Meet Janet ~

I was formally diagnosed by Dr. Loughran last week.  I saw him at the request of the Oncologist at Hershey Medical Center.  I have had issues with low neutrophils and recurrent infections since my early 20’s.  I had a massive Staph infection contracted at birth and have always believed that was the culprit (who knows, may turn out to be).  I took my first doses of methotrexate this morning.  However, I was on it for about a year when I was diagnosed with RA about 10 years ago.  My ANC dropped and I was changed to Humira, which was wonderful for me, but as time progressed my counts dropped and they started me on Neupogen to keep the ANC up and allow me to continue with Humira.  I inject myself weekly with the Neupogen.  About 2 years ago my counts dropped consistently below 1000 even w/Neupogen and my Rheumatologist then, refused to prescribe any of the newer RA meds.  I’ve had a rough couple of years with a lot of pain and no good way to control the cause of the pain.  Bone marrow biopsies showed nothing noteworthy.

Over the past 8 months or so I’ve had atypical cells consistently show up on the differential. ONC at the time said nothing to worry about… I should interject I spent 23+ years in the medical field and my whole adult life dealing/learning more than any normal person ever WANTS to know about WBCs, lymphs, neutrophils, etc., so I was a little concerned when there appeared to be a shift from my “normal” abnormality.  In November, 2014 ANC dropped to 363 (again Oncologist said “we’ll just watch it”.  At that point my family doc (whom I had worked for 25 years previous) & I decided a 2nd opinion was necessary.  I am close to Hershey Medical Center & so I went there.  They were pretty sure it was LGL (+flow cytometries & LGLs on smears, but T-cell testing was negative. I was referred to Dr. Loughran where T-cell testing was positive, thus formal diagnosis.

In reading stories of others, it’s quite interesting how similar we all are.  It was good to finally hear people presenting with similar symptoms-some validation of sorts.  I have always pushed myself and now that I know there’s a real issue with a name I somehow feel justified to say, “I can’t do that, I don’t feel well”.  But not today-it is supposed to be in the 60s & I plan on finally getting my peas in the ground!  Thank you for allowing me to share my story.  I wish you a good day!

~ Janet

April 2, 2015 – Mount Laurel, New Jersey