Adrianna Shingleton is on the mend from her battle with leukemia
Since her bone marrow transplant in the fall of 2005, 11-year-old Adrianna Shingleton has been on the mend from her battle with leukemia. She remains cancer-free, but has had complications from the treatment of her disease.
Shingleton is the daughter of Paul and Lisa Shingleton. Lisa Shingleton is a third grade teacher at Pleasant View Elementary.
Graft versus host disease
Shingleton was diagnosed with chronic graft versus host disease three months after her bone marrow transplant. Graft versus host disease is a condition where the newly transplanted cells react to the body's own cells as foreign invaders, said Lisa Shingleton.
Chronic graft versus host disease is a complication that strikes a small percentage of bone marrow transplant recipients. If left untreated, it can damage her liver, lungs and joints, said Lisa Shingleton.
Her symptoms included fever, a dry, itchy skin rash, stomach pains, diarrhea and vomiting. In March 2006, a medication called Zenapax helped her recover from a flare-up of graft versus host disease. Zenapax is a front-line drug used in transplants and grafts, said her mom.
Shingleton had weekly and later bi-weekly infusions of Zenapax at the Duke Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic in Durham, North Carolina to help her recover last year. Her doctors ordered another four-week run of Zenapax in July to get her graft versus host disease under control.
She had almost reached the lifetime maximum on their PEIA PPB insurance plan and the family had to switch to Carelink, the other PEIA plan choice, at the beginning of July, said Lisa Shingleton.
Carelink was denying coverage of this summer's intravenous Zenapax treatments since the FDA had not formally approved the medication to treat graft versus host disease. Each dose of Zenapax cost $1600.
The Shingletons began an urgent care appeals process to fight the ruling. Carelink reversed its decision after a formal review of their case by a doctor in Texas that has bone marrow transplant experience, said Shingleton. The insurance company is now covering treatments of Zenapax for Adrianna.
Shingleton was seven-years-old when she was first diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. She had six months of chemotherapy at WVU Children's Hospital in Morgantown. Her leukemia went into remission for 18 months, but it returned in the summer of 2005.
She underwent more chemotherapy and total body radiation before her September, 2005 cord blood bone marrow transplant at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. She was on different prayer lists as many people in the community and across the nation prayed for her recovery.
Extreme home makeover
At Christmastime in 2005, community volunteers surprised the Shingletons with an extreme home makeover. Their home had to be completely germ-free and sanitary to protect her new immune system after her bone marrow transplant.
The Shingleton home renovations began as a project organized by a few close friends at the Shingletons' church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Berkeley Springs.
More than 200 individuals and businesses took part in the home remodeling so it could be completed before Shingleton's return home.
A real trooper
She has dealt with hardships such as hospitalizations for staph infection and rotavirus. She has also been on many medications such as prednisone to manage her conditions. The doctors are trying to wean her off the prednisone since it was causing her blood sugars to run very high, said her mom.
She has been home-schooled since 2005. They had planned to have her start back to school this fall. Her doctors want her to wait a little longer until her immune system is stronger before returning to school, said Shingleton.
She is happy being able to go to church and to go swimming at a neighbor's pool, said her mom. She can't go to a public pool yet or be around large crowds or people that would be sick, said her mom. They used the Sky Web camera so she could attend church before, she said.
Adrianna Shingleton now has a puppy named Buddy. She walks her dog early in the morning because she can't be out in the sun much since it triggers graft versus host disease, said her mom. She can also go to public stores, bowling and the library.
The family still makes weekly trips to Durham for her care. Lisa Shingleton will teach again this school year as she did last year. Shingleton hopes that her daughter can come back to school soon.
"We have a lot of people pulling for us and praying for us," said Shingleton.