Posted on November 11 2014
In 2005 at age 20, I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). I began my induction chemotherapy about 10 days after I was initially diagnosed. Once I was in remission, my amazing team of doctors at the University of Pennsylvania started looking for a bone marrow donor. Well, it didn't take long, they found a perfect match! That October, I went back in for a long stay for my transplant.... I know this is the part where you're all hoping I say things went great (they did for awhile)But in 2010, for unknown reasons, my cancer came back and brought with it 5 systemic infections. It was only a week before I was basically in a coma and on total life support. After a long, scary summer, my family and my doctors had a big meeting... in this meeting my parents were told that I was no longer "in there" and that they needed to think about long term care or possibly removing me from life support. My Mom knew me better though, she knew I was still fighting. Sure enough, I began to wake up and recover. The breathing tube was awful, but it came out soon. My doctors then decided to ask my donor Paul for his stem cells, a kind of reset/band aid. About a year after the stem cell infusion, my cancer came back for a third time and with vigor. So back to University of Pennsylvania I went. Hoping beyond all hope for another miracle. My doctors had such grim faces that day. I asked them what could be done...they had a plan already. Time for transplant number 2! Again, I stayed at the hospital and again they found me a perfect match. Now here I am, almost 3 years out from my second transplant and I'm flourishing. I'm happy, I'm healthy and I am so lucky!