This is Jenny Marx, a vibrant 28 year-old digital marketing coordinator from Sydney.
Jenny previously suffered from an incurable blood cancer that caused her to have monthly blood transfusions to keep her living healthily. This is her inspiring story.
I was always that kid who was sick, sick with viruses, tonsillitis, various lady-issues etc. It got to the point where I felt like I must have been seen as the boy who cried wolf, so I decided to get into shape. I lost a heap of weight, went to the gym regularly and quit smoking. However the issues seemed to continue.
One day, in about 2010, I started to develop pain in my neck. I dealt with it for a while, but it was exacerbated by office work and the gym. I started to get sick far more often, so I went to the doctor, who suspected that I might have some form of arthritis, so they gave me a blood test. As it turns out, I had a blood condition called Hypogammaglobulinanemia, which meant that my body had no immunoglobulins to fight illness. Even the vaccines I had gotten as a kid were completely void. Because of this, I was told to have monthly blood-product transfusions, for the rest of my life, to top me up with what I was lacking. This was a tremendous help, I wasn’t sick at all, for a year.
After a year, my Haematologist decided to try cutting my dose down. This was disastrous. I was horribly ill all the time and my joints started to hurt so much, to the point where I had to stop the gym and struggled to walk or even brush my hair. I would fall asleep anywhere at any time, would wake up to body-jerking heart palpitations – I thought I was going crazy. I was a wreck both physically and emotionally.
On May 11th 2012, eighteen days before my 27th birthday, I went to the hospital to get my regular transfusion. I felt particularly ill that day. I had my standard blood test and as far as I was aware, everything was much as it always was. I woke up in the transfusion chair, to my Haematologist sitting in front of me. He said ‘How would you feel about staying in hospital over the weekend?’ My creatinine, which is a measure of kidney function, was at a dangerously critical level (something that I had never had an issue with before.). I stayed in hospital over the weekend and was given a bone marrow biopsy and two days later I was diagnosed with stage 4 Multiple Myeloma – an incurable blood cancer. I was the youngest at the hospital to ever have the disease (the next youngest was 44) and one of the youngest in the country. Because of this, my heart was failing, which explained the palpitations and exhaustion. I was given blood transfusions and platelet transfusions, which saved my heart and my life.
Now, a year and a half on, I have no sign of the cancer in my body at all. I no longer need to have the monthly transfusions, at all. I am the strongest and the fittest that I have ever been. I have reached and exceeded my personal fitness and health goals. I attribute a lot of this success to the many varied type of blood transfusions I was given.