Sutter Cancer Centers
Talking with Selene you would have never guessed she is already a cancer survivor. Last year the 20-year-old was busy enjoying life as a new mom to a baby girl when she started noticing bruises on her body. First, she thought nothing of it, but after a while her mom suggested they go to their local health clinic in Reno.
“The doctors ran some tests and told me I had a very low platelet count,” said Selene. “They gave me a treatment to help my numbers go up. I didn’t think much of it, but then two days later the doctor called us back and told me I needed to go to an emergency room immediately.”
At the hospital Selene went through more tests. Finally, she was given a diagnosis of leukemia.
“I had never heard of leukemia before so initially I wasn’t sure what to think of it,” said Selene. “My mom was really upset. But I have faith in God, and I knew I was going to be OK.”
After undergoing a month of chemotherapy at her local hospital in Reno, Selena’s physician referred her to Michael Carroll, M.D., Medical Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at Sutter Cancer Center in Sacramento.
“When we first met Dr. Carroll, he was so nice,” said Selena. “He explained the process of a blood and marrow transplant to me and my mom in detail. He also suggested we test my family to see if there was a match.”
None of Selene’s family members were a match, so while Selene started another round of chemotherapy, the Sutter Cancer Center Blood and Marrow Transplant Team started searching through the National Marrow Donor Program’s national donor registry.
On Dec. 31, Selene had her transplant from an unrelated donor at Sutter Medical Center,Sacramento. On the cusp of New Year’s Day, she was ready to make a new start to renewed health.
“I was tired after my transplant, and after being discharged I had to have blood infusions” said Selene. “But slowly I was able to get off most of my medications and start walking and playing with my daughter more and more. I am used to keeping busy, and I think that helped my recovery.”
Five months later, Selene has a clear biopsy, her donor cells have almost fully taken over and there are no leukemia cells present.
“I’ve had so much support through this experience,” said Selene. “From the BMT team who provided us with a housing grant so my family could stay local while I received my treatment, to those that helped find my donor, and to my family, including my daughter who is only 2 years old, but would ask me how I was feeling.
Learn more about blood and marrow transplant.
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