Jena Spach

Age:32 Single ( divorced )
Diagnosis: AML/ Acute myeloid leukemia

Treatment: Chemo, Bone marrow transplant on Oct 22nd 2010, more chemo because transplant did not take. Currently undergoing chemo.

I am unemployed at this time.. My cancer team told me that it is unsafe for me to work at this time. People are actual a threat to my well being and before I got sick I worked with animals and people with are two of the big no no’s for them.

I have never been the type of person to ask for help or hand outs. Prior to being diagnosed Feb 24th 2010 I worked 2-3 jobs as a veterinary assistant, server, and personal assistant. I worked 7 days a week most of the time, I loved to shop and spend money so I knew I had to work! LOL. This also hindered me realizing that I was really sick. I had no clue until my boyfriend at the time sort of forced me to go see my regular doctor after I slept for 2 days straight. At 31 you really don’t expect to hear you have leukemia. I had to quit my jobs and move home to my mother’s house after spending that first thirty days in the hospital. Then in the middle of May I found out my my dad was sick, and then he passed on June 12th with colon cancer and liver failure. We were actual in the hospital together undergoing treatment down the hall from one another, we would laugh at each other saying this is NOT how family is supposed to hang out together. I’ve had multiple rounds of maintenance chemo before I went in for my bone marrow transplant Oct 22nd 2010. Where my hair fell out again and I got horrible mouth and throat sores and had to be hospitalized for 2 weeks. I was so hopeful that I was done with chemo and I would be transferred back to my regular cancer center, but I started having complications from the bone marrow called graph versus host disease. So they had to start me on a bunch of steroids and other medications. I gained a bunch of weight from the prednisone, became a diabetic due to the prednisone, and also have high blood pressure now due to it. Then they found out that the transplant didn’t take, so they gave me a 20% of living thru the next rounds of chemo. I went for it, what else was I to do, just give up? That is not an option for me. So they hit me with a bunch of chemo and I thought things were going ok, but 4 days after getting home from my weekly stay at the hospital, I got VERY sick and was rushed back the hospital where I ended up staying for a month and a half! I guess I am lucky to live where I live because the UW medical center is great and so is all the doctors at Seattle cancer care. I ended up having graph versus host disease in my liver and turned way yellow (like a Simpson). I had probably every test known to a cancer patient done twice….I hate endoscopy and colonoscopy, in fact most people I guess use light sedation, they have to use the real sedation with me because i wake up and fight off the staff LOL. So I was there all of April and the first weeks of May, I was so happy when they finally said it was safe for me to go home. I have to work extra hard to get back to where I was prior to getting very sick. The high dose of prednisone had made my joints sore and made my legs weak. I walk my mom’s German Sheppard and ride the stationary bike at the gym 3 times a week, oh and then there is the mandatory PT I go to weekly at the cancer center. I like to stay active and busy, I hate asking for help when I need to take a bath or need help up because I decided to sit on the floor. I have always been a strong willed person who dislikes asking for help. I am praying that when I go through chemo this time, it doesn’t kick my tush and I am seriously only there for the normal weekly stay!

The hardship I mainly face right now is gas money getting to the cancer center and parking is generally $4 a day (and is the cheapest by far). If I end up at the UW clinics for anything parking cost $7-$13 and that’s after being validated. Sometimes I run up against insurance and the drug company’s not wanting to pay or cover certain things, like last week I ended up paying $70 for 8 capsules of cymblata which over drafted my checking account. My doctors prescribed 2 capsules nightly instead of one capsule so insurance doesn’t want to cover it. So right now we are trying to get them to just cover the one nightly and that seems to be an issue as well for some reason.

Please help Jena by buying a Don’t Worry Be Happy shirt today

Update: As of June 27 2011 I have decided to not under go anymore chemo treatments. I had a very tough decision to make because the doctors are concerned that with another round of chemo to keep my luekemia in remission would most likely kill me because of how sick I got with the last round and how my liver responded. I asked about doing another bone marrow transplant and unfortunatly I face the same problems, that it would most likely kill me since I had so much trouble with complications from the first one. Right now I feel great and I want to spend what is left of time feeling the best that I can with my friends and family. It’s not that I can’t change my mind later on down the road and do the chemo, but for right now I just want to go on with life as normal. Or as normal as it can be. I am hoping to travel to Brazil to see John of God. He is a healer and I have faith that he will be able to help me!