Many of you reading this already now most of my story. I have decided to do a short summary though for the Be The Match Run and also for my new readers. If you are a new reader of my blog, or reading through the last few months could be a little overwhelming, so let me give you a synopsis.
I was first diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia after my first prenatal blood work when I was newly pregnant with Evalyn. We had just finished telling our family the great news about our new baby when we received a call from my doctor telling us that my white blood cell count was elevated. Coming from a family of nurses and doctors, we knew that only could mean two things: infection or cancer. We went to see a hematologist in Athens, and soon to the Emory Clinic to see what our options were. It looked like they caught it early enough so that I could go through the pregnancy under close guidance, then after delivery I would start taking an oral chemotherapy pill and I would live a long and full life.
The treatment went great for a 3 months and then the oral chemo started to not work and I spiraled into terrible pain. They told me that the medication had stopped working and I had to go to Emory immediately. Little did I know I would be there for 3 weeks and have to start chemotherapy, blood work, platelet infusions, x-rays, cat scans, every test there is under the sun… and then find out that my cancer had turned to Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, one of the most dangerous forms of Leukemia. I found out that I would need a stem-cell a transplant from a random donor in order to live long-term. I was in and out of Emory every 5 out of 21 days, for three months, for chemotherapy. My husband, Jonathan, was in school full-time at the University of Georgia, and trying to take care of everyone. Luckily we had a strong support system.
We found a stem-cell donor in February. I am told she is 22 years old and lives overseas. I really hope that we get to meet very soon. The stem cell transplant itself was not a big deal, but the total-body radiation and the last doses of chemo literally killed my immune system to make room for the new stem-cells. It has been a long and painful road but I know that because of a person who donated through Be the Match, my life has been saved and I will be able to see my little girl grow up.
Please considers donating, volunteering, or participating with Be the Match. You can save a life!