When Charlotte Parker attended an MD Anderson fundraiser a couple years ago, she was immediately impressed by the organization's dedication to ending cancer and providing the best possible care to its patients. She had no idea that in a matter of months she would be one of these patients.
Coming to MD Anderson for AML treatment
In May 2013, Charlotte Parker began to feel fatigued. Her doctor ran some tests and found that her white blood cell count was five times higher than normal. The native Houstonian was taken straight to the intensive care unit at MD Anderson, where she received an acute myeloid leukemia (AML) diagnosis. She was hospitalized for 60 days.
Charlotte's care team quickly began her AML treatment, starting with blood apheresis, a process in which the harmful materials are removed before it goes back into the body. After that, she underwent a year of chemotherapy before her doctor told her she was cancer-free.
"I can truly say I believe MD Anderson saved my life. The quality of care was phenomenal," Charlotte says. "No one wants to have cancer, but if that is what happens in your life, there is no better place in the world to be treated and to be helped, assisted and supported through the journey of cancer and recovery."
Charlotte's advice for AML patients
One of the things that impressed Charlotte the most about MD Anderson was that her care team didn't just treat her cancer. They treated her, and helped her recover mind, body and spirit.
"You have people who know your name and who you feel really care from the clerk who greets you when you sign in to people who work with you and know your case," she says. "It's a total team effort."
Charlotte encourages those currently undergoing cancer treatment to ask their doctors lots of questions so they can fully understand what's going on. She also reminds them to be patient with themselves and give themselves time to heal.
"There is life after cancer," Charlotte says. "And it's not a diminished life. It's a life that is more informed, more passionate. It may be modified, but it is still a life worth living."
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is one of the cancers MD Anderson is focusing on as part of our Moon Shots Program to dramatically reduce cancer deaths. Learn more about our MDS/AML Moon Shot.