<- More info there.

Hey guys,

Yesterday, reddit was super awesome and made a blog post about me, here. It's about how I'm currently looking for a perfect-match bone marrow donor.

Anyway, I'm Dacvak, or Dac for short. Before I got sick, I was active in moderating /r/gaming, /r/Games, /r/pics, /r/IAmA, and a few smaller subreddits.

I'm also the secret novelty account, ThisWeekInGaming. So if you were wondering why that kinda stopped, yeah. TWIG was actually me and a friend of mine (and he did a huge amount of the work each week, but then eventually had to stop when he got a new job), and then I got sick and couldn't keep it up.

As far as working at reddit, I had applied for the Community Manager position alongside a ton of people, and was lucky enough to score an interview in SF at the reddit offices. That interview was awesome, by the way. What started with literally everyone in the office sitting around me, asking questions (almost interrogation style) ended about as good as an interview could - a late night of pizza, beer, and Die Hard on Wired's enormous HDTV.

I got the call while driving home from work that I got the job, and of course I immediately accepted it. After a few days/weeks of planning out the logistics of moving across the country, everything finally set into place. Chromakode even made me an awesome reddit avatar. =)

During all of this, I was feeling a bit run down and tired, and decided to get checked at the doctor's office. The news wasn't good. I remember how I was laying down on the couch at my parents' house when my mom got the call. Boom, it was leukemia, and I had to hit a hospital right away. That night wasn't fun.

Since then, I've had three rounds of induction chemo, which is enough to knock a rhino on its ass, but the third round worked and took out all of the blast cells (those are the bad, cancerous ones). Since the disease is really aggressive, though, it's likely I'll relapse, so the doctors want to send me to transplant right away.

But this is an IAmA. I don't want to give too much away in this opening story. I want you guys to ask whatever questions you have. Whether it's about having cancer, something about TWIG, what it's like to pee in bottles all day, or just about me in general, ask me anything.

Edit: I should mention that I don't actually have a laptop here, and that I'm typing all this on an iPad + keyboard, so apologies if I'm rather slow to respond.

Comments: 342 • Responses: 31  • Date: 

Valhalla_Awaits196 karma


Dacvak99 karma

Yo Shane! Ask Nate what room I'm in. He might be stopping by tonight, anyway. You should totally come visit, dude.

itisyounotme76 karma

First of all, I wish you the best of luck, man. I hope this all turns around quickly for you and you start your position at Reddit feeling like a new man.

  • What type of leukemia were you diagnosed with?
  • How did you handle the news when you first found out?
  • How are you handling your first round of chemo?

Again, good luck with everything and here's to your getting well very soon!

Dacvak104 karma

  • AML

  • I basically "NOPE'd."

  • I finished up my third round of chemo a couple weeks ago. Now I'm just tryin' to recover.

Yeenings62 karma

First off, I hope you get better.

Also, do you know if donating bone marrow hurts? Because I've heard that it's really painful.

Thanks for doing this!

Dacvak89 karma

From what I've been told, and I'm positive someone else will step in and give a better answer, modern marrow donations are about as painful as donating blood.

They give you a type of medicine which drains your marrow into your bloodstream. Then they place an IV in each arm - one going out, one going in. Using some machine or something (probably like a dialysis machine) they extract the bone marrow from the blood, then return your blood into the other arm.

The old method was they literally had to jam a giant needle into your bone and extract the marrow that way. As someone who's had a handful of bone marrow biopsies, I can definitely tell you that hurts.

Goldarrr54 karma

First of all-- I'm a 20 year old Leukemia survivor who was diagnosed at 11 and had a bone marrow transplant at age 14. So if you have any questions about what that's like/what you could expect, ask me!

What's been your least favorite side effect of medication, treatments, or chemo?

Dacvak40 karma

Pain in my butt, literally. Followed by a giant, swollen painful tongue.

cooljdude36 karma

First, I hope that you have a speedy recovery. :)

Now for my question: What do you feel makes reddit special - unlike any other site?

Dacvak72 karma

For some reason, users of this site play the number game where they're like "reddit isn't some super-secret club - MILLIONS of people use it! It's not like it's a giant community!"

But it totally is. Moreso than any other site of this size. It might not be a super secret club, but everyone here has something in common, and it's fascinating to be part of that. It really is a giant, insane community.

Wafflesorbust32 karma

Which novelty account?

Edit: Hey, everyone, check it out; I can't read. Now I feel dumb.

I'm already in the marrow donor database. Hope you find a match soon dude.

Dacvak18 karma


andrewsmith198629 karma

Man you missed a shit ton of IAMA drama.

What has been the hardest part of this whole thing?

Dacvak95 karma

Missing the shit ton of IAMA drama.

andrewsmith198630 karma

Yeah, I'm no longer a mod and like 4 others are gone and the whole sushilinks mess about karmanaut and shit.

It was pretty fun.

Dacvak65 karma

Man, you always get cancer at the worst possible time. You'll have to fill me in on the details later.

MrSm1lez20 karma

Hope everything goes well for you, getting a dream job then finding out you have cancer probably feels like a kick in the nuts from life. Have you had any luck finding a transplant from Reddit so far?

Dacvak30 karma

Won't know for a couple of weeks. It's a long process, but the response has been great. Honestly, I'm just really happy that more people are entering the registry, in general, since that'll help a TON of people in the future.

[deleted]16 karma

What jobs have you had before being offered your job at reddit?

How old are you currently?

What was the name of your first childhood pet?

Dacvak32 karma

I worked a lot in game journalism, and ran a gaming site before I got the job at reddit. I've also had a handful of fun retail jobs throughout my life, too.

I'm 25 as of two days ago.

I'm pretty sure every pet I've ever had has been named Charlie.

ConnorRobertsUK16 karma

Well thats a shitty way to spend your birthday :( Hope you get better soon!

Dacvak40 karma

My family actually threw a surprise party for me. I didn't expect it at all, but my whole family came, even my 1-year-old niece. Plus, I got the new iPad. All-in-all, it was actually a pretty awesome birthday.

dbenoos15 karma

What did you do or say when you found out it was leukemia? How did you react?

Anyway.. get well soon, man. Reddit loves you!

Dacvak46 karma


I ran downstairs, took a shower, and basically decided my doctor was an idiot and had no idea. Then, when it was confirmed, I remember looking at my family in the doctor's room thing, and saying "Ya know, I'm gonna be pro at handling my own demise."

ajani5714 karma

How are your parents doing, especially your mom? She took the phone call and bore the burden of having to say it out loud. What symptoms made them actually check for leukemia?

Dacvak24 karma

They're great, as far as I can tell. There hasn't been a night that's gone by where one of them hasn't been by my bed to help me out, and I'm insanely thankful for that.

I don't think they actually checked for leukemia specifically, they just took a generic blood test and saw an abnormal number of "blast cells", which is indicative of having leukemia, I suppose.

Wesside10 karma

I wish I could help ya with the bone marrow, but they'll never use any of my blood or marrow due to a glitch in my blood :(

What kind of gaming are you into personally? Any games you haven't played yet that you do want to play?

Dacvak15 karma

I'm a huge gamer. I even ran a gaming site in my most recent fulltime job.

I wanted to play through the Metal Gear Solid series, and my friends and I started doing that recently. Beat Twin Snakes and 2 so far. We'll start on 3 soon. I never played them before basically because of the abysmal framerate issues, but now that they're super clean in the HD collection, I have really no excuse.

Other than that, I've played really a HUGE amount of games. I'd like to play Arkham City, but I haven't beaten Asylum yet.

ladiscospeider10 karma

Hi! Sorry if this is a stupid question but how do people get leukemia? Ive been under the impression that is something you get as a baby or young kid because of all the child leukemia organizations and stuff.

Dacvak63 karma

No one knows, but I like to blame the TSA.

Seriously, I fly fairly often, and the first time I went through their new x-ray scanners, I was like "oof. I think I just got cancer."

MrCheeze6 karma

What is it like to pee in bottles all day.

Nerdrock3r25 karma

I can tell you what it is like to stand in his bathroom while he pees in a bottle in the other room. It's weird.

Dacvak17 karma

She's not at all joking, by the way.

Dacvak21 karma

So, peeing in bottles is alright, I suppose. They do that to basically measure how much you pee. Let me tell you the strange thing, though. Peeing in a bottle while still in bed.

All my life, my brain has insisted that peeing while laying down in a bed is a huge no-no. However, since I'm hooked up to so many IVs and stuff, I pee pretty often, and sometimes at 5AM, you just don't want to/have the energy to get up and get a proper gravitational pee in.

The only option is the bed pee.

Man, the first time I had to do that, it was a trip. Even know I had worked out the logistics to the point of avoiding absolutely 100% spillage, my brain was still like "NO NO NO NO NO!" The other thing to consider is how much gravity helps in normal pees, especially in getting the last drops out.

Either way, once I got over the wall, it stopped being a huge deal, but now I'm worried that once I get out of here, I'll suddenly be subconsciously ok with peeing the bed.

noidontwantto6 karma

Can you describe what prompted you to see a doctor? Like, what was the straw the broke the camels back? I understand you were feeling run down, but can you define that?

I was reading about Leukemia and its symptoms, but they seem vague or not well defined.

Dacvak6 karma

I'm just not used to feeling tired all day, so I decided to get checked. That was honestly it.

[deleted]6 karma

As someone who had cancer when I was younger; I would like to ask, did you do anything fun to prepare for chemo like dye your hair a random color or anything? A lot of people did that in the hospital I went to and I had fun dying my hair green ~^

Dacvak3 karma

It kinda happened too fast for that, unfortunately.

panic_switch6 karma

DAC! I haven't seen you in years. It's Canadian Chris. We used to be con buddies back in the day and and had no idea you worked for Reddit nor that you had leukemia until yesterday. There are still times I talk about moments with friends that involve you, such as the elevator Star-Man-Theme dance party at Otakon 2005 or everything that happened at Tekko 2006.

I wish you the best and a quick and speedy recovery, and hope that you can find a match! I will be sending over a donation in the next couple of days and seeing if there is anything I can do with regards to an international bone marrow testing kit!

And because it's AMA, what is your all time favorite video game? And how do you feel about the time you ran over Melly's suitcase with your car before Katsucon 2007?

Dacvak3 karma

Canadian Chris! It's been too long! Elevator rave was so awesome...

I remember when I ran over Melly's suitcase, I think I broke a wheel. I felt bad about that. Hope I didn't damage anything else in there. =P

Good to hear from you.

GroverEatsGrapes5 karma

My wife also had leukemia. AML, to be more exact. The first time around she declined the transplant (she wanted to preserve some chance of having children - of which we have one, so success!) but relapsed 3 years later. The second time around she did have the transplant (unrelated) - that was more than 12 years ago. Things have no doubt changed over that period - as they tend to do in the medical world as understanding evolves.

That's not a question. I don't really have one.

I have a couple of tips from the transplant world though... surprisingly the hospital was not very helpful in these kinds of matters.

  • If you find your treatments are making it tough to drink water because it tastes tinny - sprinkle a pinch of Chrystal Lite power in the water and problem solved. My wife found that the lime flavour worked particularly well.

  • Buy baby wipes. Use them instead of toilet paper. Chemo and radiation will have an impact (as you likely already know) in this area. The wipes are much gentler, and may help you avoid abrasion (especially caused by the sandpaper they use in hospitals) infection or other ass problems.

  • Buy your own kleenex. Hospital tissues are also made of sandpaper.

  • Keep a supply of hard candy at your bedside. Dry mouth is a symptom you will have to deal with - if you already are not. It's not just annoying, but can have serious implications. A sweet something can really help.

  • You must advocate for yourself. At one point in my wife's treatment the hospital was giving her an anti-emetic (to keep her from being sick to her stomach) orally. The drug as available through the IV, but the pill was about 1/2 the price. Of course, having to swallow something when you're as sick as she was can be quite a trick. We insisted on a change to the IV delivery method, and the results were quite positive. We live in Canada - so the cost was not incurred by us directly.

  • Have someone with you at the hospital as much as possible. My wife was drugged to the gills for much of her treatment. If the doctor visited her while she was in this state, she would have remembered none of it. I was there to be her memory - to double check everything the staff were doing, to run little errands and to take care of the bed-sheet changing and bathing. Nurses are (here at least) chronically understaffed - so they really appreciate the help - and it's just nicer to have someone who loves you taking good care of you.

  • Write everything down. We did not do this, but if we could go back we would.

Those are the ones that come to mind right now. If you ever want to talk to my wife directly - just PM me and I'll get her to answer any questions you might have.

Best of luck!

Dacvak2 karma

This is super helpful, especially the Chrystal Lite tip. Thanks for sharing.

netdorf5 karma

Hey Dac, I know we have never met but I recognize your name from Gamer's Guild. I heard you are cool dude. A bunch of us from Guild are going to the Cheek Swab for you event.

I now realize I need a question to make this valid...uhm, how does it feel to have rick rolled Moot? (Snowman told me this story)

Dacvak2 karma

Ah man, what's Snowman up to these days?

It was pretty cool. That was before the Rick Roll was hugely popular and all that, and moot somehow didn't see it coming. Good times.

slyth3r0wl5 karma

Leukemia sucks, but when you lose all your hair, it can regrow. But due to missing cells, it might be a different colour. So, Dac, what colour do you want your hair to be?

And is bone marrow transplant painful? I'd have a scan, but I'm either too young or i'm scared it might be painful...

Dacvak5 karma


You've got to be 18, but it's not painful like it used to be.

goodguygaymer3 karma

What are your thoughts on gays and gay marriage?

Also, do you have a man-crush on NPH?

Dacvak3 karma

Should be legal.

And yes, totally. Who doesn't?


How has (if at all) the disease changed how you view life?

Dacvak13 karma

It really hasn't, but I guess I just haven't given it much thought. I figure, once you start thinking about stuff like that, it's possible to slip into negativity land. I just try to keep my days as normal as possible and not get too wrapped up in thought.

everyotherredditor3 karma


Dacvak30 karma

Lol, Gil, I'm not internet famous. But if I did have one big suggestion, I'd say print out a giant picture of your face, then hold it up above your face.

TehMuffinMan2 karma

Hey Dac, It's Ian. My question is: Who would win in a fight: Polar Bear or Gorilla and why?

Dacvak3 karma

Instinct says polar bear. I feel like polar bears could handle firearms better than gorillas for some reason. I blame Coke commercials.

EvilDrReef2 karma

What kind of new and exciting board games have you been researching during your time in the hospital? Anything you want to try or plan on playing when some of your more inept friends come visit you? Like 7 Wonders, Catan, or Small World? I also hear Formula D is nice.

Also, how does it make you feel when your friends cheat at stupid games?

Dacvak8 karma

I'm tellin' you, Ascension on iOS is awesome.

Shalashaska3152 karma

On a scale of 1 to 10, how awkward was watching that SP episode with your dad there?

Dacvak3 karma


[deleted]2 karma


Dacvak5 karma

I farted in front of the hot chick in 5th grade.

Seriously, though, I can't really remember. I did straight-up poop my pants while in the hospital. Wasn't as embarrassing as I thought it'd be, though.

thatfunkymunky2 karma

Hi, Dac. Do you have any way of tracking how many people have signed up on because of reddit's blog post about you?

Dacvak8 karma

No, but I bet if someone were to try and contact someone from that site, they might be able to guesstimate. I'd venture to say that reddit had a huge impact on their site yesterday.