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Gold Ribbon Hero: Abigail M.

Meet Abigail, an acute promyelocytic leukemia survivor with a magnetic personality.

Abigail began her cancer journey in September of 2016 at 14 years old. In the weeks leading up to her diagnosis, he exhibited symptoms of a sinus infection and hip pain. She came home from school with unexplained bruising on her legs and elbows and called her mom to pick her up early. Abigail’s mother, Jill attributed it to a sinus infection and took her to the doctor after finding an enormous bruise on her right hip. Abigail’s platelets were dangerously low and her white blood cell count was outside of the normal range so her doctor sent her to the emergency room. When they arrived at the emergency room, they met Dr. Julie Blatt who knew almost immediately that Abigail had acute promyelocytic leukemia. Abigail and her family were told that the leukemia had a very high cure rate but the treatment was very harsh. 

Chemotherapy started immediately and diagnosis was confirmed with a bone marrow biopsy. The day after starting chemo, Abigail went into respiratory distress and spent four days in the PICU. Abigail spent a total of 34 days in the hospital and lost a lot of weight because she had no appetite. When she returned home, her appetite returned and she began outpatient treatment two weeks later. Despite eating, she still appeared very thin and pale. Abigail had infusions five days a week, four weeks at a time. During her treatment, she experienced hair loss, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headaches and weakness. She had multiple CT scans and lumbar punctures to monitor her brain. In a routine eye examination, the optometrist discovered that she had swelling in the optic nerve, so for the remainder of chemotherapy was also under the watchful eye of the neuro-opthamologist.

Abigail was declared cancer free in February 2017 and she finished chemotherapy in May of 2017. Because of the cancer and chemo, she had developed some chronic medical conditions that make her feel awful. In spite of her suffering, she goes on with her life. She keeps up with her school work. She goes on outings with her sister and she enjoys spending time with her nephew. 

When Abigail was young, she wanted to be a doctor. After finding out how long school would take, she decided that she wanted to become a nurse instead. She decided to become a pediatric oncology nurse and wants to study at UNC Chapel Hill. She also enjoys interior design and makeup. 

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