MAGGIE’S JOURNEY: Freshman overcomes leukemia with positivity

Maggie+Sue+Spencer+taking+a+break+in+class.
Maggie Sue Spencer taking a break in class.

Maggie Sue Spencer taking a break in class.

Maggie Sue Spencer taking a break in class.

HAILEY KNIGHT, Staff writer

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Maggie Sue Spencer was just in Oklahoma for a simple camping trip with her family in December and it turned into so much more. As Spencer was tumbling out of her camper her leg throbbed with pain.

At the doctor’s office she underwent an MRI of her leg. When the test results finally came back, she had multiple fractures all across her knee cap and was put on crutches.

Later that evening, around 8:30 her fever spiked up to 104 degrees so her mother and grandmother rushed her to the ER in Sunnyvale. As soon as she arrived, the nurses put her in an ambulance for Children’s Medical Center. Dec. 3 was a extremely stressful day for the family.

The next day, doctors performed a bone marrow biopsy. They made a small incision, then inserted a hollow needle through the bone and into the bone marrow. Then, the doctor used a larger needle to withdraw a sample of solid bone marrow tissue. The biopsy needle is specially designed to collect a core cylindrical sample of bone marrow.

“Afterward, it was very agonizing to sit on my butt and to lay on my back,” Spencer said.”I still have my scars from the needle.”

Her scars include a white circle right above the hip bone. Later on in the month, doctors said they would have the results from the biopsy, by that night.

Doctors coming in at 4:30 a.m. and said “that I have the worst kind of leukemia and that I have only a 5 percent chance of living.”

Something unexpected then happened. Ten minutes later, her doctors returned and said that there was a test malfunction. She had leukemia, but her chance of living were up to 95 percent. 

“A miracle from God,” Spencer said. “Of course this is better, but it still had a big impact on my life.”

Her family and friends were in shock – and in tears.

“But, this also helped me with feeling more comfortable around people ,and to start some of my own conversations,” she said

This provided Spencer with some new friends that she could rely on. These friends would come over and hang out when she was not feeling well.

“And if I couldn’t do something, they would find a way to bring it to me, literally anything,” she said.

Before Spencer was diagnosed, she was a barrel racing machine. She still has four riding horses named Casper, Boogie, Bozo, and Cricket. As of now, because the doctors are afraid her fragile bones will break. She is now in remission and allowed to get on the horse, but nothing else. She will keep reaching for her goal, to barrel race again.

“I was practically born on the horse and I will never forget the feeling of riding through that gate,” she said.

While her bones are now fragile, Spencer is still trying to stay involved. She plays in the KHS band, and is starting to show rabbits this year.

When Spencer was in the hospital, she looked forward to seeing her dog Faith Ann. She loves her dog to the point that she wants to do pet therapy for other kids, so that they can feel that same feeling or even just to see the strong bond between them.

She says: “When I get completely better, I’m going to take Faith Ann up to the hospital to cheer other kids up from what I went through.”

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