AML Leukemia: Quite a Shock

At the beginning of March 2017, I wasn’t feeling up to par. So, I went to the after hours clinic and was told that I had a virus. They gave me some medication and told me to return if I didn’t feel better in a week. I still wasn’t feeling well so back to the doctor I went. This time I was told that I had strep throat and put on antibiotics. When the antibiotics didn’t seem to be helping, another trip to the doctor. Seems the antibiotic wasn’t strong enough so another was prescribed. Long story short, I went to the doctor 5 times between March 8th-March 29th of 2017.

On March 29th, I demanded blood work be drawn because I wasn’t getting any better. I had extreme fatigue, trouble concentrating, sore lymph nodes and absolutely no energy.

I was a very sick young lady

The doctor called me himself that evening and told me to go to the nearest emergency room because I was a very sick young lady. He informed me that my white cell count was over 3 times what it should be! I was transferred to another hospital that night and remained there for one month in isolation. Chemo was started the next day after the bone marrow biopsy confirmed that I had AML Leukemia. Needless to say, going from a diagnosis of strep throat to Leukemia was quite a shock!! I had consolidation chemo one week out of each month between May- August of 2017. I was contacted in December 2017 to let me know that a donor had been found for a stem cell transplant.

The treatment journey

January 2018- I went to meet with the specialist at the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, TN to discuss a transplant. (He informed me that I had 3 donor matches at that point! Wow!!) I was scheduled to have all my pretesting done in February 2018. I was to temporarily “move” to Nashville, TN starting March 19th–have my transplant on March 29th and be prepared to remain there until 100 days post transplant. I had the stem cell transplant on March 29th, 2018. I am blessed and grateful that prayers have been answered. My 30 day post transplant biopsy showed no Leukemia detected, no cancer markers detected and I am 100% donor cells. 100 day post transplant biopsy showed the same. My next biopsy will be at day #180. I pray that God continues to bless me with answered prayers. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this disease and their families.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Blood-Cancer.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (6)
  • Mrs.Potts
    4 months ago

    @babygirl0308, when time allows would you please write about your Allo stem cell transplant? Did you have a high dosage of chemotherapy prior?

  • Babygirl0308 author
    4 months ago

    My stem cell transplant was done on March 29th, 2018. I had an allo transplant.
    I was given busulfan and what they call “thymo ” chemo. I had chemo for 7 days leading up to Transplant day. I had no nausea or vomiting with the busulfan but I the “Thymo” made me pretty sick. As a result, the nurses made sure to keep me on a steady schedule of nausea meds. I slept quite a bit.
    Transplant day was pretty exciting even if its pretty uneventful. I was prepped and my transplant was started through my Trifusion catheter. There was absolutely no pain. The actual transplant only took about 40 minutes. Totally unbelievable!
    I felt fine and even had pizza shortly after the procedure since it was around lunch time.
    I have had 2 bone marrow biopsies since my transplant. According to the results:
    The NPM1 marker is not detected, AML Leukemia is not detected and I am 100% donor cells!
    I am at 189 days post transplant, today. I am experiencing some minor GVHD issues but overall I’m doing well. I have been blessed!
    If you have an questions, please feel free to ask.

  • Ronni Gordon
    3 months ago

    Just wanted to add to the discussion by saying that a certain amount of GVHD is actually good because it shows that the donor is active. It’s called the graft vs. leukemia effect, meaning the donor is alert and on the lookout for bad leukemia guys to clobber!

  • Babygirl0308 author
    3 months ago

    My doctor has diagnosed me as having a Mild case of Chronic GVHD. It is affecting my skin (very minimal rash on face and upper neck from time to time), my liver (liver enzymes are elevated), but mainly my GI tract (very dry mouth, lack of appetite, mouth sensitive to spicy /bold flavors and some foods just don’t taste the same)
    Rash is being treated with Hydrocortisone cream. Liver enzymes are being monitored by monthly blood work. GI tract issues are being treated with appetite stimulates and over the counter “dry mouth” Products at this time.
    I am being closely monitored so that my doctor can stay on top of any issues so that he can treat it in a timely manner.
    Please don’t let what I’ve said scare you. Everyone is different and your husband may or may not not develop GVHD.
    I hope that your husband is able to get to the transplant stage soon.
    I can’t imagine what it’s like to see your husband go through all this.
    It is, definitely, a life changing event!
    A key piece of advice that I can give your husband is to stay positive and keep telling himself “I’ve got this”!
    I will keep you and your husband in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Mrs.Potts
    3 months ago

    @babygirl0308, is your GVHD skin, lung or?
    hopefully, my husband will be able to have an allotransplant around Xmas time this year. We are eager to get him to the stem cell transplant stage. Testing his brothers now as possible donors. Watching my beloved young athletic husbands health fail him has been the hardest thing for me to withstand. A life-changing event that has even reshaped our political views.

  • Anthony Carrone moderator
    5 months ago

    @babygirl0308 – I’m so glad you advocated for yourself to get blood work done since you knew you were not getting better. A woman recently asked what to expect from her upcoming transplant. Here is the link if you’d like to help her understand what to expect: https://blood-cancer.com/q-and-a/sct-expectation/! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know there are many people here who feel less alone after reading stories like yours. Sending positive thoughts, Anthony (Team Member)

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