If you were to ask the people who have gotten to know our mother how they would describe her, you'd most assuredly hear words such as "kind", "selfless", "considerate"; unfortunately, the word she has now adopted is "fighter".
16 months ago : Amy is living in South Carolina managing a team within a retirement care facility when she suddenly deteriorates into a state of labored breathing and complete exhaustion over the course of a few days. Multiple ER visits led her to believe she had "bronchitis". Days later she is hospitalized, given rudimentary care, and discharged. She remains incapable of working or functioning and is hospitalized 2 more times in 2 weeks; these events are nearly fatal as her hemoglobin levels reach 3 g/dL. (Normally, a woman is considered 'anemic' with a hemoglobin level of 12 g/dL; lower readings correlating to greater risks of stroke). At this time, leading physicians in Columbia assume she is entering the stages of Leukemia.
Fast forward a few weeks and Amy is on broad spectrum antibiotics that offer her enough relief and maintain hemoglobin levels enough to relocate her back to Utica, NY to be closer to her family. She immediately begins seeing specialists at the Wilmont Cancer Center at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY.
After several extensive weeks of testing and experimental avenues of trial and error, she received her official diagnosis:
Our mother is currently battling a very rare dual diagnosis of Hematolic Anemia, an autoimmune disease, and Myelofibrosis: a complicated form of blood cancer.
Those who receive appropriate treatment for myelofibrosis and have few other risk factors have a median survival rate of approx. 40% over 5 years. The average lifespan from diagnosis being 2-11 years for sufferers.
The months have gone by, as have all the treatment avenues available. Steroids, immunosuppressants, targeted chemotherapy, 3 bone marrow biopsies and dozens beyond dozens of trips to and from Rochester with extensive hospital stays sprinkled in between. All of which have failed.
Thus, we are approaching the last option in our mother's fight for her life.
On November 10th our Mom will begin her very long and arduous journey of undergoing a bone marrow transplant.
As one can imagine, this is a massive undertaking with countless risks and potential hurdles in the road. The chemo and radiation will wipe out her immune system, she will be hospitalized in a completely sterile and isolated environment for 1 full month with no visitors, followed by 2 months of rehabilitation care, and an additional 6 months of round-the-clock monitoring at home when she returns.
In all honesty, we are scared. It is a long and difficult road ahead, but there is a light that we hope to see at the end of all this.
In our time of need we turn to you all: friends, family, neighbors, and those with kind hearts.
To help with the gas and the tolls needed for us to make it to Rochester; for the days and weeks we will all have to miss as we help our mother rebuild herself; for the hospital bills and medications; we turn to you all and ask for your help.
Any donations to help in our mothers fight is appreciated from the deepest part of our heart, and we thank you all for any kind words, prayers, and assistance that you provide.
With Love and Hope,