Kristin was diagnosed with leukemia (AML, monosomy 7) in September of 2016. After two back-to-back induction chemotherapy courses that brought with them life-threatening complications, she gradually reached a tenuous remission. She recovered well with the goal of being healthy enough for a stem cell transplant.
We were fortunate to quickly find a matched unrelated bone marrow donor and her transplant went remarkably well in January of 2017. Post-transplant, she successfully overcame some serious and rare complications, but things really fell apart when her leukemia returned just a few months later.
In June of 2017, we left our kids and transferred to another city to start an experimental Phase 2 immunotherapy trial at MD Anderson in Houston. The resulting side effect nearly killed her - an indeterminate combination of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and/or grade 4 graft-versus-host disease caused the outer layers of skin to blister, separate, and literally fall off the majority of her body. The following weeks were an indescribable hell made worse by confirmation that the treatment had no effect on the leukemia...but she beat the odds and survived with a new mission: to regain her strength (literally learning to walk again) and resume the battle against her real foe.
She came home in August of 2017 and started maintenance therapy to keep the disease in check. But in February of 2018, it became clear that her maintenance therapy was no longer effectively controlling the leukemia, and she was enrolled in a different Phase 1 trial at MD Anderson. It is currently ongoing, and too early to tell if the drug is having any effect. For now, we only hope that it will control the disease long enough to get us to the next curative option.
In the meantime, she is transfusion dependent (would this be a good time to remind you to donate blood?). She is in physical therapy and making great strides - literally. We travel back and forth between our hometown and Houston weekly for monitoring and treatment at both locations, and this will continue for the foreseeable future.
Through it all, we have had dozens upon dozens of friends, family, coworkers, clients, and church family ask how they can help. Now I'm starting this GoFundMe as an outlet for those folks who want to do something more, but just don't know what.
We don't like asking for help, but I'm not too proud to admit that we could use a little these days.
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