Country singer Ashley Monroe has announced that she has a rare form of blood cancer.
The "Drive" hitmaker shared the news in an Instagram post, explaining that she had been diagnosed with Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia (WM), which is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Doctors discovered that she was anemic after going for routine bloodwork, but despite taking supplements, altering her diet, and increasing her iron consumption, Monroe's red blood count "just kept falling." Doctors ordered a bone marrow biopsy and, after finding that her iron, b12, and folic acid numbers were still fine, discovered that she had WM.
"It’s causing my body to be pretty severely anemic, and I feel it. So, I start chemo tomorrow," Monroe wrote on Tuesday. "Seems like such a negative thing to say. Until I flip that doom feeling on its head and think, wow, I’m thankful I have an illness that is VERY live with-able. I’m thankful there IS a treatment that actually works to fight what is causing harm to my body. THANKFUL for friends and family who have gathered around me praying and sending flowers and letting me lean on them during this super weird chapter of my life."
The American Cancer Society explains that WM cells grow mainly in the bone marrow, where they can "crowd out the normal cells that make the different types of blood cells." This can lead to anemia, which can cause tiredness and weakness. It can also cause low numbers of white blood cells, "which makes it hard for the body to fight infection." Furthermore, the numbers of platelets in the blood can also drop, "leading to increased bleeding and bruising." In general, people with WM have a five-year survival rate, the organization states, however many people live much longer than that.
In her Instagram post, Monroe said she was fighting the cancer for her three-year-old son, Dalton, and pleaded with her friends and followers not to offer any unsolicited advice or medical opinions.
"I’ve done my research and have amazing Vanderbilt dr’s I’ve weighed every option with," she wrote. "That’s why I was hesitant to post about it, but I could use the prayers.. and I DO believe in the power of prayer guys. I also believe in the power of love healing us all on an even deeper level. I love you all big. Here I go."
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