MY CBC Complete Blood Count Test STORY – JILL WHITNEY

My CBC Test or Full Complete Blood Count Clinic journey with MDS (Myelodysplastic Syndromes) began in December 2007. After playing volleyball with my youngest daughter, my forearms were badly bruised. Along with frequent headaches and fatigue, prompted me to schedule an appointment for a physical. Little did I know our lives were about to change forever.

We were preparing to depart on a cruise to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to celebrate my in-laws’ 50th anniversary. Still, my local haematologist wouldn’t let me go until a bone marrow biopsy was done. At first, he suspected a vitamin B-12 deficiency. B-12 injections helped briefly, but my counts slowly declined especially my platelets.

I was at a medium-level risk.

At the time, I was considered intermediate to high risk, and my only sibling was my half-brother, Jim, so a search began through the National Marrow CBC Donor Program. I continued working until we received word that four possible donor matches were found. Our youngest daughter was 14, and Stanford was four hours away from our home in Redding, California. 

I was admitted to the bone marrow transplant unit at Stanford on May 17th, and on May 25th, I received the life-saving stem cells from a 47-year-old male German donor. However, a few setbacks kept me isolated for longer than expected. I spent four days in the ICU due to an E. Coli blood infection and then contracted the BK virus.

The days drifted on and on.

I watched the days pass on a giant calendar that showed my daily CBC Full Complete Blood Count Test and notes of inspiration from the nurses. One good thing from my late release was meeting Alex Smith, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers and several other team members when they paid a surprise visit to the BMT Unit.

At first, my husband took me to the infusion treatment area daily for blood draws and to receive needed transfusions. Then, I came down with CMV virus and had to remain close to Stanford for an additional 6 weeks. 

8 Months marker

Eight months following the transplant, CBC Tests were regular for a Full Complete Blood Count, and we had been told that I had relapsed and a cond transplant wasn’t an option due to congestive heart failure. However, I had not yet recovered from the transplant and was now facing chemotherapy.

I gave myself insulin and Neupogen injections and had to take numerous medications. For 18 months, I required frequent transfusions until a bad reaction caused me to break out in huge welts all over my boy. Luckily, things started to ring around. Our second granddaughter arrived in February 2012. I pushed myself to get better so that I could be present at our youngest daughter’s high school graduation and our middle daughter’s wedding a few months later. My family kept dangling these carrots out in front of me so that I would keep fighting.

Treatments for Cancer Cause Suffering

I tolerate chemotherapy pretty well now and take medication to mitigate the side effects. We will have to look at other options when it is no longer effective, but I am so fortunate to have made it this far.

I started Signs of Hope and have created over a hundred inspirational signs to help others through difficult times. However, I have donated some to our local hospital and the oncology centre where I receive treatment. I also started an MDS support group in my community with the assistance of the MDS Foundation.

I am forever grateful for the incredible gift of life from my CBC Full Complete Blood Count Tested blood donor, Michael, and for the care I received from the outstanding doctors, nurses, and support staff at Mercy Medical Center and Stanford, including Dr. Gotlib and transplant specialist Dr. Wen-Kai Weng. Also, I would not be here today without my amazing family. Their love and encouragement have kept me pushing forward.

My Rock Sustained me.

My husband, Roger, has been my Rock. I can’t count how many times he has driven me back and forth to Stanford or how many hours he has spent sitting with me in doctor’s offices. He cooked, cleaned and took care of our youngest daughter and me. I know it wasn’t an easy job. My parents, Rick and Lynne, and our eldest daughter, Amber, were my caregivers when my husband was working, and my daughters, Candace and Kaylynn, helped in any way they could. We also had the support of extended family and friends.