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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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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
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
Good news! The plan is that I’m moving home soon! I left Marin on March 9 to come to Stanford Hospital to have my bone marrow transplant (BMT) and to be cured of AML forever. I was discharged on April … Continue reading
Sunday morning, May 25, Deb woke up with a queasy stomach. She didn’t have much appetite and couldn’t finish her breakfast, which is usually a fairly substantial meal for her. Andy was here, and they had planned to go to … Continue reading
In the world of bone marrow transplants (BMT), everything is measured in terms of how many days have passed since my “new birthday,” the day I received the life-saving stem cells from my anonymous donor who we affectionately call “Mr. … Continue reading
Happy Easter everyone! It’s another lovely sunny day in Stanford. Since we’ve been here, day after day has been beautiful and cloudless, one of the things that people love so much about California … unless, that is, you cannot be … Continue reading