Alyse Booth's Personal Profile
Introduction • Entering a Trial
I was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia in October 2008 at the age of 64. The first time I met with Dr. Gail Roboz, director of leukemia at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell, my platelets were 20,000. On November 7, with platelets around 10,000, I was admitted to NY Presbyterian for treatment with horse ATG. My red counts did not require transfusions and my neutrophils were high. I was in the hospital for eight days (six days of treatment) and had many reactions including sweating, extreme nausea and low blood pressure.
After going home, I developed a fever and serum sickness, which caused a horrendously painful and itchy rash all over my body. I was readmitted to the hospital and given high doses of prednisone intravenously for four days. Although the rash went away, I stayed on steroids for a month, slowly reducing the dose, and then began cyclosporine at the end of December 2008.
The treatment was highly successful but with a price. Within two months of treatment, my platelet count was 140,000. With the exception of one or two platelet transfusions when I was an inpatient, I never had to have a transfusion. However, for two months I experienced nausea and an endoscopy revealed a fungus in my esophagus. With medication, the fungus went away in about ten days. Still, I felt weak and ill for at least five months. I continued taking cyclosporine and my counts kept rising. As Dr. Roboz advised, I slowly reduced the dose. My blood counts were normal and stable so after 13 months she told me to stop all cyclosporine.
Next: Entering a Trial
Alyse Booth and her husband Steve Lefkowitz in France, shortly before her diagnosis