Colleen was admitted on Friday, April 19th, 2019, to the Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, ND. She was just getting over a weeklong cough that was persistent. She noticed her heart rate was increased more than normal, but otherwise felt healthy. She also had a few bruises on her legs, which wasn’t that weird since the dogs were always jumping on her. But, Colleen woke up Friday, April 19th, and noticed abnormal bruising on her abdomen and chest. She also noticed there were blood spots on her tongue. Recognizing that something wasn’t right, she went to the Sanford walk-in clinic before work. They did some blood tests and were concerned with her low platelets and low white blood cells.
The Physician Assistant who was treating Colleen happened to work in Oncology previously and said “Let me walk over to Roger Maris Cancer Center since it is right down the hall. I want to consult with the Hematologist on call and see if we should admit you.” The PA left and returned 10 minutes later stating that the doctor wanted to admit her immediately and that the doctor would be upstairs soon to discuss a treatment plan. Within the hour the Hematologist was in Colleen’s room and said “after analyzing the lab work and examining the blood work that was sent to Pathology, I think you have Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL). We need to send a bone marrow sample and your blood work to Mayo to confirm it 100%." Once we heard the word Leukemia we were in shock, but the doctor said, “If you are going to have Leukemia, this is the one you want. It is very treatable and you have a very high survival rate”.
Then the Hematologist started her on medication to treat immediately and ordered the Bone Marrow Biopsy. They didn't want to wait, so started her on the non-chemo drug called All-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA).
Colleen will be in the hospital for 1-2 months for inpatient treatments and then will do 8-10 months of outpatient treatment every day, Monday-Friday, which will make working difficult. We have set up this page to help provide financial support as her PTO will quickly run out considering the extended treatment plan. If there is any money donated that is not needed, the family will be paying it forward. Thank you!