. Sucks!! I don't want to do this anymore but I don't have a choice. During the breaks between chemo I have to try and rebuild as much strength as I can to help get through the treatments in the hospital. I'm so weak! Have trouble opening water bottles weak!”

From August 7th, 2007:

“Hello friends and family,

I wish I could call all of you or talk to you in person but time doesn't really allow it. As some of you may be aware I've been having some weird medical issues for the last year or so, with more drastic problems coming in the last couple of months. After a bone marrow biopsy, they diagnosed me with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). Sucks! Good news is that they caught it early, it hasn't entered my blood stream and some other things make me a great candidate for beating it. I'm being admitted today to start my treatments. I'll have up to three rounds of chemo. Each round is a week of chemo and then three to six weeks of recovery time after that. All that time will be spent in the hospital so I have a very boring boring boring time ahead of me. My immune system will be blasted after the chemo so I don't know what the visitor situation will be like, but if I'm allowed visitors I would love them..................don't feel obligated to visit...........I know I don't like going to hospitals. I may have my phone available to me and I'm sure I'll have limited email access. I guess that's about it. I feel fine, I'm glad I didn't pay for a haircut before this, and I love you all. Except for you! You know who you are!”


3 comments:

pedalpup69 said...

I just made a donation to the Peter fund. I encourage all of you to do the same.

Mark Fulwider said...

Hey Peter,
You built my Colnago President in April of 06. Three month later I was diagnosed with cancer in my neck. It's been a much longer hall than i thought it would be, as i am sure you are experiencing as well. Hang in there. How profound all this becomes, only you and others like us understand. What a blessing. No regrets, no worries, just the fantastic experience of life in a very fast lane. A fast bike ride indeed. Who would trade that day away. Not you, not I. God bless you Peter and you sister. These days will past, the sun will shine. Breathe deep my friend, breathe deep.
all my very best Peter,
Mark

Scott said...

Merry Christmas, Peter. Best wishes for the New Year.