Amber’s Story

Site created on March 23, 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.

It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of Amber being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) on March 18, 2021. To say our world has turned upside down is an understatement.  This diagnosis came as a complete shock to us and we are devastated.  
Amber is such a hard-working person. She graduated with her Master's Degree in Accounting from James Madison University in December 2020, and is a CPA.  She had just started working as an Accountant at KPMG in January 2021.  She was just starting her adult life; and unfortunately she has to put this exciting time of her life on hold to battle cancer.  Those that know Amber, know she is a bright and bubbly light to all that know her, with a contagious laugh. Her heart is pure.  She is our Sunshine Baby! Amber is such a strong person and we know she can beat this! 

About AML
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a cancer of the bone marrow and the blood and progresses rapidly. AML 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 including the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, and central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). The awareness ribbon color for leukemia is orange.

Most often, AML develops from cells that would turn into white blood cells (other than lymphocytes), but sometimes AML develops in other types of blood-forming cells.  AML can be a difficult disease to treat and requires inpatient treatment. Researchers are studying new approaches to AML therapy in clinical trials. There is no known cause for most cases of AML. For most people who have AML, there are no obvious reasons (risk factors) why they developed the disease. As the doctor has said, it's a matter of having bad luck. Treatment consists of inpatient chemotherapy/other drug therapies, as well as regular blood transfusions for 6-12 months, depending on how Amber's body reacts to treatment, and she may require a bone marrow transplant. During this time, Amber will be very sick and will be unable to work/function normally. We pray for a cure.

We will do our best to keep everyone updated on her progress, so stop by from time to time to learn how Amber is progressing.

Keep the prayers, thoughts and positive wishes coming. Pray to whoever and whatever you believe in. We need the entire universe and all spiritual beings on Amber's side.

Amber's friends have set up a Go Fund Me Account to help with the financial burden, both medically and general living expenses as she is unable to work. Link is below.

Thank you.
Marie & Steve 
Amber's Parents

Newest Update

Journal entry by Marie McMahon

Hello Fellow Well Wishers,

We hope everyone is well. Thank you for your continued concern and healing thoughts and prayers for Amber.

This week we got the surprise news that Amber could come home for a few weeks. It was earlier than expected and she is loving sleeping in her bed. I felt like I was packing her dorm room up as we accumulated a lot of stuff after being in the hospital for over 6 weeks (picture of our "move out" is attached). She will be home for 3-4 weeks until her next treatment begins. While she is home, she has to go to the outpatient Cancer Center 3-4 times a week for monitoring and routine blood and platelet transfusions. I got a crash course in nursing - I have to keep checking on her (nervous momma), take her temperature, and flush her ports every day (picture attached), in addition to dispensing lots of medications. There's a 10 page document of instructions, including "when to go to the ER" which we want to avoid. 

They will be doing another biopsy next week at the Cancer Center to see if the last treatment plan reached the desired levels. So we pray and hope the updated treatment did what it is supposed to be doing. If not, the treatment will need to be tweaked again. So keep those prayers coming and keep sending positive vibes into the universe that we are on the right path.

As she still has little to no immunity, she cannot have visitors outside the immediate household/family. She also gets very tired and spends lots of time resting, but we are still doing puzzles, activities, reading, etc. The puzzle news this week was one puzzle had 3 missing pieces (of course there's a chance we lost them while in the hospital)! Amber was able to do one of the larger puzzles (a cute dog puzzle) since there is more room at home. 

Unfortunately, Amber's sister Amanda is not a match to be her transplant donor. Disappointing news but we are hopeful that they will find a donor in the registry database. We will be meeting with the transplant team in a few weeks to start the process/search. So fingers crossed and keep the prayers and positive thoughts coming.

We remain positive and hopeful. Amber continues to be brave and strong through this ordeal, even during the tough days.

THANK YOU for all your continued wishes, thoughts, prayers, and support - and keep them coming.

I say it every time and I mean it - you have no idea how much everything means to us. THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!!

Love and peace to all!

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