Colleen Steinhauer

First post: Apr 21, 2019 Latest post: Nov 24, 2019
How the Heck did Colleen end up in the hospital?

Welcome to Colleen’s Caring Bridge Site.  We wish we didn’t have to set this site up, but we wanted to let everyone know how Colleen is progressing. 
Here we go with a little backstory before Colleen was admitted on Friday April 19th, 2019, to the Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, ND:
Colleen was just getting over a cough that was persistent over  the last week (4/10-4/17).  She also noticed her heart rate was increased more than normal, but otherwise felt healthy.  She also had a few bruises on her legs but that wasn’t something that was weird since the dogs were always jumping on her.  But Colleen woke up Friday April 19th, and noticed abnormal bruising on her abdomen and chest.  She also noticed there were blood spots on her tongue.  Recognizing that something wasn’t right, she went to the Sanford Walk-in Clinic before work.   They did some blood tests and were concerned with her low platelets and low white blood cells.  The Physician Assistant who was treating Colleen, happened to work in Oncology previously, and said “ Let me walk over to Roger Maris Cancer Center, since it is right down the hall.” “ I want to consult with the Hemotologist on call and see if we should admit you.”  The PA left and returned 10 Min later stating “Dr wants to admit you immediately and the Dr would be upstairs soon to discuss a treatment plan.”  Within the hour the hemotologist was in Colleen’s room and said “after analyzing the lab work and examining the blood work that was sent to Pathology, I think you have Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL).  We need to send a bone marrow sample and your blood work to Mayo to confirm it 100%.  Once we heard the word Leukemia we were in shock.  But The Dr. said, “if you are going to have Leukemia, this is the one you want.  This is very treatable and you have a very high survival Rate”.  Then the Hemotologist said “we are going to start you on the medication to treat this immediately, and let’s do that Bone Marrow Biopsy, why wait, let’s do it.”  So they started her on the non-chemo drug called All-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA).  If the diagnosis is confirmed Monday, they will also start treating her with Arsenic trioxide in conjunction with ATRA.
Colleen started to get a bad headache right before her platelet transfusion and bone marrow biopsy were completed.  After all the tests were done, the Hemotologist gave Colleen some pain meds for her headache which finally subsided late Friday night.  We didn’t get much sleep but who ever does in the hospital?