Hayley Annino

 I was healthy my whole entire life, I had never even been to the hospital until the day I was diagnosed. It was exactly a week after I turned 19 that I woke up in the morning knowing that something was not right. My gums were bleeding for no reason, and I was exhausted. A month prior to this, I had had a wisdom tooth extracted that turned into a huge infection in my face that it seemed like no antibiotic could kill. That lasted about a month and I was well enough by the end of May to go and take my finals for the end of my freshman year in college. That was May 22nd, and May 25th I turned 19, then June 1st I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. 

It was a Saturday and my doctors was not open so my mom took me to the urgent care to get my blood drawn. I felt so light headed and sick. The nurse at urgent care took my blood (a CBC) and told me they would get the results in about 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes the nurse and a doctor came in and told me that they think I had leukemia because my white blood cell count was 31,000 instead of around 5,000. My mom and I were in shock but we drove over to the local ER. My dad and boyfriend met us there and that is where they confirmed that I had some type of acute leukemia. 

Then I rode in the back of an ambulance to the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, where I went straight to Rhoads 7. They took such good care of me there and after a very painful bone marrow biopsy they concluded that I had AML with the subtype of M5. I went through two rounds of chemotherapy in the month of June and, after the second, there were no traces of leukemia left in my bone marrow! But I got two sever blood infections that almost took my life and I remained in the hospital until August 10th. That was 72 days in the hospital for me and my family who slept there every night.

Then in September after I had gained some weight back my oncologist told me that I needed a bone marrow transplant ASAP. Thankfully, my oldest brother Nick was a 100% match. So back in the hospital I went on October 15th, and I had my transplant on October 23, 2013. I was released on November 17th, 2013 just in time to spend the holidays with my family and my boyfriend.

Now as of January I am in remission, so I am just recovering and its been boring at times. I am awaiting the results of a liver biopsy where the doctors think that there may be a bit of GVHD. All I can do is give it to God and pray for the best.