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Inspirational Stories


chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML)

It’s hard to even know where to begin. I was 63 years old, a happily working professional in health policy and advocacy. I know the power of an organization like The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS); a daughter, wife, mom, grandma, and dog mom.

I was traveling with my husband, and I had a side pain. I thought might be a gallstone.

A visit to my doctor, an ultrasound, and a run of blood labs sent me within hours to the local cancer center, the OSU James Comprehensive Cancer Center. I was admitted to the leukemia floor. What??

A bone marrow biopsy and lots of labs later, I was diagnosed with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) with concerning mutations. One visit to the hematologist after discharge was recommended to the bone marrow transplant team. Within two months I was scheduled for a transplant.

I did get LOTS of information from LLS. (After all ‘Dr.Google’ is not highly reliable!) And I did get a one-time support grant from LLS. Thank you.

I entered the hospital on February 9, 2021- my wedding anniversary- for chemo followed by a transplant on February 15. I was discharged on March 5 with all going pretty well. But by September my transplant was failing and BMB showed a return of CMML.

I guess the good news is that despite CMML- I was relatively strong and "healthy" in other ways. I passed all pre-transplant tests once again and had a second transplant in December 2021.

After 30 days I was discharged with 100% donor by chimerism tests and have remained there since. I will be 2 years old on December 13.

I am extremely grateful for excellent care, a generous donor, and the entire care team at the James.

Both transplants- I had different donors, but more than one 10/10 option.

Through the multitude of doctor appointments, labs and blood draws — one meets a lot of other patients. I became very aware of the disparity of care for those with black and brown skin simply because the donor registry is not as robust for these populations.

I’m working with BeTheMatch to recruit more donors.
I was also fortunate to have employer-based insurance and everything was covered. I am since on Medicare and well, that’s a different story. I can’t imagine the impact of blood cancer and those with no insurance or less good insurance.

Today I am almost 2 years in remission and very fortunate. I am eager to advocate for research for blood cancer and for helping others.

I lived to greet three more grandchildren (a total of 5)!
Life is good!

chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML)