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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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Tag Archives: Kaiser Permanente
It’s been many weeks since we provided an update on Deb’s health and her battle with acute myeloid leukemia, one of the most challenging and low survival rate cancers. For the past weeks, we have been waiting for results from … Continue reading
One thing Deb really hoped to avoid was going back into the hospital. For the past 7 weeks at home, Andy and I have done everything we could to keep that from happening. We’ve made sure that Deb receives all … Continue reading
Deb has been out of the hospital for a month now, and I know an update is long overdue. Deb was extremely weak when she came home, and is still struggling to do basic things like walk up stairs alone. … Continue reading
Deb was released from ICU last week and moved back up to her regular floor of the hospital. The care in ICU was excellent, but it is comforting to be back where we know all the wonderful nurses so well. … Continue reading
It’s been a tough week for Deb — and Andy and me too. Saturday morning Deb’s breathing tube was removed and she is completely off the ventilator and breathing on her own. However she is still experiencing labored breathing and … Continue reading
Last night the doctor lowered the sedation level for Deb, and she became fully awake and alert and communicated with us by writing questions. This morning they did a spontaneous breathing trial by turning the ventilator off and allowing Deb … Continue reading
Deb has been having difficulty breathing for some time, and edema (swelling) in her lower legs, feet and abdomen. A CT scan of her chest was done yesterday afternoon looking for a cause for her breathing difficulty, and the results … Continue reading
Deb’s chemo treatments were from Jan. 7-11. The side effects set in the second week, and she continues to deal with other challenging issues – breathing difficulties, coughing, fever, and low blood counts with frequent platelet and red cell transfusions. … Continue reading
As you know, Deb has been in Kaiser Permanente Terra Linda hospital recovering from respiratory problems – wheezing, difficulty breathing, and coughing. She has had three chest x-rays and two CT scans. The most recent CT scan showed a sinus … Continue reading
I am posting this lighthearted, healthy photo of me, as I fully aim to be healthy and cured of cancer forever! I encourage you to think of me this way – thank you. Unfortunately, my road to the cure for … Continue reading
Dear Friends, As you know we’ve been waiting for news on my bone marrow biopsy which was done twice because of inconclusive test results. Unfortunately, on Tuesday the Stanford doctor told me he is 99.5% sure that my condition is … Continue reading
Hi everyone, this is Mary Lou, Deb’s Mom. Deb had been recovering well from her stem cell transplant (March 19), with only minor issues over the past few months. By September she felt like she was getting more energy back. … Continue reading
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
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
Hi everyone, this is Mary Lou, Deb’s Mom. I haven’t written in a while since Deb has been feeling better and able to write her own blogs. The updates that Deb writes appear under the “Deb’s Blog” tab, so be … 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
I heard the absolutely best news ever on Wednesday, June 18 – which was exactly eight months after I was admitted to Kaiser Permanente to start chemo for acute myeloid leukemia. My Stanford doctor, Robert Lowsky, MD, met with my … Continue reading
I must say that my daughter Deb is a very brave gal. I was queasy just watching her procedures yesterday, but she handled everything amazingly well. Even with morphine, ativan and lidocaine, there was still pain. Luckily Deb has a … 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
BENEFIT TO HELP DEB HUBSMITH HEAL FROM LEUKEMIA FRIDAY, MAY 16, 8 pm – 2 am 15 Bands, 3 Venues, one price of $20: DOWNTOWN FAIRFAX
Dear Friends, Being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia last fall was a huge shock. I never thought I’d get cancer. But there I was, on October 17, facing down a serious blood cancer diagnosis. Soon, the reality set in that … Continue reading