In March 2021, I was diagnosed in Baton Rouge with Aplastic Anemia. It is a very serious disease that attacks the bone marrow which is the blood cell 'factory'. Healthy bone marrow releases blood cells into the bloodstream when they are mature and when required. Without bone marrow, our bodies could not produce the white cells we need to fight infection, the red blood cells we need to carry oxygen, and the platelets we need to stop bleeding. We cannot survive without properly functioning bone marrow and currently mine is not functioning properly.
During my initial diagnosis and hospital stay, I had multiple platelets and blood transfusions; bone marrow biopsies, MRI’s, and cat-scans. The initial treatment plan included a bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy. You can imagine at the age of 25, I was terrified. However, my doctor was adamant that I travel to MD Anderson Cancer CAncer Center in Houston, TX to seek a second opinion due to the expertise of their doctors. It turned out to be the best decision I could have made. The doctors at MD Anderson have decided to treat my disease with HATG...which is a combination of FDA-approved drugs with an 80% success rate. I am acutely aware that there is a 20% chance I will still need the transplant, however, I choose to trust in God for complete healing.
I am a school teacher, and it has been my lifelong dream to sow into the lives of intercity children. I am a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and received my Master of Teaching at Southern University in 2018 and 2020, respectively. I was hired at Sharon Hills Elementary in the fall of 2019. It has been a little weird because even though I’ve been teaching for two years, I’ve not had the opportunity of completing an entire school year. Last year, it was the Pandemic, and this year, it will be my illness. I love my students and am completely devastated that I am unable to finish this year with them. My favorite saying to my students when they accomplish feats, small or large, was to tell them to “kiss their brains”…. you may wonder how?....they would kiss their hands and then touch their foreheads (their proud little faces would light up with smiles and giggles). I also encouraged personal and Facebook friends to donate funds so I could purchase books monthly, for my children could start their own library and hopefully ignite a love for reading.
As you know, teaching is not a financially lucrative job, but I absolutely love it. That being said, I am fully insured but because my insurance provider deems MD Anderson an out-of-network hospital, they will only cover 60% of the charges. My mother, Cynthia Miller, has been asked countless times by friends, relatives, and church members- “What can I do to help?” Thankfully we are blessed to be in partnership with the Bone Marrow & Cancer Foundation. They have already been a blessing because they provided financial support for accommodations the week in Houston before we were admitted to the hospital. They have a patient centered program called Carelines where friends and family can donate any amount of money that will be used for my care. So if you are able to contribute monetarily, I would be grateful, and continued prayers are deeply appreciated ….I give God all of the glory for what HE has done and will do!!!!