One night in August 2017, I had sudden and extreme back pain. My husband took me to the hospital where they told me I was fine and sent me home. Three other hospitals later, they finally did blood work and diagnosed me with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. I was only 26 years old at the time and otherwise very healthy.
I did not fully understand the severity of the situation and asked the doctor if I would be back to work the following week. I started my first round of chemo within 24 hours of diagnosis. However, my leukemia was resistant to the induction therapy.
Thus, we started a second round of chemo, which put me into remission. I had the FLT3 mutation which meant that I needed a bone marrow transplant. I received the transplant in October 2017 from an anonymous donor in Germany.
Then I spent months in isolation at home doing physical therapy, regaining weight and muscle, and avoiding germs. By August 2018, I went back to work as a teacher, which has been challenging with my new immune system. I have been in remission now for over two years. I had to wait two years post transplant to get in direct contact with my donor, and now we text each other daily! I have already booked flights and we have plans to meet up in Germany so I can thank her properly for saving my life.
This entire process has been the most difficult time in my life, but I am so grateful to still be alive today. The support of my husband, my main caregiver, means everything to me. I will continue to fundraise for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in hope that we can find a cure.