The Lakewood Republican issued a statement to constituents today assuring them that he does not have cancer, contrary to rumors — but that he has been diagnosed with a precursor to leukemia known as MDS, myelodysplastic syndrome.
“If anything I feel better now than I did two or three weeks ago,” Carrell told me by phone. “If you can imagine running on a half charged battery, that’s kind of what I was doing.”
Then he spent several nights at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia and, on Wednesday, learned of his condition. ”My bone marrow is not producing enough red blood cells,” said Carrell, a retired high-school science teacher.
Doctors believe he is at one of two lower levels of the disease, he said; above the fourth and highest level, it would be considered leukemia. They are giving him a drug to try to increase his blood cell count.
Meanwhile, he testified at a hearing today and expects to be back at work Tuesday. ”I expect to be there every day,” he said.
He told constituents:
I want you to be assured that this diagnosis will not affect my ability to fully represent the constituents of the 28thDistrict, nor will it interfere with my ability to chair the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee or participate in other legislative activities at the same level I had been. At no point will any treatment of my condition impair my abilty to represent you.
This will no doubt be a difficult time for my family, but I ask only for your kind thoughts and prayers as Charlotte and I travel down this road together knowing that all is in God’s hands.