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Some people plan trips to exotic places, set new goals, or take up a new hobby. As Sarah Schroeder-Mohr prepares for her birthday, she is enjoying a healthy life and giving back to those who care for her.
By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes, firstname.lastname@example.org
She spent many long days at IU Health Simon Cancer Center in the past three years. On a recent routine check up, Sarah Schroeder-Mohr was happy to see some of the team members who helped nurse her back to health.
It was July 24, 2018 when Mohr made an appointment to see her doctor at IU West. She had been married for two months to her husband, Nick. She had no appetite, felt fatigue, and noticed her skin was pale. Something wasn’t right.
During that first doctor’s visit, her blood was drawn and she was told she’d probably hear back within 48 hours. She barely left the hospital when she got a call telling her she needed a blood transfusion immediately. Further evaluation of her blood work showed Mohr’s platelets were low. She had Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
Within hours of her diagnosis, Mohr was admitted to IU Health Simon Cancer Center. She remained a patient for a month in the care of Dr. Mohammad Abu Zaid. During that time she underwent several rounds of chemotherapy and on Dec. 13, 2019, underwent a stem cell transplant.
“The worst of the treatment was the middle when my immune system was low, I got a fever and it was like my body started to freak out,” said Mohr. Bone pain was excruciating and the stem cell transplant made her weak. “Even when I felt like a shell of a human being, I decided I would work to get stronger every day,” said Mohr. “The nurses and other staff really encouraged me to walk laps. I refused to stay in pajamas all day and I made myself get out of bed. I did art, music, and massage therapy. All those things helped me fight against physical and depressive tendencies,” said Mohr.
She also had a constant stream of visitors – friends and family members who brightened her day.
A graduate of North Central High School, Mohr is a native of Indianapolis. She recently moved to Columbus where her husband works. Now, three years since her diagnosis she said she is free of cancer.
As she eyes her 40th birthday this month, Mohr said she isn’t making any big plans.
“I like going to concerts, making crafts and baking – that’s my life,” she said. And there’s one more thing she’s accomplishing – she has three classes left to complete a lifelong goal of becoming a professional pastry maker. She hopes to one day own a bakery.
As she works toward that goal, those who took care of her are reaping the rewards. When she comes for her three-month check up Mohr gifts the staff in the bone marrow transplant clinic with cookies, mini cakes, and other baked goods.
“They deserve it. They took such good care of me and this is just a small way to let them know how much they mean to me,” said Mohr. “When I was a patient on the hematology-oncology unit those nurses became my friends and it was hard to leave.”