Mount Shasta mother fighting leukemia faces prospect of bone marrow transplant
After enjoying two months of remission, a Mount Shasta mother has relapsed and now requires a bone marrow transplant in her battle against Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Luckily, a suitable donor has already been found for Jessica Sherman, 33, who has been receiving chemotherapy since November of last year when she became too ill to function and was eventually diagnosed with AML.
If everything goes as planned, Jessica will have a transplant in August. She’ll be away from her family for about three months, said her friend, Katie Beauchene, who created a Go Fund Me campaign to help Sherman and her partner, Zeb Lewin, with medical costs and travel expenses associated with her care.
After weeks in the hospital, months of treatments and participating in a clinical trial that held promise of an increased remission rate, Jessica found out June 1 that the results from her final bone marrow biopsy showed she had relapsed.
Jessica’s new treatment plan, which she started this week, involves trips to Redding every weekday to receive a chemotherapy injection in conjunction with a new chemotherapy pill, Beauchene explained.
The shots themselves aren’t excessively painful when they’re administered, but they hurt afterward, and the injection site must be different every day, said Beauchene.
All the medication and travel, combined with the constant worry about COVID-19 and the financial impact the pandemic had on her family has been stressful for Jessica, who is “physically and emotional exhausted” by early afternoon most days, said Beauchene.
The aggressive chemotherapy will prepare Jessica for a transplant in August. This process will take about a month. After the transplant, she will need to stay in the UC Davis area for four to eight weeks for daily doctor appointments.
She’ll be staying at the Kiwanis House, which provides housing for UC Davis patients and their families, at a cost of $50 a night.
During this time Jessica will need a caregiver to help her get to doctor appointments and do things like grocery shop, since she won’t be able to go into public because of the risk of infection while her white blood cell count is compromised. Her father, Gary Sherman, who lives in Nevada, is planning to fill that role.
While many people in need of a bone marrow transplant have a hard time finding an appropriate match, even among members of their family, three people who are part of the Be the Match national registry appear to be suitable donors for Jessica, Beauchene said.
The process will be lengthy and take a great toll on Jessica and Zeb and their son Brayden, who is now a second grader at Mount Shasta Elementary School. Jessica also has two older children who reside with their father in Redding: Callie, age 12, and 14 year-old Nicholas.
Beauchene said Jessica continues to have a bright outlook despite the shock of finding out that she had relapsed. She’s most worried about being separated from her family.
“But she makes the most out of every day,” Beauchene said. “She rocks her new haircut and spends time with her family and friends.”
To make a donation to Jessica’s Go Fund Me campaign, or to read updates about her progress, go to www.gofundme.com/f/jessica-sherman-aml-leukemia.