Posts by Amy SteevesSurvivor, Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma
When I was 28 years old and my first son was 10 months old, I was finally told what had been causing horrible symptoms and a full body rash for over a year but no one could diagnose: it was lymphoma. Cancer. Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, which is an incredibly rare type that mostly occurs in elderly patients. I was a young mom with her whole life ahead of her. I had to stop working as a retail pharmacist and undergo 6 months of really difficult chemo treatment and what felt like endless hospital stays.
I was in remission for 3 years and lucky enough to have another baby. When he was 7 months old, I found a rash on my arm. I called my cancer center and they sent me in for a scan and a skin biopsy. The lymphoma was back. This time we knew that we needed a bone marrow transplant. Out of my three siblings, our best option was my brother who was a 6/10 match. I received a phone call that I had no match on the bone marrow registry and I felt like my world started to fall apart. We went ahead with an autologous bone marrow transplant with my own stem cells, knowing it probably wouldn’t be curative but would buy us some time to weigh our options. About 5 months later the lymphoma reared its ugly head again. I went to my appointment ready to discuss options and make some hard choices. Instead, they told me that they ran me again and I had a 10/10 match in Germany, and he was willing to donate. I cried happy tears! (And so did a lot of my friends and family!)
In March 2019 I had a bone marrow transplant with my donor’s cells. It was the hardest year of my life, but I have no doubt that without my amazing donor and my treatment team, I would not be here today, raising my family and hugging my boys. I have had countless chemotherapy treatments, radiation sessions, injections, blood draws, bone marrow biopsies, blood transfusions, and holidays spent in the hospital. I have been completely overwhelmed and amazed at my support system and how they have cared for me and my family. I have been able to contact my donor Sebastian and we have been getting to know each other across the world. Cancer has changed me forever, and I am grateful for every second in this new life that I have been given.
Amy’s Rays of Sunshine is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization founded by Amy Steeves to pay forward the love and support that she received from her amazing community during her own bone marrow transplant after a cancer relapse in 2019.Read More...