mhaughton's Journey with Acute Myelomonocytic Leukemia (M4)

Survivor: Leukemia > Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) > Acute Myelomonocytic Leukemia (M4)

Patient Info: Finished active treatment more than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 12 years ago, Female, Age: 35

  1. 1
    • mhaughton
    • Experience with Acute Myelomonocytic...
    over 4 years ago
    mhaughton's Avatar

    Hospitalization

    Other Care

    It had been a long day at work. Working at Michael's in Clovis, I put out merchandise and stored the overstock, lots of heavy lifting. All day I felt like something heavy on my chest and I felt really tired. When I arrived home after work, I took some Advil PM and decided to go to sleep. After I don't know how long after I fall asleep, but I am suddenly awake a little later. I feel nauseated and I think I'm going to throw up. I get up out of bed to go to the bathroom and everything goes black. My eyes open again and I'm on the bedroom floor. My roommate yells "Melissa are you ok?" She bursts in the bedroom after hearing nothing. I am too weak to say anything. I am now panting like a dog and I can't catch my breath. She says, "Melissa who do I call?" I look up at her and whisper "My parents.." and I tell her the number with each breath I take. Within 25 minutes my parents are at my apartment in Fresno, they must have driven fast because it's a 45 minute drive with no traffic usually from Visalia. My mom and dad come in the room and see me on the floor. They ask me if I want to go to the hospital and I nod. My mom finds me clean pajamas and underwear, and helps me change. They help me get up after dressing me, and ask me to walk. At this point I am still panting like a dog because I just can't catch my breath. I start to walk but I am too weak and tired. So my dad has to scoop me up in his arms and walk down a flight of stairs to the mustang. I lay down in the back of the mustang, and they take me to the nearest hospital, which happens to be Saint Agnes. It feels like I'm in a race car we're going so fast and within minutes we arrive at the hospital. My dad scoops me out of the back of the mustang into his arms and proceeds quickly to the emergency room. I don't know exactly how long it was seconds, minutes before I was in a chair and they were checking all my vitals. I am still breathing fast, and the nurses proceed to question me. They ask "Melissa did you do any drugs?" I shake my head at them and frown because they asked me such a stupid question. I say "I took some Advil PM earlier to help me sleep." The nurses look like they have no idea what is going on, my dad looks completely XXX about the drug questions, and my mom looks concerned. After a few minutes I am in a room on another supposed comfortable bed, but I cannot get comfortable. There are nurses and Doctors now asking me if I smoke, if I did anything to myself, blah blah blah. I still can't catch my breath and chest really hurts now, and I don't want to answer anymore stupid questions. One of the nurses comes and puts an IV in my arm, and then they give me something to calm me. Within a few minutes I throw up from the medication they gave me. I don't feel panicked anymore but nauseated. Another tech comes in and does an X-ray on my chest and lower abdominal region. After I don't know how long because the medication is making me sleepy now. My parents are still in the room, my mom is holding my hand, and my dad is watching and listening to the doctors.The doctors receive the X-rays and look at them, they immediately start talking loudly about how to treat me. Then the conversation evolves into an argument. They are arguing about what should happen first. My organs are all enlarged and there is water around my heart, causing it to be squeezed and it's not getting proper blood circulation. One of the docotors wants to take out my gall bladder first, and the other wants to do heart surgery first. As soon as I hear them, I start shaking because I am terrified. I have no idea what is going on, and these doctors are arguing. After all the shouting, they decide on the heart surgery without the removal of the gall bladder. I am dressed in a cap, they put socks on my feet, and put me in a gown. I have never been naked in front of so many people in my life put together, seriously. Another tech shows up to take me to where they are getting ready for surgery. I have never been in the hospital for anything other than a few broken arms when I was younger, so I try not to think about what is happening. But I can't help the fear I feel and the tears start because I am terrified that will never see my family, my cat...blah blah blah. Before we enter the room, my mom and dad are right next to the gourney. And they tell me they'll be waiting for me when I come out and I close my eyes as the gourney rolls into the room. The gourney stops, I look up and there a huge machine above me, I have no idea what it is. I look over and I am still hooked to an IV. They give me something, then I feel sleepy and less anxious, but I can't sleep. I hear the doctors talking with the nurses, but I can't make out what they are saying. I feel so groggy, yet aware. I am now aware that the top of my gown has been moved down and they are putting some kind of sheeting over my chest, just leaving the sternum and such open. All I can think about is my breasts because I feel so exposed, and I think to myself about how they probably don't get to see nice ones like I have often. The machine above me is now on, and the doctors are asking me me to open my eyes, and that they need me awake for this. I feel awake and I open my eyes to see my own live X-ray...I think. I feel like I can see my heart beat and all my major veins, and I see something enter....it's a big needle. I only feel a pinch, then within in seconds I see something suctioning liquid out and I feel a pulling at my chest. Happened so fast and the medication, that it is finally over....and I am allowed to close my eyes, and I fall asleep for I don't know how long. The next time I open my eyes, I'm in another room...the recovery room. My chest hurts and I feel like something is pulling at it again. I weakly look up and see a tube still my chest with an accordion like contraption attached to the end of it. I see a nurse checking the attatchment, and everything else I'm attached to. Then I see my mom at my side, she's holding my hand for minutes. I think I moved into my own hospital room after minutes or hours I am not sure. When I open my eyes, my family is there. I see one of my sisters, step-brother, aunt, grandma, grandpa, and my parents. A nurse comes in and checks all my vitals, all the machines I'm hooked to, and then squeezes the accordion. I feel the pulling at my chest again. I feel the pain, and I'm sure my family see's it on my face. My sister and step-brother start crying, and my step-brother tries to distract everybody by saying something smartass to me. I don't remember what it was, but everybody in the room is laughing and I am too...trying to anyways but it hurts, so I flip him the bird. They started laughing harder, and I think my step-brother cried harder, because he knew I was fine if I could still flip him off. I think everyone was relieved after that. I am hooked to a bunch of machines that beep every second or minute, or whenever they need to be checked, and I can barely sleep. My parents are still there, they are taking turns on staying with me. The nurses are constantly checking on me, turning the lights on and off, I think I turn on the TV to see if there is anything that can put me to sleep. There is nothing...I watch like a zombie hoping that I will fall asleep. It is like this for it's seems like a week. I think to myself I should be going home soon.

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  2. 2
    • mhaughton
    • Experience with Acute Myelomonocytic...
    over 4 years ago
    mhaughton's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    I wake up, and I look around in my room. There is no one around but the constant beeping of the machines to keep me company. Finally after minutes of being awake, my parents come back into the room. I ask my dad, "Am I going to be able to go home today?" He smiles a little, holds my hand and then says "We'll see what the doctor has to say, ok?" I look at my mom, she has a straight face, and she is now holding my hand too. I look at them because I don't understand, why do they look like they're hiding something. I am distracted by a woman doctor that comes into the room, she introduces herself as Dr. Parveez, of onocology. I still don't understand, I look at my parents, then her. My dad starts crying followed by mother, they are each holding a hand. Then the doctor says that she just by accident found abnormal white blood cells in my blood sample, and liquid sample from what was taken from around my heart. By accident? I still don't know what she means. The doctor finally comes out and says. "You have been diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia..." My heart starts to race because I have always heard of bad stories of people dying with Leukemia. I start to cry so hard and I don't even know what it is. She continues to say that she is going to put me on a dose of chemotherapy that should put me into remission with my first treatment, with four more treatments following one week off and three weeks in the hospital. The four additional treatments are to make sure that I stay in remission. I can't stop crying because I right away think I am not going to have a future. Chemo? Me? I never thought I would be one of those sad stories you hear about. The doctor leaves the room to give us some time. My parents are sobing with me, and my dad tells me he's sorry because he has known for two days. That explains why he would never answer me when I asked if I was going home. They tell me they love me, and they are there for anything that I need or want. I still cannot wrap my head around this...me sick?

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  3. 3
    • mhaughton
    • Experience with Acute Myelomonocytic...
    over 4 years ago
    mhaughton's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  4. 4
    • mhaughton
    • Experience with Acute Myelomonocytic...
    over 4 years ago
    mhaughton's Avatar

    Nausea/Vomiting

    Side Effects

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

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  5. 5
    • mhaughton
    • Experience with Acute Myelomonocytic...
    over 4 years ago
    mhaughton's Avatar

    Surgery

    Procedure or Surgery

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

    Went as Expected: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  6. 6
    • mhaughton
    • Experience with Acute Myelomonocytic...
    over 4 years ago
    mhaughton's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
    0 Comments
  7. 7
    • mhaughton
    • Experience with Acute Myelomonocytic...
    over 4 years ago
    mhaughton's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
    0 Comments
  8. 8
    • mhaughton
    • Experience with Acute Myelomonocytic...
    over 4 years ago
    mhaughton's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
    0 Comments
  9. 9
    • mhaughton
    • Experience with Acute Myelomonocytic...
    over 4 years ago
    mhaughton's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
    0 Comments
  10. 10
    • mhaughton
    • Experience with Acute Myelomonocytic...
    over 4 years ago
    mhaughton's Avatar

    Get bone marrow transplant or not?

    Decision Point

    This person has yet to add any details about this experience.

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  11. 11
    • mhaughton
    • Experience with Acute Myelomonocytic...
    over 4 years ago
    mhaughton's Avatar

    Implant chemotherapy port

    Procedure or Surgery

    Right away I am scheduled to get a port implanted for chemotherapy treatment. I don't know what the XXX is going on and I let my parents make the decisions because I can't think. Again my top is off for implant procedure, I am so embarrassed that I am naked. They give me something in my IV, I'm pretty sure it's morphine at this point and something to help me sleep. I can feel it spread through my entire body immedietely. They also give me some numbing agent on the lower part of my right shoulder, and then they begin cutting and I am out. I wake up back in my room and now I have stitches on my lower right shoulder area and it's lumpy underneath the stitches. And there are two tubes attached to the port...through my skin with needles. The needles go into the port underneath, which is tapped into the veins into my heart. This is so I can get the medication straight into the veins.

    Went as Expected: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Recovery: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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