Julie - I am Number 8

 I have been wearing my diamond “8″ for about five years now. I never take it off. In early December 2003, I was diagnosed with a rare liver disease called Budd-Chiari syndrome. It had been caused by an underlying blood disorder called Polycithemia Vera. Within 3 months, I had a life-saving liver transplant. I recovered and felt wonderful. However in August, 6 months after my liver transplant, I was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. Polycithemia Vera can be a precursor to Leukemia, and with all the immunosuppressive medication I was taking, my body could no longer fight it off. The odds of surviving secondary Leukemia following a major organ transplant are astronomically low, but I refused to give in. I needed a stem cell transplant, and my sister Nancy was a perfect match. I had that successful transplant in January of 2005. My oncologist discovered that there were only 7 survivors of a stem cell transplant following a liver transplant on medical record WORLD WIDE. I am Number 8. I am a miracle! On March 15, 2011, my sister lost her life following mitral valve replacement surgery. My chemotherapy left me unable to have children of my own, and my beautiful sister saved my life and made me a mother to her three sons. So I wear the #8 because I am the 8th person to survive, The #8 represents my sister and I and our unending bond. If you turn it sideways, it’s the symbol for infinity.

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