On October 2nd 2015, I was diagnosed with Apl leukemia. At 29 that is the scariest thing a person could ever hear. A mom to two young girls ages 6 and 12. And a wife to a first responder. My oncologist had told me I needed to make arrangements to have someone watch my kids for at least 30 days. Not knowing what leukemia was I was a rollercoaster of emotions, after my first bone marrow biopsy I ended up with septic shock. Luckily they caught in time I had an over night stay in ICU.
A week after I started my chemotherapy the combination of medications landed me 12 days in critical care with two of the rarest complications ( diffliculitis and Cdif.) during those 12 days I received over 75 blood products. At one point for two hours straight nurses were squeezing bags of blood into me because I wasn’t retaining any blood. I cleaned out the hospital with platelets they had to fly in platelets from the American Red Cross in New Jersey.
I hit a wall. Unresponsive for 4 days my doctor had wiped my immune system to start all over, I had a gastric tube in my nose, lost all my hair but kept my beautiful eyebrows!! My doctor had no other options but to use a medication she rarely uses for Apl and that saved my life called rituxan. My numbers were on the up platelets and white count started to look better I was out of critical care!
A month later, a day before my birthday, I went into remission on November 4th 2015. The Oncology ward threw me the biggest party they ever had with lots of balloons and cards. Two days later on November 6th, I was discharged. I had tickets to a convention in Anaheim, California put on by blizzard entertainment called blizzcon. I couldn’t go because of my immune system being so low getting sick was the last thing I needed. The company came through when they found out I had cancer. They refunded our money and gave us some cool convention gear. That made my birthday even better.
My consolation lasted 5 months with Arsenic treatment and I went into molecular remission. Another step towards victory! I did two 25 rounds of arsenic Trioxide. Now I’m in my final months of maintenance and I’m in complete remission with one year under my belt.
I look forward to many more years of being cancer free and spending the much needed time with my girls and husband.
AYA cancer survivor