Acute myeloid leukemia(AML), also known as acute myelogenous leukemia, is a cancer of the myeloid line of blood cells, characterized by the rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells that accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal blood cells.
AML is the most common acute leukemia affecting adults, and its incidence increases with age.Although AML is a relatively rare disease, accounting for approximately 1.2% of cancer deaths in the United States, its incidence is expected to increase as the population ages.
The symptoms of AML are caused by replacement of normal bone marrow with leukemic cells, which causes a drop in red blood cells, platelets, and normal white blood cells.
These symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, easy bruising and bleeding, and increased risk of infection.Several risk factors and chromosomal abnormalities have been identified, but the specific cause is not clear.
As an acute leukemia, AML progresses rapidly and is typically fatal within weeks or months if left untreated.I know many people over the last couple of weeks have asked about me having leukemia & how we found out.
Tuesday 9-27-2011: My morning started off as normal. I had to go to the dentist about a tooth that had been giving me some issues. While at the dentist, I found out that they would not pull the tooth that day. I was upset due to the pain, but looking back I say thank God, because them not pulling the tooth is what saved my life. Later that night, Todd and I were enjoying a quiet night of watching television. Todd could tell that I was in pain & the meds I had weren’t working. Around 9:00 we made the choice to go to the ER. We get to the ER around 10 & didn’t get home till 4a.m. Wednesday morning. While at the ER, the doctor ran some lab work on me. When the labs came back abnormal the doctor ran a 2nd set of tests on me.
Wednesday 9/28/2011: After a very long night in the ER, Todd and I still didn’t know what was going on with my lab works. The doctor said we had to see another doctor at 8am. The new doctor had been talking with the ER about my labs, they felt I could not wait on seeing him. We still had no clue what was going on and we were running on very little sleep. This was the 1st person to bring up the L word a.k.a. “Leukemia”. He was telling us that I “might” have it, but as he was on the phone talking with my doctors I sat there and listened to him tell the doctor that I had leukemia and he felt they could help me more then he was able to.
Thursday 9/29/2011: This is the real day that changed my life forever!! I had to be at the Blood and Marrow Transplant Group to have my first bone marrow test at 7:30 am. Let me say that is one party I wish I could have skipped as the guest of honor..lol This is the day we knew for a fact that I had AML. This also was the day I smoked my last cigarette and got my first bag of platelets. Yep, there was many firsts on that day. I had my doctor come to me to give me the information and let me know I would be moved to the fourth floor blood and marrow unit… lol… do not pass go and do not go home to get personal items that I needed. As we all know, this hospital room is my new home for a while. My son stayed the first night here with me. Kind of odd, but I had a kind of peace about everything that was going on around me.
Friday 9/30/2011: After a long restless night, they came and got me so that I could have a port put into my chest…thank goodness, it has saved me from a ton of shots, needles etc…
Saturday 10/1/2011- Wednesday 10/5/2011: LET THE CHEMO BEGIN!! Over the next five days the hospital gave me two 30-minute bags of chemo and one four-hour bag…yep you read that right..for five days I had five hours of chemo put in to my body. In a way this so far has been a very easy path for me to take. Yes, it sucks being trapped in a building for the next few weeks, but I am fighting for my life. I am now (well almost) smoke free, I still have the patch… hehehe… thank goodness. I didn’t get sick during my treatments, very lucky there. Yes, at some point I will lose my hair, but when all is said and done it will grow back.
I guess the best way to sum this all up is… Hi, my name is Julie Farmer and yes, I have Acute Myeloid Leukemia, but I also have so much more in my life then just cancer. I have the love and support of the Lord, my family and my friends..and no I can’t live with out all three of them playing major roles in my life. One day I will be cancer free, but till that day gets here, I will face each new day with a smile on my lips and laughter in my heart. Thank you my new family, with each message that you guys send to me, with each new card, phone call, or comment on my page, I find new hope. I love you all and as I said we are now one big happy family.
(Written by Julie Farmer)
(The Heard Citizen thanks Julie for sharing her very personal story directly from her hospital room. Some friends of hers have set a up a donation page on Facebook if you would like more information on how to help her and her family during this difficult time.)