Woman beats aggressive leukemia, helps clinical trial decreasing deaths
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) - A GEORGIA WOMAN WHO SURVIVED A RARE AND AGGRESSIVE FORM OF LEUKEMIA is part of A CLINICAL TRIAL that is DRAMATICALLY DECREASING THE NUMBER OF EARLY DEATHS IN its PATIENTS.
IN 2019, JUST MOTHS AFTER LOSING HER HUSBAND to cancer, REGINA WATSON RECEIVED THE CALL that NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR. “I STARTED to feel TIRED ALL OF THE TIME," Watson says. "I JUST KIND OF PLAYED IT TO THE FACT THAT MY HUSBAND HAD PASSED AWAY IN APRIL OF CANCER.”
The fATIGUE progressively got worse and after a trip to the E.r., doctors determined the LEG PAIN was a blood clot.
After HER BLOOD WORK CAME BACK ABNORMAL, her ONCOLOGIST INFORMED HER that SHE HAD LEUKEMIA.
Watson was shocked. “I WAS LIKE WHAT? AND HE SAID YES, BUT I WANT YOU TO HEAR ME IT’S TREATABLE AND IT’S CURABLE. BUT, WE’VE GOT TO WORK FAST.”
ACUTE PROMYELOCYTIC LEUKEMIA OR APL IS AN AGGRESSIVE, BUT HIGHLY CURABLE BLOOD CANCEr. 3,000 PEOPLE in the U.S. ARE DIAGNOSED EACH YEAR.
GEORGIA CANCER CENTER DOCTOR, ANAND JILLELA WHO LED THe CLINICAL TRIAL SAYS THE main PROBLEM is that MANY PROVIDERS DO NOT KNOW HOW TO TREAT IT. “THE FIRST MONTH CAN BE QUITE DIFFICULT AS FAR AS THE TREATMENT GOES. THE BOTTOM LINE IS 30% OF PATIENTS DON’T SURVIVE THE FIRST MONTH. BUT, IF THEY SURVIVE THE FIRST MONTH, THEY ARE CURED..IT’S A HOME RUN BECAUSE THE RELAPSES IN THIS LEUKEMIA ARE ALMOST UNHEARD OF.”
A personalized care plan with 24/7 support during the first month LEADS TO A 97% SURVIVAL RATE. QUICK DIAGNOSE, MANAGING COMPLICATIONS AND ADJUSTING DOSES OF DRUGS DURING THAT time is also critical.
AFTER FOUR WEEKS of treatment, WATSON WAS SENT HOME. SHE HAS BEEN IN REMISSION SINCE february 2020. “THE TREATMENT THAT HE HAS STUDIED SO HARD TO RESEARCH works. HE ASKED ME WHEN I WAS IN THE HOSPITAL IF I WOULD BE A PART OF THIS RESEARCH AND I TOLD HIM ABSOLUTELY.”
HER BLOOD HAS BEEN USED TO HELP OTHERS GOING THROUGH treatment.
“I’M LIVING PROOF THAT IT IS CURABLE, IT IS TREATABLE AND YOU CAN GO THROUGH IT WITH FLYING COLORS.” WATSON HAS NO LIMITATIONS or restrictions. SHE is thankful to have THE STRENgTH TO PLAY WITH HER GRAND KIDS AGAIN.
Copyright 2023 WFXG. All rights reserved.