BRUCE POLCEK, 72 ROCKFORD – Bruce Polcek, 72, loving husband, father and grandfather, died at 8:02 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010, in Swedish American Hospital Heart Hospital. Born Feb. 20, 1938, in the Bronx, N.Y.
Our dad spent the first 36 years of his life as a true New Yorker. He grew up in the Bronx, loved going to Yankee Stadium, played stickball in the streets, and eventually worked in the Empire State Building. He loved the hustle and bustle of New York City. It gave him energy. He met his beautiful wife and had three children in NY. The second 36 years was spent in the beautiful city of Rockford, Il. Rockford was much smaller by comparison to NY, but it provided Midwestern charm and a more conducive environment to raise his of three girls. Here he developed a reputation of the hard working family man always spending time with his family when he wasn’t traveling for work. He was an avid golfer and an avid storyteller. Our dad traveled all over the world and had many crazy experiences that he truly enjoyed telling everyone. His stories were so surreal that we often didn’t believe them to be true. But we know he couldn’t make up stories as good as these!
Most of his travels took him to Italy where he grew to love everything Italian; Italian art, Italian music, Italian philosophers, Italian people, and real Italian food. Our dad was a tremendously proud husband, father and grandfather. He was Baba to three grandsons and one princess. They were the joy of his last 14 years. He honored the title of Baba.
In 2001, while in Florida for vacation, he experienced his first TIA. This is when they discovered his Polycythemia Vera. Since 2001 he had been able to manage his disease without complaint other than incessant itching. As a matter of fact he suffered very silently that we, his children, did not even know what his disease was until November of 2009. He never complained or even talked about it, it was just something he had.
In December of 2009 he needed bypass surgery. Bypass with PV is not just Bypass. He suffered several complications after surgery that threw his blood levels all over. He spent 6 weeks in the hospital initially and then was sent home because he was doing just fine. He gained some energy back. After a few days he had blood clots in his legs and had to be readmitted to the hospital. Again they sent him home because he was doing great. He was home for four weeks. On February 20th we celebrated his 72nd birthday. On February 22nd he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloma Leukemia and readmitted on February 23rd.
We had two funerals, one in Rockford and one in New York. We were overwhelmed by the number of lives our father toughed. In NY we met 4 friends that he had since birth and people he had worked with in the 70’s and 80’s. This is a true testament to the type of person our father was. People admired him, people respected him, both personally and professionally.
What we have now are his stories and the life lessons he instilled in each one of us. We will keep our Dad’s memory alive by continuously retelling his stories and by sharing his lessons through our actions with our children and future generations.
Contributed by Jennifer Acker
These represent first person accounts of real people living with Essential Thrombocythemia, Polycythemia Vera and Myelofibrosis. It does not represent the views or opinions of anyone associated with the MPN Research Foundation. Please consult your doctor before taking any action to manage your health.