Welcome to my CaringBridge site! I've created this site to keep friends and family updated. I am so very blessed with your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time and hopefully this will help us keep in touch!
Hey guys! So a lot of this is a shock to some of you, and has kind of come out of the blue. All this started at the beginning of sophomore year, I was experiencing a lot of tiredness, and we thought I might have a minor case of narcolepsy. We went to a doctor, and really didn't get any answers. A month or so went by and I started experiencing some back, shoulder, and neck pain. My neck and shoulders would get so stiff by the end of the day that I wouldn’t be able to move them.We went to a shoulder/neck doctor and he basically said there were no answers and I should just go to physical therapy. After about a month of that the worst thing started happening. I started getting nauseous every morning, and eventually I started getting sick. My mom knew of a surgeon/doctor that she knew would be thorough and give us some answers. Dr. Glassman, after hearing of all the symptoms, had no clue what was wrong with me. He sent me to the hospital to have an ultrasound of all my organs and to take a close look at my gallbladder. He also wanted to check my blood cell counts. My ultrasound ended up being completely normal but my counts were kind of low. Dr. Glassman referred me to a hematologist up at the SECU Cancer Unit next to Mission hospital. After being very thorough and taking some blood test, they found something suspicious on my blood smear. Dr. Bottom (the hematologist) ordered for a bone marrow extraction to be taken the next day. On June 7th I was diagnosed with a very rare blood disease called Myelodysplastic Syndrome. Also referred to as pre-leukemia or smoldering leukemia. Abbreviated MDS, Do not be fooled, this is not cancer, it is a stage before it. This disease usually occurs in adults over 60, but only in 4 out of every million children. They do not know what causes this disease, it is very rarely genetic, and often comes as a side effect of having chemotherapy for some other disease in the past. Many patients have a chromosomal abnormality associated with the disease, these abnormalities most commonly are found on chromosomes 5, 7 and 8. Luckily my chromosomes are normal! (If there had been a defect it could have been harder to cure) Basically, your bone marrow produces blood cells, when the blood cells are mature and ready to do their job they are pushed into the blood stream. If these blood cells are not produced properly and pushed into the bloodstream immature they don’t do their job. These immature blood cells are called Blasts. Leukemia is described as having 30% or more or more Blasts in the bloodstream. Healthy bone marrow has less than 5% of these Blasts. I have 8%. So, as you can see they caught this at a very early stage! Positive news? THIS IS CURABLE :D I will have to get a bone marrow transplant towards the end of this summer; I will go to a clinic at UNC Chapel Hill and stay there for about 5-6 months during the process. After the process is over I should be healthy and back to normal :) I'm keeping this site to inform you as I go through this journey and keep you all updated. I am endlessly amazed by my tremendous support group and couldn’t do this without you guys by my side! Remember, God is great! I have no doubt that this is in his plan and he is going to use me through this to open many opportunities to spread his love,grace and healing powers!