Hello and thank you for reading my story. My name is Bailey Chapman, I'm 23 years old, and on Thursday (8/31/17) I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, AML for short. This disease starts in the bone marrow, where two categories of blood cells are made out of blood stem cells. These two categories are lymphocytes and myeloid cells. My Leukemia involves the myeloid cells, which form into red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. Medical bills, transportation for my family, rent and utilities, federal and private student loan payments, and the inability for me to hold a full time job for at least two months due to illness will cost an estimate of $15,000. I will explain more below, but first I'm going to provide a little backstory to what was going on in my life before this shocking diagnosis.
I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA in May, 2017. I have a degree in Contemporary Writing and Production and I LOVE to create Electronic Productions. I am in an Electro-Pop Duo with my girlfriend called Enta Tenta and we were slated to perform at a local New Hampshire festival this September. I am an avid gym-enthusiast and runner and starting this past May I noticed that my easy 4 mile runs weren't as easy anymore. I began to run less and less and I picked up other exercises like stair stepping to try and keep up my cardio. All of this was very subtle but over time my daily fatigue increased greatly, followed by night-sweats and fevers in the mornings and evenings. In July, I went to see my primary care physician only to be told that everything was fine and I needed to just get some rest. By August, going to the gym only exhausted me and left me bed-ridden for the rest of the day. I didn't make food for myself because I didn't have the energy to move around the house. All of this was very confusing to me, because some days I felt okay while other days I couldn't be bothered to do anything because my energy was so low.
This brings us to last week (8/28/17). I went to the doctor on Monday to get a second opinion. In order to obtain a bigger picture of my situation, the doctor took several blood samples and sent them to the lab for analysis. During this time, I needed to be packing up all of my possessions to move across town and into my new apartment with my girlfriend Rachel Alix. While I was beginning to prepare for Friday's move, I got a call from my doctor telling me that I needed to go to the hospital ASAP because my blood counts were extremely abnormal.
After several hours of check in and waiting at the Beth Israel Medical Center Hospital on Tuesday (8/29), I was finally seen by their Oncology/ Hematology specialists. I was told that my red blood cells (which carry oxygen from the lungs to all other tissues in the body, and take carbon dioxide back to the lungs to be removed) and my platelets (cell fragments which help plug up holes in blood vessels caused by cuts or bruises) were extremely low. Additionally, a form of my white blood cells called blasts were abnormal. These blasts are immature white blood cells that divide quickly and don't stop dividing when normal cells would. This means that without treatment, most patients with AML would live only a few months. Luckily, my doctors think that my Leukemia was caught early enough and that I will do well with treatment.
This brings us to today (9/4/17). I've been in the hospital almost a week, and I started what is known as 7+3 chemo last Sunday. This means two types of chemo, one that last 3 days and one that lasts 7. They overlap, so I'm going through 7 days total of chemo as the first phase. This is called the 'Induction' phase. Side effects so far have been nausea and continued low energy, as the chemo attacks all of my cells in order to eliminate the leukemia cells. Today, my blasts are low and getting lower, which is promising. I am receiving blood and platelet transfusions when necessary and receiving a range of antibiotics to prevent infections due to my immune system being dangerously low.
If all continues to go well, I will be in the hospital for 28 days followed by more (about 2 week long) hospital visits for what is called the 'Consolidation Phase' of my chemo. If the leukemia is all gone and my blood counts return to normal, I will be considered in 'Remission' and will be able to go back to normal life.
Now my insurance covers at least half of my hospital stay, but as you can imagine medical bills are quite expensive (estimated at $12,000 out of pocket when this is all over). Transportation for my family and girlfriend will be about $1000 to bring me supplies and watch over me during my stay and beyond. I am also unable to work a full time job for the forseeable future and my rent and utilities will cost $1200 a month. Starting this November, I will need to begin making student loan payments, which will be about $1100 a month. All the meanwhile my girlfriend Rachel will be working a full time and a freelance job in Cambridge to be able to support herself and myself while I'm in this debilitating condition. We NEED your help so that we can afford to pay for all of these bills and hopefully have some cushoining as I try to get back into the work force in 3 months (it could be longer depending on the outcome of the chemo).
ANY donation you can give will make a HUGE difference in my life and the life of my family, and I am so humbled and grateful for any and all support. We are spending a lot of money daily to keep me at the hospital so any donation will be instantly useful in our lives. From covering expenses as small as daily food and commute costs, to electricity costs at the new apartment, to helping with rent and paying these enourmous medical bills, every donation helps.
I have set up different Reward Levels to provide life updates, insights, and entertainment to those who are interested. I'm also a dedicated musician, so some reward levels have musical goodies in there! Like I mentioned, I am in an Electronic-Pop duo with my girlfriend, and we have been planning on releasing a new single and EP this year. Check the Reward Levels to see all the ways I can show you my gratitude.
Thank you for reading!
- Shaqed Druyan
- Fuat Aki
- Thomas Humphrey