George H. Steele, a person living with essential thrombocythemia (ET)
I was born on April 1, 1948 in Charleston, SC, and yes, it is better to be an April Fool than an all-year-'round one. I grew up on a small barrier island, Folly Beach, just a few miles Southeast of Charleston, and attended local public schools. I spent large parts of my formative years enjoying the natural beauty and bounty of the marine environment, both ocean and estuary. My close to 38-year career with the Marine Division of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources has been an almost necessary result of my upbringing.
It hasn't all been marine science though. For the first 6 years of my young adult life, I played rock 'n roll for a living. And in recent years, I came back to music as a baritone in the Charleston Men's Chorus. Sadly, symptoms of my ET have finally brought an end to performing. I'm still a heck of a critic, though!
In between rock 'n roll and marine science, was about 4 years of heavy construction (bridges, mostly) down in the Florida Keys. The construction business gave me a skill set that has been, and continues to be, useful in a wonderful variety of ways in my life. I came to work here at the Marine Resources Department in 1976 as a Technician. Several years later, I became a biologist and about 10 or 12 years ago, I moved into Data Management in the Commercial Fisheries Statistics Section. I still get to go out and play on the water when I want to, but field biology is a young person's job.
I met my lovely wife, Peggy, at a New Year's Eve party in 1979, and we were married on New Year's Eve of 1980. She has learned far more about the world of MPNs than she ever dreamed. Her love and support are incredibly valuable and important in my life. After a baffling period of chest pains, headaches, and visual migraines, which culminated in a mild MI (myocardial infarction), I was diagnosed (in 1983) with essential thrombocythemia (ET). I became an avid runner and competitive cyclist, but finally, my ET began to slow me down. These days I walk several miles a day and do mild resistance work, but my competitive days are a thing of the past.
I plan to retire in 1 year, 2 months, and 14 days (but who's counting?) and relocate to the North Georgia Mountains. The coast has become too expensive and I've been through hurricane season enough times now. In North Georgia, I plan to ride my motorcycle, cook gourmet meals, and fly fish for trout in the many streams and rivers of the Chatahoochee National Forest.