On March 9th, 2016, the lives of Laura Smith and her family would forever be changed. A trip to the St. Luke’s Emergency Room in The Woodlands would be the beginning step of a journey that neither she nor her family ever expected to take.
Several days prior to that fateful day, Laura had a wisdom tooth removed and suffered complications as the bleeding from the extraction site would not stop. After several days and multiple trips back to the dentist to try and get the bleeding under control, Laura was taken to the Emergency Room by her husband. By this time, Laura was extremely weak and knew that something needed to be done.
The E.R. staff took blood which was sent to the lab for testing. The nurse returned to Laura’s room and stated that they were concerned about the results which were indicative of Leukemia. A second set of labs was completed at which time Laura was given the dreaded confirmation that yes, it appeared she had Leukemia.
Within an hour of receiving this information, Laura was in an ambulance and was being transferred to the St. Luke’s Hospital located in the Houston Medical Center. Upon arriving in Houston, a team of doctors were readily waiting on her to begin running additional tests including a bone marrow biopsy. Once the testing was completed, Laura was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia or APL.
Laura would immediately begin receiving treatments of both an oral chemotherapy medication in conjunction with IV chemotherapy in the form of Arsenic Trioxide. Laura would spend the next 37 days in the hospital undergoing tests and receiving treatment for the Leukemia. Laura was released from the hospital on April 15th, 2016, with the knowledge that the treatment was working and that she was currently in remission.
Upon being released from the hospital, Laura immediately began receiving daily chemotherapy treatments as an outpatient in the Houston Medical Center where she is closely monitored. Laura’s treatment is scheduled to continue until sometime around the end of October 2016 when she’ll be able to “ring the bell” at the conclusion of her last treatment.
Acute Promylocytic Leukemia is a very rare and aggressive form of Leukemia. Thankfully, it is also highly curable. Studies show that only approximately 1300 people are diagnosed with APL annually. From the onset of the disease, a person has anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months to begin treatment before the Leukemia becomes fatal. Most people die from a massive brain bleed.
On the night Laura was diagnosed, it was determined that more than 80% of her blood was infected with APL. She was given two platelet transfusions and multiple blood transfusions. Laura and her family were told by numerous doctors that she is a walking miracle and that having her wisdom tooth removed undoubtedly saved her life. Laura and her family thank God every day for the miracle of her life and His healing power.
Thank you to all of our family and friends for your love and support through this trying time. Couldn’t do this without you…