Music rings through every chapter of Scott Butler’s life story.
He performed in a youth choir and later played trombone in high school. During college, he sang lead vocals in a rock band. And for more than a decade, he’s run a successful local DJ business.
But the music suddenly went silent for Butler on Feb. 21, 2010.
That’s the day he drove himself to Scripps Clinic Rancho Bernardo with severe flu-like symptoms. When results from a routine blood analysis came back, Butler was rushed by ambulance to Scripps Green Hospital for more tests.
The diagnosis was acute myeloid leukemia, a fast-growing and potentially fatal form of blood cancer.
Butler was shocked by the news. But he felt confident receiving care from a team of physicians who specialize in blood disorders: James Mason, MD, William Miller, MD, and Jeffrey Andrey, MD, of the Scripps Blood and Marrow Transplant Program.
Butler’s treatment began with high-dosage chemotherapy drugs, which are very effective at killing cancer cells in the blood. But the drugs also destroy bone marrow, the soft inner part of bones where new blood cells are made.
After four months of chemo, blood transfusions and radiation, Butler was ready for the most critical step in his treatment: an intravenous stem cell transplant to restore his bone marrow to health. Today, peripheral blood stem cells are used for transplants far more commonly than actual bone marrow.
Following the transplant, Butler began a slow and gradual recuperation. In the hospital, his physical therapy consisted of short walks. After returning home, his rehabilitation grew to include routine household tasks. As his strength came back, he resumed full-time work as a writer and software analyst.
And music has returned to Butler’s life. He resumed booking events for his DJ business in February 2011 and was immediately uplifted. “Being around music, joy and celebrations has done wonders for me,” Butler said.
Butler, 51, gives back to the community by donating his DJ services to various health-related fundraisers, including events with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Lupus Foundation, Spina Bifida San Diego and the American Diabetes Association.
He’s also grown out his hair for the past 15 months and will have it cut and donated to Locks of Love, which provides hairpieces to children suffering from medically related hair loss.
Butler, Dr. Mason, Dr. Andrey and Dr. Miller will be honored during pregame ceremonies May 22 at Petco Park. Scripps has been the official health care provider to the Padres since 1981. To find a Scripps physician, call 1-800-SCRIPPS.