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Marina became dependent on blood transfusions after at least six years (diagnosed) of living with a chronic blood cancer [polycythemia vera, a myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN)]. With polycythemia vera (PV), the bone marrow produces too many red blood cells which causes the blood to become too thick. Among other things, clots can form and the heart can become stressed from the extra work to pump the thick blood through the body. Phlebotomies and certain medications are used to manage the symptoms. There is no cure for PV at this time.
Her bone marrow became "spent" from making too many red blood cells, causing myelofibrosis. When the bones cannot produce enough blood to sustain life, great stress is put on other organs (especially the liver and spleen). Marina went from needing phlebotomies to remove excess red cells to requiring transfusions of red cells to keep her alive!
Even after the stem cell transplant (SCT) from an anonymous donor, Marina needed over 150 units of red blood cells and 100 units of platelets while her body recovered and her donor's stem cells took hold in her bones.