Very Rare Disorder

After feeling weak and tired for months, (as a medical transcriber I knew better), I finally went to my primary for a physical. Blood work revealed a low neutrophil (WBC) count and slight anemia. I was advised to follow up, but I did not. About a year later, I felt terribly weak and was sleeping too much. I finally visited my (new) primary. He called me in a couple of days to tell me he made an appointment for me the next day (!) with a hematologist/oncologist.

I had a bone marrow biopsy and was diagnosed with Hairy Cell Leukemia 4 days later. I was admitted to the hospital in a few days to begin chemotherapy for 7 days/continuous infusion 24 hours a day. I slept for the next 24 hours as the benadryl/chemo combination took its effect. I had some complications but was effectively treated and survived. Six months later a bone marrow biopsy showed a presence of fewer than 1% hairy cells remaining. That was 18 years ago, and here I am, a survivor.

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