Hi everyone, my name is Christine Nguyen, this is a really hard story for me to share but my family is currently in need and I'm hoping this will be a start.
March 3rd, 2015, was one of the most devastating days of my life. My 16 year old sister, Carly Nguyen, was diagnosed with Leukemia. She was diagnosed with a very rare form of Leukemia, Acute Myeloid Leukemia (M6) also known as "AML ". We were speechless. All we could do was cry.
My sister, Carly, had been complaining to my parents the previous month that she wasn't feeling well, had no appetite, was always fatigued, and her face/lips got really pale. At first, my family thought that my sister was just coming down with a flu until one day she had gotten a really bad nosebleed that woudn't seem to stop. We went to the ER and hours later they were able to stop it. The follwing week, my parents made a sick appointment for my sister because she still wasn't feeling well. They checked her out and did some blood work. The next afternoon, my parents received an alarming call from my sister's pediatrician that we had to take her to the emergency room right away. We took her to the ER at Children's Hospital on Michigan Ave, NW, and after all the tests were done, they told us that she has leukemia. That same week, they did the bone marrow biopsy to determine the exact type of leukemia. She has AML M6 (Acute Myeloid Leukemia). The doctor said we brought her just in time. Because of these reasons, treatment started immediately after the diagnosis. That Friday, she had a broviac placed under the skin in her chest for the injection of the chemotherapy. They also had to remove one of her ovaries because chemotherapy can damage the immature eggs. This way they can freeze any eggs that they found for the future when she is cured from this illness, and would like to bear children, then there is the possibility that the remaining ovaries will produce fertile eggs. Either way, sadly, there is no guarantee. As for chemotherapy, there are 4 cycles of chemotherapy, each cycle lasting longer than a month, now including a bone marrow transplant .
Carly had finished her first cycle in mid April. My sister did sadly lose her hair after the first few days of chemo, it was a really hard time for her because she had long, gorgeous hair. My sister did have a few side effects including: chills, fevers, and mouth sores. Unfortunately, after her first cycle of chemotherapy her first bone marrow biospy was questionable if all the cancer cells had been killed. She was required to have another bone marrow biospy which the doctors had confirmed there might still be some cancer cells in her bone marrow.
We have now just completed the second cycle of chemotherapy and are waiting for the ANC (Absolute Neutrophil Count ) to come up before we can go into the next cycle. This second round, Carly experienced the same side effects but did have a reaction to a blood transfusion and got a bad rash and hives. She now has to be pre-medicated with about 4-5 medications before receiving any blood products which is common to keep her blood counts up. Unfortunately, with her induction (first) cycle coming back slightly positive, the doctors are now considering doing a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT ).
My family each did blood work to determine whether or not we would be a "perfect" match for my sister. Sadly, none of us were. We were extremely discouraged but now we are trying to bring awareness and encouraging others to become a Bone Marrow Donor . This is one of the most important things for my family right now because we have not found the "perfect" bone marrow match for my sister. This could save my sister's life and there is nothing else I want but that. Please consider visting BeTheMatch.org to become a donor, you can save my sister's life or another person's life. All it requires is a cheek swab to determine if you are a match for anyone, including my sister. The actual process of bone marrow donation is very similar to donating blood; it is simple and harmless. I believe that it is FREE for anyone between the ages of 18 and 44. Please consider saving someone's life by becoming a bone marrow donor!
Besides, looking for a "perfect" match for my sister and having my sister even going through this is already hard enough but now my family is faced with this financial hardship.
My mom was employed as a contractor for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt for almost 25 years until they laid her off. Her unemployment has run out for a while now. She has now given up hope that her company will ever call her back. Even though, it seems like a blessing that she can be with my sister, but bills are never that kind. They keep coming. While insurance from my dad's job at the United States Post Office covers a decent amount of the expenses, there will still be significant hospital bills left to pay.
We are extremely blessed that my sister is staying strong and grateful for all of the support she's received!
Any help you can provide would be sincerely appreciated!
I encourage everyone to also look into becoming a bone marrow donor as well on BeTheMatch.org .
Please keep my sister Carly in your daily prayers.
Thank you so much for your time and consderation.
Whether or not you are able to donate or become a bone marrow donor, please consider spreading the word. Thank you.
Here is a video of my sister's supportive high school dedicated a day in honor of Carly. It was "Orange" day to support show my sister as well as bringing awareness about Leukemia.
#SetonStrong for Carly!
THANK YOU MS. DAVEY, MRS. ROEDER, SISTER ELLEN MARIE, AND THE SETON COMMUNITY FOR ALL THAT YOU HAVE DONE!