CLEVELAND – B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), is a rare form of cancer that strikes only about 6,000 Americans annually.
When Jud Logan, 60, was diagnosed with ALL in 2019, the four-time Olympic athlete, and longtime track and field head coach for Ashland University was undaunted.
“I’m built for this,” said Logan. “If anybody can handle the regimens of chemotherapy and the adherence to a schedule, it’s an athlete. I knew I would do well with the treatment. As I told the doctors, I’m not looking for easy. I’m only looking for possible.”
This mindset and determination were music to the ears of Hetty Carraway, M.D., Logan’s oncologist at Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center.
“Jud has a presence about him; he is truly a leader, a guiding light for everyone around him,” said Dr. Carraway. “Being a physician that cares for a lot of cancer patients, I see him as a very unique individual. I tell him every time I see him that he’s an inspiration.”
Logan is part of a nationwide clinical trial that is testing the efficacy of targeted chemotherapy, in combination with, standard, multi-agent chemotherapy, to eradicate the ALL.
According to Dr. Carraway, the treatment regimen is intense, requiring alternating 3-6 week treatment cycles – some requiring inpatient stays for up to one month and others requiring continuous infusions for 28 days, through a “fanny pack” drip tied to a chest port – as well as other forms of treatment.
“The way I describe it to Jud, and many of my patients with leukemia, is that this is a marathon chemotherapy,” said Dr. Carraway. “Just when you start feeling well, I give you more chemo. You recover from it, and then I hit you again. It requires endurance, willpower and grit –all attributes Jud has honed in on through personal years of preparation for Olympic competitions and his impressive mastery as a coach.”
During the 2019 NCAA indoor and outdoor track and field seasons, Logan’s Ashland University men’s track team won both the Division II indoor national championship, and the Division II outdoor national championship.
Their first championship was won while Logan was back in Cleveland, watching every moment on his tablet, while receiving phase one of his chemotherapy regimen.
When it came time for the Division II outdoor championships in spring of 2019, Logan was able to make the journey to Texas with his team, while battling severe fatigue. He didn’t miss an event over the two-day meet, despite the 95 degree heat, and was able to experience his team’s big win in person.
Today, Logan’s cancer is in remission, and his clinical trial treatments will continue until spring 2020, followed by continued maintenance chemotherapy for another year-and-a-half.
Logan’s advice for others who may be facing a similar ordeal, is to set short term goals and beat them. He also advises people to have a support system in place, and trust in their care providers.
“You don’t have to go on this journey alone,” he said. “Believe in your team. Let them do the job.”