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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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Category Archives: Deb’s Blog
It was one year ago today, on October 17, 2013 when I got a call that changed my life forever. Dr. Lori Kim, an amazing Oncologist from Kaiser Permanente called me at 11:30 AM to let me know that the … Continue reading
Throughout my entire life I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the world. I found my niche in the late 1990s with Safe Routes to School and never looked back. Good ideas have a way of catching on, which … Continue reading
Some people watch the stock market, examining each up and down and analyzing what it means. I watch my blood counts… During my last visit to the Stanford Clinic, Dr. Lowsky said that I don’t need to have any more … Continue reading
On July 17, I had an awesome visit with my Stanford bone marrow transplant doctor, Dr. Robert Lowsky. The date of the appointment was exactly nine months since I was diagnosed with leukemia; now the cancer is gone and the … Continue reading
I’m honored that the Marin County newspaper the Pacific Sun published a cover story this week on my recovery from leukemia and my environmental and health career since the 90’s — improving walking and bicycling in Marin and nationwide. You … Continue reading
June 27, 2014 was the magic mark of 100 days after my bone marrow transplant! This means that I made it through the most difficult phase of healing from leukemia, but my doctor keeps reminding me to take it easy … Continue reading