Martha — Service

Location: Stony Brook, New York

In 2010, I had 14 rounds of Chemo and a stem cell transplant to fight AML leukemia. The leukemia was gone but I was left with severe rejection, called Graft vs Host Disease. That is when the stem cells attack the body. I had attack on my gut, my lungs, my eyes, my skin and my kidneys. I was hospitalized in isolation, for 5 months, with a feeding tube and 15 IVs. I was sent home to die, but in a strange turn of fate, my husband unexpectedly had a heart attack and died the day after I got home in my arms. I did CPR for 20 min. with a feeding tube and IV attached. I was left with 3 kinds of severe PTSD, kidney failure, heart failure, and 3 years later, mouth and jaw cancer, with a 23 hour surgery and my jaw replaced with my leg bone. 30 rounds of radiation followed. For 3 years following, I all but gave up. One day, I came across a rescue, who was ill and had PTSD herself. We both helped each other heal. I took her for training, and trained her myself. She wakes me up, gets me out, walks with me, does med reminders and retrieval, and pulls me up hills when I get out of breath. Her small size allows her to alert me when I do PTSD repetitive scratching or hair twirling and she knocks my hand. She saved my life twice by bringing me my inhaler when I passed out after dumping the garbage. She attends all doctors and dentists offices with me and does calming and deep pressure at these visits to relieve anxiety. Every doctor agrees that without her, I would not be here right now.

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