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Jaclyn Smith


Jaclyn Smith, Victoria, Australia;

1990 / Class of 2009 / Plasmacytomas, pregnancy / X-rays / Updated: 11/13

I am Jaclynís mother and caregiver. Jaclyn was born in 1990 (no mistake), she is only 21. She is my troublesome child. Middle child syndrome. Always wanting attention. When she was born, she had to be resuscitated as she was born too quickly and was in shock. Always hurting herself, broken arm, getting into mischief. Couldnít handle school and left at 16 years. She was able to support herself as she had a job.

We live in the country, on dairy farms mainly. For about 6 years, the only bad things near us were fruit orchards which used sprays on the fruit, but they were about 3kms away and they werenít allowed to spray if there was any wind drift. The only bad thing was that she used to sleep with her mobile (cell phone) under her pillow, near her head.

In November 2009 she started complaining of headaches, double vision and her eye looked funny. I took her to a doctor and Jaclyn saw 2 other doctors as well, and they all told her she had an eye allergy and gave her some eye drops. In December 2009 her eye was no better, and after an argument up the street with her, she had no job, no money and was going blind, I booked her an appointment with the optometrist.

The optometrist conducted a few tests and made a booking with an eye specialist in the next town that day. We drove there and saw the specialist at 11am. He ordered a CT scan at the local hospital and we were back in his office by 3pm the same day. What we saw next shocked the socks off all of us. She had a brain tumor. 3cm into her eye socket and 4 cm into her brain cavity. This was Friday 11th December 2009. Her pain seemed to get worse over the weekend and by Monday morning she was in so much pain that she was admitted to hospital and then flown to Sydney RPA Hospital. A brain surgeon had already seen her scan and had booked her operation for Thursday 17th December.

All of the doctors were saying that it wasnít cancerous and she could go home and lead a normal life after the operation. Her doctor met us before Jaclyn was taken to ICU to recover after the operation. They had removed most of the brain tumor but it was bad news for the rest of it. It was Plasmacytoma. Never heard of it. The next few days saw Jaclyn getting better and having more tests to see if this was a one off or there were more in her body. One thing we did notice was  that her body had a really bad smell before the operation, but that went away after they removed the tumor.

She had PET scans, MRI and a Bone marrow biopsy. They didnít find any sign of Plasmacytoma or Multiple Myeloma. Thank God. She still had a piece of the tumor around her optic nerve and they radiated that. Her hematologist was Dr Scott Dunkley at the RPA Hospital in Sydney. March 2010 another MRI this showed that the tumor had all gone.

We shifted back to the state of Victoria in Australia and she has a new doctor, Professor Andrew Spencer at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. In October 2010 she had another round of tests and they discovered that she had a spot on her collarbone. It was back. They took a couple of months before they decided what to do about it. Also Andrew was away on holidays. In March 2011 it was radiated x15. That one is gone. She had another round of PET and MRI scans. This time they found that she had it in 6 spots, both her knees, one in her thigh and 3 in her back. They really didnít know what to do as she was so young. They did a round of IVF to freeze some eggs for the future. She had a month of hormone treatment and they harvested 17 eggs. Then the doctor put her on blood thinners for 10 days. Her poor stomach was so sore from all the injection, but she took it all in pride. She is going to beat this illness.

June 2011: Jaclyn had another round of tests to see how bad the spots are now. The doctor is now calling it Multiple Myeloma. Guess what, they are all gone. WOW. He was going to treat her and put her on Thalidomide for a month, but he isnít going to do anything at this stage.

September 2011: Jaclyn tells me that she is pregnant. I nearly die of shock, of all things. Another hurdle to overcome, whatís going to happen??? Andrew her specialist in Melbourne cannot perform any scans at all until after the baby is born, but told her to see him straight away if she has any bumps, lumps or anything. Iíve done a bit of research and I know of a thermal imaging clinic here in Australia, and I rang them and spoke to them about Jaclynís condition. They can scan her and keep an eye on her, but it will cost us a lot of money. At the moment we donít have that, but it is nice to know we have that option. It is safe to do with her being pregnant.

What happens next we donít know. She could still lose the baby. Iím excited for the baby, but her body isnít ready for this. Iíve sent this story in as she is so young and now she is pregnant.

June 2012: She has had the baby, a beautiful boy, Patrick, 4 weeks ago! She had a PET scan but we havenít been told the results yet. As soon as we know something I will let you know. Otherwise her bloods have been good all through the pregnancy.

November 2013: Patrick is a thriving 18 months old boy. Jaclyn is doing well. She had some scans a couple of months ago and the 3 spots that they are watching in her back have gotten smaller. Her doctor doesnít want to see her now for 6 months. Yeah! Everything is going well now. She is now 3 months pregnant. The only thing wrong is that she is suffering with morning sickness. She has spent 6 days in hospital with dehydration. She had also had a touch of jaundice. Her liver count was through the roof. That is all well now. I hope you have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Janita Smith, Victoria Australia


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