A 19-year-old college freshman from Idaho who thought her fever was the flu was diagnosed with an aggressive form of blood cancer.
Faye Prekeges, now 22, had just returned from a semester abroad when she began suffering from a 104°F (40°C) fever, headaches and muscle aches.
The French and history student went to the hospital near her campus in Boston, Massachusetts, where doctors kept her overnight after detecting a low white blood cell count.
After her parents arrived, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a fast-growing type of cancer that affects white blood cells, which are crucial for the immune system.
Ms Prekeges, who said she probably only had “days to live” when she was diagnosed with the disease in February 2020, is now in remission after receiving multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She hopes that she will soon be allowed to work in Europe as a teacher or continue studying for a master’s degree.
Faye Prekeges, now 22, had just returned from a semester abroad when she began suffering from a 104°F (40°C) fever, headaches and muscle aches. She appears in the photo above with her mother and her brother.
Mrs. Prekeges, of Sun Valley, Idaho, is pictured above with her family. She is now in remission from cancer.
ALL is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in childhood, and approximately 3,000 children between 1 and 19 years old are affected annually.
It occurs when white blood cells begin to grow uncontrollably within the bone marrow before spreading to blood vessels and vital organs.
The cancer progresses rapidly and doctors say patients can die within two weeks of symptoms appearing because the disease moves so fast.
As white blood cells multiply, they can begin to clog blood vessels and vital organs, gradually preventing the body from functioning.
Doctors say about 90 percent of young people diagnosed with cancer live more than five years after receiving chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
In describing his diagnosis, a family member said in GoFundMe: ‘Things changed when Faye returned to Boston for her second semester.
‘In February 2020, Faye, thinking she had the flu, took an Uber to Boston Medical Center because she had been sick for several days and had a fever of 104F.
‘Instead of the flu, he was diagnosed with (EVERYTHING).’
Describing the diagnosis, Mrs. Prekeges said Today: ‘I probably had a few days to get to the hospital before I died.
‘ALL has a very fast start. When I got to the hospital, my bone marrow was 90 percent leukemic cells.’
Mrs. Prekeges asked to be transferred to a hospital in Seattle, Washington, which was closer to her home in Sun Valley, Idaho, for treatment.
But because of the Covid pandemic, doctors said he would have to stay in Boston for about a month while they arranged transportation.
For treatment, he received chemotherapy via an intravenous drip four times a week.
Doctors also began giving him chemotherapy into his cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord) after detecting cancer cells inside.
Ms. Prekeges said the treatment sometimes made her look like she was having an aneurysm or a stroke.
“I really felt horrible because I was getting (chemotherapy) every day, and that’s when my hair finally fell out completely,” she said.
“I had a neurological reaction to one of the chemotherapies, so there were three or four cases where it looked and sounded like I was having an aneurysm or a stroke, but I wasn’t.”
Ms. Prekeges was a competitive swimmer before she was diagnosed with blood cancer.
Doctors were eventually able to transport her to Seattle to continue her four-times-a-week chemotherapy regimen.
It was at that moment that she learned that chemotherapy would likely rob her of her fertility due to the damage it would cause to her ovaries.
To avoid this, doctors performed cryopreservation of the ovarian tissue.
This is where one of the ovaries is removed and the ovarian cortex, which contains the eggs, is cut and cut into strips. Then they freeze.
At a later date, when you want to have children, the strips can be re-implanted into the body, which will cause them to begin releasing eggs.
Mrs. Prekeges is now in remission, meaning there is now no evidence of active cancer in her body.
But you will not be declared cancer-free until ten years have passed, because this is the delay that doctors leave before reaching this evaluation.
He has now begun studying French and history at the University of Washington in Seattle after leaving Northeastern University in Boston.
She hopes to become an assistant professor in Europe or pursue a master’s degree.