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Keller 'Fighting For His Life,' Family Says

The former St. Louis Park baseball standout is dealing with the after effects of leukemia.

Though Derrick Keller was announced as last month, the former St. Louis Park baseball standout is still "fighting for his life," his family reports on his CaringBridge page.

Earlier this year, Keller received a bone marrow transplant, which is common for people battling leukemia. However, the procedure leaves patients more suceptible to infection, as the transplant essentially restarts the body's immune system. Last week, it was announced that Keller .

The virus is in the same family as mononucleosis, and can cause fever, swollen glands and a tired feeling. People with a compromised immune system—like Keller—may experience more serious illness involving fever, pneumonia and other symptoms.

On his CaringBridge page, Keller's family asked for continued prayer:

Derrick is in trouble. He is fighting for his life. We had a meeting with the doctors today to go over Derrick's situation. He is not getting better, in fact he is going backward. The CMV virus has gotten bad and the oscillator is not healing his lungs. We were given two choices.

The first choice is keep doing what they are doing and hope the body can heal this in time. This would also do some damage to his lungs. The odds of him surviving this is 30-40% We don't like those odds

The other choice is to take him off the oscillator, and put him on a machine called, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO. This machine will take his blood out, bypassing the lungs, oxcalate it and put it back. This will let his lungs rest with the hope they will heal. They have never done this before at the hospital with a bone marrow transplant patient.

We chose the ECMO right away. Linda told the docs of what Derrick said to us before the transplant. He told us why he wanted to be the first one in the world to get the expanded white cells. He said, "Even if I die, this will help the next group with leukemia." We know this is the choice he would want. There are some dangers in this also. The biggest risk is internal bleeding.

In order to do this they are going to have to put two big stints in Derrick. One for the blood going in, and one for the blood going out. They are doing this at 11:00 or so tomorrow. This is very serious and I beg of you to pray like you never have before...

You can read more about Keller's story .

Tracy Teyssier June 15, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Praying, praying, praying...

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