Personalized acute lymphoblastic leukemia treatment let me stay true to my faith

When I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia — a type of blood cancer — I knew that my case was going to be a tough one. As one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I am not willing to accept whole blood products, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia treatment sometimes includes red blood cell/platelet transfusions and/or stem cell transplants. Compromising my faith has never been an option, so one of my first concerns was finding a hospital that would respect my wishes. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a fast-growing, aggressive form of cancer, so I also knew I needed to act quickly. I wanted the best and most innovative care possible, and I knew I would get that at MD Anderson. Thanks to MD Anderson’s leukemia doctors and their willingness to be creative, I’m now in remission — and the bloodless protocol they developed for me is already helping other patients. My personalized acute lymphoblastic leukemia treatment As I understand it, conventional acute lymphoblastic leukemia treatment works by destroying a patient’s rogue marrow and blood cells with chemotherapy — a process that ends up killing many of their healthy blood and marrow cells, too. Often, patients receive blood transfusions until their own bone marrow can replenish itself with normal cells. But because I don’t accept blood transfusions, that plan wasn’t going to work for me. So my doctors had to formulate a new one that would kill the cancer without taking me with it. They started by prescribing IV steroids to get my white blood cell count down and red blood cell and platelet growth factors to help my body generate new blood...