IU Health Simon Cancer Center

Indy attorney: “I may be the only person in the U.S. or the world with this cancer”

Patient Stories

August 06, 2019

Carl “Dan” Motsinger has had two bone marrow transplants for a rare form of cancer.

He dreams about family vacations to Hilton Head and Disney. And as he passes the time in his hospital room at IU Health Simon Cancer Center, Carl “Dan” Motsinger tries to keep up with work.

“My hobby is my family,” said Motsinger, an attorney with Krieg Devault Legal Services. “When I was well work demanded a lot. I did commercial bankruptcy primarily representing secure lenders and other institutional lenders in large bankruptcy. It’s kind of like emergency room medicine. Basically when these cases are filed a lot of things happen fast so you have to act quickly.”

Motsinger grew up in Fort Wayne, Ind. and received his undergraduate degree from Hillsdale College, Mich. and his law degree from the University of Michigan. He and his wife Deb will be married 35 years in October and have two children Kate and David.

In April of 2018 Motsinger was diagnosed with lymphoma and a month later the diagnosis was T-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL). “I was told I may be the only person in the US and maybe even in the world with this,” said Motsinger.

The extremely rare form of cancer is typically aggressive and is characterized by out of control growth of T- cells (T-lymphocytes). The T-cells are a type of white blood cell that protects the body from infections. According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society T-PLL affects older adults with a median age at diagnosis of 61 years and it is more common in men than women. Motsinger is 63.

Under the care of IU Health hematologist Dr. Sherif Farag, Motsinger first became a patient at IU Health in October 2018. He received his first stem cell transplant in January.

“Basically it engrafted initially and my counts went up but by day 60 or 70 the disease came back with vengeance,” said Motsinger. He received his second transplant July 2 and 3. His daughter was his donor.

“There are good days and bad. It’s like a roller coaster,” said Motsinger. “I’m very fortunate for friends and coworkers. I don’t know what I would have done without the support of Krieg Devault. I’m the beneficiary of a lot of prayers.”

-- By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.

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Cancer

Cancer care includes a variety of treatments, systematic therapies, surgery and clinical trials.

Leukemia

A cancer of the blood caused by the bone marrow producing abnormal white blood cells that crowd out healthy ones.

Lymphoma

A disease in which specialized white blood cells that normally fight infection become abnormal and reproduce.