Terri OBrien

First post: Jan 15, 2020 Latest post: Nov 3, 2020

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. In the last 6 months or so I have had so many friends and family members reach out to ask how our Mom, Terri is doing with Leukemia. I try my very best to respond to the emails, texts, Facebook messages and return calls, but it's been quite tricky with our schedules and
making sure we update each person with the most accurate information. So, we are using this site to keep family and friends updated in one place about our Mom. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for loving and caring for our Mom so much!

Our Mom was diagnosed with Acute Myloid Leukemia (AML) in March 2019.  She started feeling sick with flu symptoms at the end of January 2019.  She went to the doctor a few times and they gave her medicine to fight the flu and a sinus infection. After the third time of not being able to kick it, she told her doctor she wanted a blood panel because she knew something was not right. Her instincts were right, thankfully they caught it in the early stages. She was in The James for further testing the day she received the results.

What is Acute Myloid Leukemia? This is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells, or platelets. It starts in the bone marrow (the soft inner part of certain bones, where new blood cells are made), but most often it quickly moves into the blood, as well. It can sometimes spread to other parts of the body.
Since last March our Mom has been treated by the amazing and loving staff at The James Cancer Hospital Solove Research Institute here in Columbus, Ohio. She started with several rounds of chemotherapy to blast the cancer until it left her system. In that time she became very sick.  When you have blasts of chemo that strong, in a short period, it takes your immune system down to 0%. So, the chances of her picking up an infection from public places where she is open to bacteria (schools, church, grocery store, etc.) was very high. She was moved into isolation at The James for long periods of time until her white blood count went back up. In September 2019, after several chemo treatments, blood transfusions and platelet injections, she found out that the cancer was gone and went into remission. Of course, we were all so thrilled that it was gone! She could finally put this behind her and move on to think about Christmas with family. She loves her big family and really enjoys having everyone together. Family is her favorite place in the world!

In the beginning of December, 2019, we heard what no one wants to hear, especially right before Christmas...that the cancer was back and it was aggressive. They had to start treatment immediately. They started her on 5 days of chemo, blasting the bad cells, keeping her in isolation again for the whole week before Christmas. We thanked God for sending her home for Christmas to be with family. Right after Christmas, my Mom started a clinical trial which was 5 days of chemo and 7 days of a pill which would put her body into an exhausted and weak state. It also flared up her arthritis, to the point where she could not walk. The doctors agreed that this was not good for her to continue with the clinical trial and put her body through it again. This is where we are today. She is
currently waiting on a bone marrow donor that has to be more than a 90% match for her age and the stage of her Leukemia. Thankfully there are a couple
family members and matches on the national donor list as options. She continues to receive blood transfusions and platelets almost weekly with another chemo treatment starting in a couple weeks. Her body needs to be rid of cancer in order to do the bone marrow transplant. The plan for the transplant is
mid-March as of now. Please continue to watch for updates on our Mom's story.