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Caitlin

Caitlin is 16-years-old and was diagnosed in February 2011 with Pre B Cell ALL (Leukemia).  Caitlin’s wish was to go on a shopping spree, what young lady wouldn’t love to do this?!

 

In her own words:

"My name is Elizabeth (I go by Caitlin) and I have a twin sister named Sabrina. We turn 17 July 20th 2014. I am the only one with cancer haha. I was originally diagnosed with Leukemia February 7, 2011. I was in eighth grade and 13. Soon after I got sick with Typhlitis and ended up going into shock and critical care for 3 days. After that I was inpatient for 5 weeks straight, so sick I didn't get out of the bed for at least 3 of those weeks. When I finally got out I was only 100 pounds when I started at 150. I had lost almost all muscle structure and had to use a walker or an arm to get around. I've had to relearn how to walk and eat... start from physical baby and work it back up. I lost my Gaul Bladder and my Appendix in those months. After that I got better and a few years and countless port sticks, lumbar punctures, bone marrow aspirations, and pills I reached my "No More Chemo Day" and got my song, banner and cupcakes. That was the end of my sophomore year.

 

I was still doing monthly checkups and my last one had been around August 20th 2013.  Everything was perfect and normal...I looked great =). But soon after that I started losing my appetite and getting lethargic. I was getting pale and getting mysterious bruises. My dad and I were a bit worried but we thought " They JUST saw us, it simply couldn't be". A little later I found little red dots showing up on my skin and a giant dark purple bruise on the back of my leg. My dad rescheduled my next appointment for two weeks sooner. At this point I didn't feel I needed a proper diagnoses. I had figured it out. The next day I struck a fever at school and my dad drove me straight to clinic. Blood was drawn and answers given. This was only 18 days after my last checkup which told me I was normal. By the end of the day I was in a hospital room and talking about needing a bone marrow transplant. September 7, 2013 I learned I had Leukemia again.

 

My transplant was put off twice because of complications with my health. I lost a lymph node in my neck due to infection and had some trouble with severe reflux and nausea. But on February 27,2014;  after 4 days of intense chemo and full body radiation twice a day... I got my new marrow. I spent another five weeks in a hospital room while I got through graft versus host disease like every kid does for transplant. I've been staying in Nashville, two hours away from my home in Chattanooga since the transplant process started. I'm now 100% grafted and should be home for good within the next week or two."