Laura’s Story

Site created on March 21, 2020

Laura Kennedy is a 40 year old wife and mother of 2 preteen girls. She is an outgoing, kind, loving and caring woman who can always lift your spirits, even in the most trying of times. Ask her hundreds of former band students, into whose lives she has poured her love of God and music. Even through her own personal struggles she will always offer a hand to those in need, be it a kind word, an offer of assistance, or a heartfelt prayer. Now it's her turn to trust in others for support.

Around the end of February 2020, Laura began to experience a dizzying array of minor, seemingly unrelated health issues. She was seeing doctor after doctor with such concerns as swollen glands, skin infections, and sinus pain. Through all these trips to the doctor she stayed positive that this new medication would set her to rights, once it had a chance to do its job. Finally on March 17, St. Patrick's day, she got the call she never expected.

She had gone back for a followup with her GP after developing yet another new symptom. Suspecting a drug interaction was to blame the doctor ordered bloodwork, just to make sure it wasn't anything more serious. She was floored when later that evening the same doctor called with her results, telling her she needed to get to the E.R., now. Her blood tests indicated Leukemia, and the doctors in the ER concurred. She was transferred in the middle of the night by ambulance to Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland and admitted immediately. 

On the morning of March 18 she began her new chapter of life as a leukemia patient. Further tests followed; a bone marrow biopsy, echocardiogram, countless blood tests. It would be another 3 days before the final diagnosis was in - Acute Myeloblastic(Myeloid) Leukemia - or AML. Now she had to wait for genetic testing to confirm whether she carried a specific genetic marker - the presence of which would dictate a more intensive course of chemotherapy would be required to treat her disease.

 In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, Laura was only allowed to have 2 visitors - 2 specific individuals whom she named, from the whole of the human population, would be allowed to visit her, and only one a time. Neither of her children were allowed to visit, as they were under 18. By the end of March 20, even those 2 individuals, her husband Mike, and her mother Dorine were forced to say goodbye until her treatment is complete, as the hospital went on full lockdown.

Finally on the evening of March 21 she received some good news.  She did not carry the genetic marker, the standard treatment could begin. At 8 pm, treatment commenced; seven days of continuous induction of chemotherapy drugs, to be followed by a week of monitoring and continued isolation, then a second bone marrow biopsy to confirm that all her leukemia is gone. If all goes well she will stay an additional 2 weeks, receiving followup treatment, and finally being released to return home after 4 weeks of being isolated from her family.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Laura Kennedy

Hi! It's a beautiful day at Geauga hospital! I've actually been home for about a week now. I got home last Wednesday and slept and slept.  I feel like I'm a little more tired this time around and since I've been home everything I eat has a bitter aftertaste, but I still feel good.

My picc line was giving me a bit of discomfort last week and was looking a little red, so they took some blood cultures to make sure it's not infected. Everything is negative, so it looks like the picc line gets to stay, which I'm thankful for, so they don't have to stick me every time we need a blood draw or chemo or infusion or anything.  So happy news.

Since my numbers are dropping as we would expect after chemo, I'm more prone to bloody noses, other bleeding and I'm seeing some more petichia again. So I am very thankful that I am getting platelets today to help stop all that. 

In other news.... Yay! The girls have a treehouse!  We cut down an 80 foot pine tree 2 summers ago. Last summer we began to build the treehouse on what we left.  This past weekend, my dad and Mike finished it up!  I'm attaching some pictures. They girls want to add a pulley system to the house on the second floor, and we'll get some chairs and things up there for them to hang out.  But the structure itself is complete! They are so excited! Fun Summer times!
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