Beating AML! Jennifer A.'s Journey!

Join us to help contribute to Jennifer's Acute Myeloid Leukemia campaign.  To better understand Jennifer's journey, what better way than to hear about it directly from her.  The following are excerpts from Jennifer's writings.......

January 25th: "In December and I had 2 knots in my jaw line. I figured they were swollen glands from a minor cold or viral infection. On January 13 th, I woke with a swollen face and neck. I went to medical of Dubious. They tested me for the flu and strep throat, both were negative. They told me that I had a clogged gland and that they had become infected. They gave me steroid shot, steroid pills, antibiotics, a special mouth wash for a sore that I had on the bottom of my tongue, and a pain / anti-inflammatory pills. They told me that I was not contagious. 
January 17th, I had a little night sweats and a low grade fever. I had just finished my antibiotics and steroids on Wednesday so I just figured it was my body just adjusting to not have the meds.  January 18, I started running a very high fever throughout the evening hours and night. It took alternating Tylenol and Ibuprofen every 3 hours to get the fever down to 101. When I woke on January 19th I had a 104.7 fever. This is when I decided it was time to see the doctor again. When I called them they asked me to come in around 11:30. They also did a flu test and it was negative. After seeing the Dr. she sent me to the hospital to have some blood tests and x-rays. While I was at the hospital waiting to get my blood drawn Dr. Yearsley came over and told me that she was also ordering a EKG. After getting my labs done and then being moved to radiology for my x-rays I realized that my fever was starting to go back up and I was not feeling the best. They did my first set of chest x-rays and while they were setting up the second set I started to black out. Thank God for the fast thinking young student who was helping in radiology that day for catching me before I hit the floor. You have been in my "things I am thankful" prayers.Needless to say I was now being wheeled around the hospital in a wheel chair. By the time they got done with my EKG Dr. Yearsley was starting to get blood tests and she called me in the room of my EKG to inform me that she was having me admitted to the hospital and that something was not ok. By the time they had moved me to my room my fever was up to 104.5. The nurse practitioner came in and gave me a phone and told me that Dr. Yearsley needed to talk to me. Dr. Yearsley informed me that she felt that some of preliminary blood tests and a smear test was leading her to believe that I either had a lymphoma or leukemia. I was put in Isolation in the ICU. By Sunday my oncologist informed me that one more of the blood tests came back and pretty much made it definite that I had leukemia. He said he was calling IUPUI and finding out how long it would take to get a bed. Within less than 2 hours I was in the back of an ambulance riding north to my new home.  Monday, January 22. I had my first bone marrow biopsy, was givin a lot of info on leukemia and treatments. With Jim and Nathan by my side, the decision to get the treatment that puts me in the best place for kicking leukemia's  ass was made. At 10:00 pm I started chemotherapy. I was on a 24 hour a day 7 days a week chemo drip. For the first 3 nights there was an additional chemo added. 
January 26th: Tests on January 26th show that I have FLT3 Mutated cells. The mutated cells are more resistant to the chemotherapy. So my new treatment I will start taking a pill twice a day to help with this. This will also push off the day for my next bone marrow biopsy from Feb. 5th    to Feb. 12. Then this also means that after all is said and done and I get  to remission, I will now have to have a stem cell transplant.
February 12: Here is what I know, they did not do a biopsy because the blood test they did this morning showed that my ANC # was 100. This is my magical # that they have been telling me about and that it would need to be at least 500 before I could go home and has up until today been 0. Now this # is starting to rebuild itself. So, when I get to 500 I get to go home and we will do an outpatient biopsy when it get's closer to the time for my transplant. We are still waiting to see if I have a match out there in one of my siblings for the stem cell transplant.
March 1st:  I will start the process for the stem cell transplant now. I have to keep my numbers up and stay healthy because my cancer is a sneaky one and will only stay in remission so long and I have to stay as healthy as possible because the sooner we can get this started the sooner I can get on with my new life as a survivor! You will not be seeing me out much. Jim is being very protective (bless his heart). He is not wanting me out in situations were the flu could be. I am def going to stay out of stores for a while yet. I am so thankful to everyone for all of your help with everything. I will be keeping all of you posted on how things are moving forward. This next step will be about a 4 to 6 month process depending on how I do. I am strong and plan to get better as fast as possible. Nest week Malinda and I will be making our first trip to Indy to get our physicals to make sure everything is in good working order. I have to see a dentist and my family doctor as soon as possible. All is going to move quickly. I am excited to get this new chapter started. I am so happy that it is not going to be a repeat of the last chapter."


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Jennifer Ahrens Reinhart 
Saint Anthony, IN
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