May 5, 2012

I Miss You, Donna

I met Donna about three years ago. Both of us have fibromyalgia, and she belonged to a support group that I visited. She had such an easy smile and peaceful demeanor that I instantly liked her.

Not too long after that, I started a fibromyalgia social group on Meetup called ABQ FibroFriends Community.. Fibro sufferers have a tendency to isolate themselves. Having a scheduled luncheon was a way to plan to get out of the house. Donna joined FibroFriends and became a regular.

One of the things Donna did for the FibroFriends group was to start a book club. She would suggest books to read and we would choose one. Being in the book club got me back to reading again, and she led interesting discourses. She was so knowledgeable about literature.

In latter 2011, she had a routine physical, and her doctor picked up on some abnormalities in her blood cells. Donna went to specialists and it was determined that she had a rare form of leukemia, t-cell prolymphocytic leukemia. It is usually fatal, but the doctors felt that they had caught it so early, she stood a good chance of surviving it.

She suffered through several rounds of chemotherapy, her white blood cells dropping to zero and leaving her prone to the slightest infection. Then finally the blood cells rebounded to within less dangerous limits. Next, the doctors said, was for her to have a stem cell transplant. They searched for donors. Of course, the insurance company balked at having to pay for such a costly procedure.

At last, on March 14, she had the transplant, and she proclaimed it to be her new birthday. Not only had she battled the grueling chemo but the doctors and nurses battled finding something to also help with her fibromyalgia which was raging out of control.

After the transplant, she was given medications to ward off rejection. On May 2, we heard news from her husband that the meds were not working. And today, I heard that she had died. What a struggle, my words cannot express.

So, Donna, I dedicate this post to you. Thank you for being my friend.


  1. ill miss her smile, her eager friendship and her unfailing optimism throughout her ordeal. r.i.p dear friend and hold a place for me up there!

    thank you anna for giving me an opportunity to share my grief. i luv u!

  2. Anna, Thank you for such an endearing post. You and Donna had gotten me through a lot of grief and she will be missed by many. She also got me back to reading as well.


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