Lisa’s Story

Site created on February 11, 2020


It’s been a trying couple of weeks. Actually, couple of months.

I wanted to say thank you for the cards, thoughts, and prayers.🙏  As many of you know, I hadn’t been feeling well since returning from the winter break.

On the morning of Wednesday, January 29, I was heating up quiches, picking up donut holes, and mixing a bowl of berries for the January birthdays at Indian Valley School, but by 10am I’d received a couple of calls from my doctor asking me to return her calls. She asked me to return to Walnut Creek Kaiser that afternoon to get a bone marrow biopsy, after seeing some bloodwork numbers they had done the day before. 


I drove home and had Jeff take me to WC Kaiser. The bone marrow biopsy (which I knew a lot about from TV shows, like Greys Anatomy😅 ), was as bad as I thought it was going to be.  Ouch! With a fever of 102, they sent me straight to the emergency room after the biopsy. As I sat in the ER, doctors confirmed that it was leukemia.  The plan was to admit me to WC Kaiser, knowing that I’d be transferred to Oakland Kaiser, their leukemia center, as soon as they had an open bed.


I spent Wednesday night at WC Kaiser, and all of Thursday. On Thursday they put in an Hickman catheter, so chemo could start intravenously as soon as I was set up in the leukemia center.  I was ambulance-cabbed to Oakland Kaiser about 11pm Thursday night. (Fun trip with Jay and Matt from NORCAL Ambulance😃 )

With the confirmation that I had Acute Myeloid Leukemia, I started chemotherapy on Friday about 5pm. It was a 24 hour, seven day drip, with a bedside chemo boost through the iv port on the first three days. Now the chemo comes two times a day orally, along with ALL SORTS of other bags of liquid making their way into me via my Hickman catheter. 

This is just the beginning of my story, even if it's day 14 in my world. I'll continue to update when I'm having a good day.🙏 

Newest Update

Journal entry by Lisa Santos

Hi all, 
I know it's been awhile since I've updated you, so here goes. 
Today is day 73 of being away from home, as I spent 4 weeks in Stanford Hospital, and then checked into a local Airbnb nearby for the remaining time. (I MISS HOME!) Thank you to everyone who brought a meal to the house for us! The girls and Jeff brought them out to the Airbnb, and we've had many awesome dinners! 😘 (and there are still some in the freezer at home!)

Today is day 65 post bone marrow transplant. It's been an up and down ride feeling fatigued, yet unable to sleep, suffering from nausea and vomiting, and numerous skin rashes. They say it's all part of the process of my body accepting the donor cells. Day 90 is the day they mark as release day - sending me home away from the comfort of the cancer clinic I visit 2 to 3 times a week. Good news is that I get to go home on day 79! They are encouraged by my recovery and will be doing the post-treatment bone marrow biopsy on August 3. Praying for🙏 no more cancer cells! I'll have my follow up appointment and results on August 10th. 

I'll continue to be on immune suppressant drugs and other drugs designed to help me stay healthy. They expect recovery to take up to a year. Due to Covid, I'll still be housebound, but at least it'll be mine! 

Thank you for all your prayers and words of encouragement. I feel them in my heart especially when I'm having a super tough day. 

I'll let you know when I'm cancer free! 😍
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