Kicking Leukemia's Butt

I have not had it easy and anyone who knows me knows that. in 2003 I had a near fatal car accident that left me fighting for my life. I had a compound femur bone fracture and actually lost 2 inches of my femur bone. The doctors told my parents that i would probably not survive and if i did i would most certainitly never walk again. The whole left side of my body had to be rebuilt with metal rods, plates, pins and screws. After enduring 37 surgeries to fix the damage and try to resume  a normal life. I fought against the odds and walked again. I walked away from that with mutliple injuries, fractures and shattered bones. 10 years later I married the love of my life Michael. Now just a year and a half after saying our vows i was diagnosed with MDS which is a form of leukemia. The doctors say that it potentially could have something to do with the accident that I was in and the transfusions that i received but there is absolutely no way to know for sure. I am certain it does have something to do with my car accident from 2003 because no one in my family has EVER had any kind of cancer. I was diagnosed on Wednesday Decemeber 10 was referred to the oncologist at Northwestern on Thursday December 11 and had surgery to have a port installed on Friday Decemeber 12. I began chemo therapy on Monday December 15. I went five days a week per month. So my chemo is Monday thru friday one week every month.  While undergoing treatment I am being sent to the hospital once to twice a week for blood transfusions and or platelette transfusions. I am unable to work because I am so nauseus that I cant even eat most of the time. I had lost over 20 pounds since diagnosis which the doctors were extremely concerned about. I have absolutely NO immune system so when someone else catches a cold its ok if i do it could kill me. I am unable to work and for how long is unknown. I have  undergone several months of chemo and then I had to have a stem cell transplant.   The transplant was done at Northwestern Hospital in downtown Chicago. I had to have genetic testing done before surgery which caused an infection in my arm and turned into cellulitis and that put me in the hospital alot sooner than planned. I was in excruciating pain and fighting a severe infection with no immune system. Once they got the infection under control I had to have my stem cell transplant. I spent just over three months in the hospital to get out and come home and end up back in the hospital again and then came home again and then back into the hospital again. Part of this battle is that every time I get sick I have to be very careful and the doctors are so cautious because the slightest thing could kill me. Now that I am home I have to see my oncologist/transplant team once a week in Chicago and have blood work done three times a week to check all my levels. I have to undergo physcial therapy as spending three months in bed has killed all my muscles so I walk with a walker and am very unsteady. I take 26 pills a day which translates to seven times a day I take meds. I have lost almost 50 lbs so none of my clothes fit and all I can wear is pajama's. Not a great way to loose weight and the doctors are concerned with the weight loss. Its going to be a long and hard road to recovery. In the meantime we are down to one income which is my husbands and when he has to take time off  he ran out of paid time off and well be down to no income. Were asking for help to offset the cost of everything including multiple medications, time lost from work, and all the medical bills that are now piling up and ruining our great credit.  I understand that not everyone is in the situation to be able to help but if you were to donate even a dollar it all adds up and any help would be greatly apprecaited.


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Tina Terpstra-Hollis 
Braidwood, IL
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