Las Vegas woman, 44, battling rare blood cancer, raising awareness
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) —
A Las Vegas woman is in the fight of her life battling a rare blood cancer called multiple myeloma.
Hanna Olivas, 44, chooses to see the glass as half full, even after her life changed forever in 2017 when doctors diagnosed her with the disease.
"If this is how it's going to be then there has to be something good that comes out of this." she said.
Hanna says before she was diagnosed she wasn’t sleeping well and starting experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue and pain in her bones.
Hanna says after her diagnosis doctors gave her 5 years to live.
Multiple myeloma is a chronic cancer of the plasma cells that affects about 1 to 2 percent of all cancer patients.
It's chronic, meaning it can't be cured only controlled.
"These plasma cells just divide uncontrollably and basically overcrowd the bone marrow and thereby affecting the production of normal blood cells." said Oncologist Henry Igid with Comprehensive Cancer Centers in Las Vegas.
Dr. Igid says with new treatments, it's possible for some multiple myeloma patients to live longer than 5-years.
However, last year after only 7 rounds of chemo, Hanna had to stop treatment when it started damaging her kidneys and liver.
Now, nearly two-years after her diagnosis there's still no sign of remission.
"For me, the first stage I went through was denial, it couldn't be me and then it was why me? why do I have to have an incurable cancer? I'm a mom, I have 4 kids , 2 beautiful grandkids an amazing husband and I was living a good life I still am living a good life" Hanna said.
Hanna is still fighting.
She's been nominated by the Leukemia Lymphoma Society of Southern Nevada for woman of the year.
She can also win a research grant in her name, while raising money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.
"She is going to change the way people think of blood cancer and I’m so thrilled I get a front row seat at it." said Frederick Hubbs, with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.
Even with a chronic illness looming over her, Hanna remains hopeful that she'll see a cure in her lifetime.
As far as her treatment goes, she plans to visit UCLA in April to look into clinical trials.