Marilyn Davis, Transfusion Patient

Marilyn Davis - Auburn, MI

"It was a good experience. I was treated very well and I'm feeling good."

Infusions Restored Her Energy and Health

When Marilyn Davis felt her energy lag last summer, the 83-year-old Auburn resident assumed it was part of getting older. "I had no energy at all," she said. "I blamed it on my age."

After a couple of months, Marilyn was ready to seek help from her primary care doctor, Internal Medicine Physician Roschelle Houston, D.O. "I was going to cancel an appointment I'd made but Clayton, my husband, wouldn't let me," she laughed. "Dr. Houston looked at my legs and asked, 'How long have you had these spots?' I hadn't really noticed but I had tiny purple spots on my legs."

The pinhead-sized spots were on the front of both legs, between her knees and ankles. The spots – bleeding under the skin called petechiae – coupled with exhaustion caused her doctor to suspect that Marilyn had autoimmune thrombocytopenia, or low blood platelet count.

Platelets are cells that cause blood to clot. When someone's platelet count is too low, they may bruise easily and even small cuts may bleed profusely. In severe cases that are left untreated, internal or external bleeding can cause serious problems. Fortunately for Marilyn, while her condition was serious, it was also treatable.

After consulting with Dr. Houston, Marilyn was admitted to MyMichigan Medical Center Midland. "I was in the hospital for two nights and had two infusions of platelets," she said.

Marilyn was then referred to Medical Oncologist and Hematologist Thomas Regenbogen, M.D., who confirmed her diagnosis of thrombocytopenia. Dr. Regenbogen recommended a course of treatment at the infusion center, located within the Cancer Center on the Midland Campus. Staffed with registered nurses and pharmacists who specialize in outpatient intravenous care, they provide services including intravenous fluids for re-hydration, antibiotics, chemotherapy, specialty medications and targeted therapies to treat a variety of conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis and immune disorders.

The infusion center also offers supportive care for blood disorders, including blood and platelet transfusions for patients like Marilyn, and intravenous iron replacement.

"I would get some blood drawn two or three days before I was scheduled for a transfusion so they could check what they needed to," she said. "After that, I had blood work done every week for three weeks. Now they only check my platelets once every three months."

Marilyn said the treatments worked and she feels better. "It took a while to kick in though," she said. "They told me it takes about six weeks for a young person to feel the effects and about 12 to 16 weeks for an older person. It took me a long time to really feel good again."

Marilyn found the infusion center to be convenient and the staff very kind. "Dr. Regenbogen's office is there, too. He is very good, very knowledgeable," she said. She appreciated his skill and down-to-earth demeanor. "It was a good experience. I was treated very well and I'm feeling good."

MyMichigan Health has infusion centers in Alma, Alpena, Clare, Gladwin, Midland and Mt. Pleasant. Services vary by location but all offer therapy in a convenient and peaceful setting. Those who would like to learn more may visit www.mymichigan.org/infusion.

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