Today is Day Three in the countdown to a potential cancer cure for John Bucci Jr., the cheesesteak king of John's Roast Pork, who awaits a bone-marrow transplant on Friday to eliminate his preleukemia.
"I'm ready to beat the crap out of this thing," Bucci said over the phone Monday from his bed at Jeanes Hospital. "I've still got a lot cheesesteaks to make."
Inquiries from well-wishers have been pouring in since I wrote about Bucci a week ago Sunday (see "The Tender and the Tough" in list of links at right), as he prepared to leave his South Philadelphia luncheonette in good family hands.
Things have gone relatively smoothly since he's been at Jeanes Hospital, his doctor, Thomas Klumpp, assistant director of Temple's Bone Marrow Transplant Program, said this morning. Bucci has been receiving massive doses of chemotherapy drugs over the past week in preparation for the transplant, which is an extremely dangerous procedure, but necessary to save his life, Klumpp said.
The preliminary chemo treatments themselves are difficult, but Bucci was in good spirits when we spoke. He buttered-up the hospital staff yesterday with a special 25-sandwich delivery of pork sandwiches and steaks. His great hope for the moment: to have his 40-inch home flat screen installed in his hospital room, complete with a Slingbox streaming device for better channels.
"I can't live with just 12 channels - I can't!" he moaned. "I don't have the Food Network here, or the Travel Channel, or A&E. I need to watch a good biography sometimes."
For the time being, Bucci has found comfort in his bedside reading, Meditation for Dummies. The guide even helped him lower his blood pressure 10 points with 15 minutes of meditation, he said. His mantra?
"Survive, survive, survive."
Stay tuned for more occasional updates as John Bucci Jr.'s bone-marrow transplant progresses and I learn more.