Carrie at Twin Lakes, August 2018.

Carrie Birrer

First post: Oct 16, 2020 Latest post: Feb 2, 2021
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

In late August 2020, Carrie was diagnosed with AML: Acute Myloid Leukemia. A mass in her thigh and extreme pain took her to the emergency room on August 18th. After a blood test to determine a potential cause for her symptoms, she was subsequently diagnosed with blood cancer and admitted to the bone marrow transplant floor at Oregon Health Sciences University Hospital. (Coincidentally, this is the floor she worked on as an occupational therapist since January.) The next day Carrie started intensive chemotherapy, a 24/7 regimen, and remained in the hospital for continued treatment for 27 days. 

This all happened so quickly and was completely out of the blue! Except for the mass and pain in her leg, which developed overnight and continued to worsen over a matter of days, Carrie felt healthy and well. Prior to this, Carrie was working at the place she most wanted to work—based on the experience she had while in graduate school—doing a job she loved. She was hiking, doing Power Yoga, and settling into her newly purchased condo. 

Carrie’s good health and age bode well for her prognosis. AML is an aggressive form of leukemia, but it was caught early and Carrie’s body has responded very well to the first stage of treatment.  

Next steps include a return to the hospital for another round of chemotherapy in preparation for a bone marrow transplant. Carrie’s brother Rich will be the donor; he is a 100% match. The bone marrow transplant is slated for early December and Carrie will be in the hospital for 5 weeks. Upon release, it is recommended that patients have around-the-clock support for 3 months and she is planning to stay at her mother’s house. After this time, she plans to return to her home to complete recovery, regain strength and endurance, and rebuild her life. Carrie's oncologist told her to expect extreme fatigue following the transplant and that it is unlikely she will be able to return to work for a full year. She loves her job and this news was and continues to be sobering.

We will be posting updates as Journal entries on this page to keep friends and family informed about Carrie’s treatment and progress. Please feel free to post words of encouragement as a comment after Journal entries, or by clicking on Well Wishes (see menu bar on top of the page). Should needs arise—help with meals, rides to appointments, etc.— they will be posted on either the Ways to Help or Planner page. If you’d like to contribute to Carrie’s GoFund Me campaign, here is the link:

Any references to donations on this site are for Caring Bridge, not for Carrie; feel free to donate if you like. 

Thoughts and prayers for Carrie.