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I'm blessed with a beautiful life, wonderful family and friends, and had an exciting career. But, in October 2013, I was suddenly stricken and diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) following a two week illness not unlike a flu. My life changed immediately.
I was treated by Kaiser Permanente Hospital in San Rafael, California for months where I received multiple rounds of chemotherapy. This treatment did not knock out my AML and my only hope for a cure was to go to Stanford Hospital for a bone marrow transplant (BMT) in March of 2014.
The BMT was very intense and painful but I made it out of Stanford alive. I was doing great and growing stronger until November of 2014 when my blood counts again dropped. I am now being treated for a rare bone marrow condition called serous atrophy, which keeps stem cells from functioning/multiplying properly in my bone marrow. I lost a significant amount of weight and have intense fatigue, must avoid public places (due to infection risk), and as a result spend much of my time lying in bed.
I deeply want to live but desire to have a quality of life that includes dance, community, working for environmental/social causes, being able to enjoy time in nature and spend quality time with my beloved newlywed husband Andy Peri.
I am surviving on blood transfusions and am in a place of yearning to survive. I am also open to letting go of this life with grace should my options fade away. What carries me more than anything else is the dramatic, soul-enriching love of family and friends and my own love and acceptance of change and all that has come to pass.
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Monthly Archives: March 2014
March 19 is Day 0, which is often referred to as a new birthday for bone marrow transplant patients. All that we know about Deb’s donor is that he is 32, a male, and international. Well, I guess we do … Continue reading
On Sunday Deb began to receive her second chemo drug, Cytoxan, which is given on Day -3 and Day -2. This is a strong chemo drug, and Deb was feeling tired and out of it all day. Saturday we took … Continue reading
The day Deb receives her stem cell transplant is referred to as Day Zero (Day 0). The days prior to Day 0 are “minus” days, and these are the days when the preparative regimen is given to prepare the body … Continue reading
Hi, this is Mary Lou (Deb’s Mom). Yesterday Deb and I moved out of the hotel where we stayed for Deb’s outpatient procedures. Deb was admitted to the hospital, and I have rented an apartment in the HOME Apartments, which … Continue reading
After thinking for months about the day I would be admitted to the Stanford Cancer Center for my bone marrow transplant, it has finally arrived! I feel as if I’m going on a long journey into the unknown, and I … Continue reading
Deb and I spent Wednesday and Thursday at Stanford Cancer Center for pre-admission appointments. Deb and Andy had been here several times already, but this was my first visit, and my first opportunity to meet Deb’s bone marrow transplant doctor, … Continue reading