My name is Michelle and here is my story. I’ll give you the long and short of it.
...Here’s the Short
Cancer sucks and is very EXPENSIVE... even with insurance.
Medically I am doing well. Financially we are not. We like most households were a two income family. I was diagnosed and hospitalized in December 2012 with AML Leukemia, and have been out of work since. With me not being able to work, and being down to only one income in our home the bills are building up. My husband makes enough money with cutbacks and careful budgeting for us to make on our household bills, But we do not have enough money to pay for all the medical expenses / bills (they have and/are turning us into collections), I am hoping to collect about $10,000 dollars to help pay for some of our medical expenses. We have been able to sell off some items to cover things so far but we have come up very short of our goal. I would greatly appreciate any help you can give us, even if it’s just a few dollars.
...Here’s the Long
I was not feeling well at all in the fall of 2012. I was having stomach pain, shortness of breath and was having problems losing weight. I finally decided enough was enough and I went to my family doctor. Several tests later no answer, on to my OBGYN, more tests… no answers, on to an Endocrinologist, lots of tests and you guessed it no answers. By now it’s just after thanksgiving and I’m still feeling fatigued, stomach issues and just not like myself. I remember calling my family doctor on a Friday (Dec 7th) and getting yet another appointment for the same issue and feeling very desperate for an answer as to what was wrong with me. I go see him at 2:00; he is still at a loss as to what is causing my symptoms. Due to the length of time and the issues I was having he sends me to the local ER for a CAT scan & testing. After months of testing we have an answer (I think) they find my left ovary and several limp nodes are enlarged and I have a large amount of fluid causing the pressure in my abdomen, which was causing the pain and shortness of breath.
I know what you are thinking… I thought she said she had Leukemia, stay with me I’m getting there. So after my emergency room visit and they refer me to an OBGYN Oncologist (lady parts cancer doc). After several more Doctor visits we decide the best course of action is to remove the offending ovary and/or a complete hysterectomy. Keep in mind I’m 33 years old with no children. My husband and I come to grips with what this means for us and surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, December the 19th. We go in on Monday the 17th for pre-op blood work, no problem we are in and out quickly. So Tuesday I start the prep required for Wednesday’s surgery (yeah that great gallon of liquid to flush you out) and the phone rings about three in the afternoon and it’s the Surgeons office saying they cannot do my surgery on Wednesday as scheduled. The nurse then proceeds to tells me I have an appointment to see a hematologist on Thursday for blood work. I’m a little upset about surgery being canceled but figure no biggie, we have the time off already so we’ll see this guy on Thursday morning then have a nice lunch out to celebrate my husband’s birthday and we’ll get rescheduled, thinking the lab messed up the blood work and just have to have it redone. Boy was I WRONG…. We go to the appointment and they draw blood and wait for the Doctor to come in. He arrives and begins to advise/discuss the fact that I have leukemia. (I remember thinking wait just a darn second here. I don’t have leukemia I have a bad ovary.) The Doctor leaves the room for a few minutes then comes back in and instructs us to go DIRECTLY to Northside Hospital and proceeds to ask if he should call for an ambulance, or if we can make the 50 mile drive to the hospital as they have a room ready for me, and will be waiting for us to arrive.
I checked into the hospital on December 20, 2012. They place a picc line and started more testing. I received my first round of chemo on Christmas day. Fast forward, the first round of chemo was able to get me into remission (yay great news), but the doctor comes back with the genetics on my Acute Myeloid Leukemia and I find out that I have a nasty genetic mutation which means It is highly likely the AML will come back and be much harder to get rid of next time. He offered us the option to just try a few more rounds of chemo and wait and see if/when it comes back, or try a bone marrow transplant. I choice the bone marrow transplant. I had to go through another round of chemo while trying to find a donor.
We received news that they found a donor. THANK YOU whoever you are. You saved my life!
I started yet another round of chemo (yep that three if you are counting) in preparation for transplant and I received my bone marrow transplant on April 11th. As of today my bone marrow transplant is working. I still have a long road till I’m “normal” but I am alive.
All that said I still need frequent visits to the clinic/hospital for testing, fluids and blood. As for some reason my system is not producing its own red blood cells. My doctor assures me its all just part of the process, and to hang in there. It just needs time…
Thank you for taking to time to read my story, I will post updates as often as I’m able. I thank you in advance for your support.