Angela Poynter, 38, knew that a simple trip to the zoo to celebrate her daughter’s birthday in May 2002 should not have caused so much fatigue. Angela and her family weren’t too concerned until later that evening, when her parents noticed strange red spots, or bruises, on her skin.
By morning, she was covered in the spots, a condition called purpura.
Angela, a grade school teacher, and her husband rushed immediately from their home in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Emergency Department.
Later, Angela was told she had aplastic anemia, a blood disorder that causes the body’s bone marrow to stop making enough new blood cells. As old blood cells die and the marrow fails to make enough new cells, patients can have several serious health complications.
The condition required Angela to travel back and forth from Mt. Vernon to Columbus several times a week for blood transfusions to replace her blood cells. Doctors told her that the only hope she had for a permanent cure was a bone marrow transplant.
Angela’s brother was not a match, but a match was found through the national bone marrow registry and Angela’s transplant was scheduled for May 2003, a year after she first fell ill. The night before the scheduled transplant, however, doctors found a problem in the donor’s health history. Angela had to go back onto the registry and wait again. She and her family were devastated.
Soon, another donor match was found and the OSUCCC – James doctors performed a successful transplant in August 2003.
Angela said she was pleased with her care. For three months after her transplant, she and her husband stayed in an apartment near The Ohio State University campus dedicated for transplant patients while her doctors monitored her health and she completed rehabilitation therapy.
“I can say that from August until November, the team of people I had working for me at The James had one objective,” she said. “That was to get me back home with my daughters.”
Angela is thankful for the care she received from her treatment team, especially from Dr. Spero Cataland and Dr. Sam Penza. “They were giving me the best care I could have had,” she said.