RhondaZ's Journey with Leukemia

Survivor: Leukemia

Patient Info: Finished active treatment more than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: about 35 years ago, Female, Age: 54

  1. 1
    about 4 years ago
    RhondaZ's Avatar

    Autologous Bone Marrow Transplant

    Procedure or Surgery

    Diagnosed with Acute Lymphatic Leukemia at the age of 20. Four months of Chemo and radiationto to get and stay in remission. Candidate for bone marrow transplant (vs 3 years of chemo treatments). However, no marrow donor match so I was a candidate for a "trial" program that treated the marrow with monoclonal antibodies (from mice). Had a full marrow aspirate in the morning to remove the marrow, 5 hours of radiation later that day - had to be done all in the same day since the antibodies only last 24 hours - and then the marrow was reinfused back in to my body intraveniously. Note, they no longer do this procedure; the radiation is too much and survival rate minimal. Recovery time was longer than I expected and in some cases, I am still recovering 30 years later. I was not notified of the side effects and in defense of the medical team, they weren't sure I would survive so I am sure that was not on their minds. however, due to the intense radiation and chemotherapy, I prematurally went through menopaue at 25, had cateracts and lens replacements in both eyes before I was 28, have continual problems with tooth decay, and extreme fatigue, which seems to get worse as I get older. On the good side, I am still here. I work a full-time job at the University of Idaho doing what I love to do. I have a wonderful husband, 2 great step-daughters and son-in-laws, and two wonderful grandchildren so am grateful to all the wonderful doctors and individuals that helped me get to where I am today.

    Went as Expected: Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
  2. 2
    over 2 years ago
    RhondaZ's Avatar

    Fatigue (tiredness)

    Side Effects

    The worst part of the entire process is the side effects down the line, fatigue and lack of energy being the worst of it.