I have the unique opportunity to be both a Bone Marrow donor as well as a Stem Cell recipient in my journey!
In the 1980's I registered with the C.W. Bill Young Bone Marrow donation program while stationed at the Naval Hospital in Long Beach, CA..
In 2002, while I was stationed at the Naval Medical Clinic in Norfolk, VA, I was notified I was a match for a patient who needed a Bone Marrow donation. That first donation was put on hold, however a couple of months later I was notified that I was a match for a patient. I completed several weeks of workups and questionnaires, culminating in donating my Bone Marrow in January 2003 at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC.
In October 2020 while visiting my mom in Arizona, I went to the emergency room with extreme fatigue, chest-pain, cough, and shortness of breath. Thinking it would be a COVID diagnosis or heart problems, they found my white blood cell count was over 100,000 and diagnosed me with leukemia.
I was admitted to the hospital first in the general medical ward, and then shortly after the Bone Marrow Transplant unit at the same hospital. I completed my initial Induction chemotherapy and began to work with my family to plan what would happen next.
Over the next couple of months, I completed Consolidation Chemotherapy while a stem cell donor was located. In March of 2021, I received my stem cell transplant. I spent the next 100 days recovering locally until my next bone marrow biopsy showed that I was in remission. Shortly after I returned to my home in Virginia and began the long process of recovery. In August 2021 I returned to work part-time at the non-profit that supported me throughout my treatment. In December 2021 I returned to full-time work with the same non-profit. They have been a great supporter of my journey.
In March 2022, I completed my 1-year post SCT Bone Marrow biopsy which showed no evidence of leukemia blood cells. I continue to improve and slowly decrease the meds I must take as well as the frequency of follow-ups. I have returned not only to work but returned to my volunteer work as President of the neighborhood Civic League, and involvement with my city. I'm looking forward to continuing my improvement over time and accomplishing many more things with the gift of life that someone shared with me!