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Leukemia diagnosis gives man positive new perspective on life

In September of 2009, Eugene Mackie was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

“Essentially what it means is my white blood cells normally should mature and die, but they don’t,” Mackie explains. “This can be harmful to the body.”

Managing a chronic disease

For the last several years, his white blood cells have been in the proper balance, which he attributes to medication and the care he receives from his medical team.

“Working with Dr. [Perry] Ballard and his team has been a real blessing because they have taken an approach that made me feel that they care about me,” Mackie says. “He and his team have included me in that process and discussion, [saying] ‘What do you think?’ instead of, ‘Do this and you don’t need to know why.’”  

Finding well-being at Cancer Wellness

For emotional and mental well-being, Mackie participates in classes, such as mindfulness, at Thomas F. Chapman Family Cancer Wellness at Piedmont.

“[There’s a] camaraderie with other people and knowing that it’s not just me,” he says. “Truthfully, I’m blessed because it could be very, very different. I don’t put myself in the mindset or category that ‘I’m living with cancer,’ but instead, ‘It’s great to be alive.’”

Mackie says his diagnosis has caused him to “shift back to center” and focus on what is truly important to him, like his family and friends.

“Being able to focus on and keep that every day has been a real blessing.”

For more information about Cancer Wellness at Piedmont, click here.

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