Unbeknownst to us, all of those conditions were related to something that has been in her body since birth.
About 2 weeks ago, after Ally visited her General Practioner for some pain in her side that would not subside, the "whirlwind" began. She was immediately sent for ultrasounds, then a CT imaging, an MRI scan and ultimately a bone marrow biopsy.
We then met with a local hematologist/oncologist who delivered the devastating and unexpected diagnosis. My sweet and perfect daughter was diagnosed with a very rare form of blood cancer called Polycythemia Vera, or otherwise known as PV.
Ally is suffering from this rare cancer, and at this time there is no cure for her. PV is a progressive cancer, one that will continue to get worse and may eventually leave Ally with Myelofibrosis (MF), or acute Leukemia. PV causes Ally's bone marrow to produce too many red blood cells, which in turn makes her blood very sludgey. Because her blood is so thick, Ally has developed a large blood clot in her portal vein. The risk of more clots developing and leading to a stroke or heart attack are of major concern. She was immediately put on Eliquis, which will help thin her blood.
Physcially, the challenges Ally is facing is extreme fatigue - to the point of nearly being in bed all day long. If she doesn't have to go in to work, she is in bed. The cancer has made her spleen the size of a large eggplant which is causing her quite a bit of pain. She has difficutly sleeping at night because of the size of her spleen pushing against her other organs. She feels like her insides are just one big bruise. She's also suffering from terrible night sweats. She is now beginning to have trouble with her vision - blurred vision and blind spots, where she can't see. Her migraines have increased, as well.
Ally is currently being treated by a wonderful team of doctors at Duke University, as well as her local oncologist here in Hickory, NC. The treatment that is recommended for Ally is she will be going once a week for phlebotomy (essentially to rid her body of the all the extra red blood cells) and she just began her Chemotherapy treatment on Friday 8/19. With this treatment protocol, Ally should eventually start feeling relief from all of those symptoms I listed above. We're praying its sooner rather than later.
Presently, Ally is continuing to work as a server at Kickback Jack's in Hickory, NC. We are not sure how long she'll be able to keep up her schedule, as the Chemo treatment has it own set of issues on her health and well-being.
We are currently taking Ally to the oncologists office on a weekly basis. Our next visit to Duke will be in approximately 4 weeks. Any type of support or donation you can make to help offset the costs for Ally's treatment, medications and visits back and forth to Duke, would be such a huge blessing.
I never thought, in a million years, I would be asking our friends and family to help my daughter fight for her life. With Ally's current prognosis, we are hoping and praying for some good and quality years with her. However, since this cancer is so rare, and even more rare in someone as young as Ally (24), it gives the cancer all that much more time to eventually progress into the more difficult to manager cancers.
Ally is such a young and vivacious girl and I would love to afford the opportunity for Ally to go to those special places she's always dreamed of. She's already asking for a therapy dog :)
I can safely say, for all of you who know and love Ally, this girl always has a smile on her face. Nothing is more important to her than her friends, family and her great love of ALL animals. There isn't anything she wouldn't do for someone in need, whether it be a friend or a complete stranger. Just being in her presence and hearing her laugh is enough to lift anyone, within ear shot of her, out of a bad mood. Her heart has always been so precious and pure, and it breaks my heart to write these words. She is my precious girl, my first born, and she will always hold a piece of my heart forevermore.
As a mother, we would do anything for our children. If I could take this cancer from her body and keep it as my own, I wouldn't give it a second thought. She is so young to be afflicted by this horrible disease and as long as there is breath in me, I will do whatever I can to give her the most fulfilled life she could possibly dream of. Thank you all for considering our campaign for Ally. Please just share Ally's story on your social media pages. I will be forever indebted to all of you.
- Marge Mills
- Tiffany McNeely
- Regina Green
- Ginny DiAnna
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