Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's time...

Hi blogging world!

I've decided to end my blog, and really focus my energy on Heart2Heart's new website!!! I'm excited for the direction that it's headed in.

Some very exciting things going on for Heart2Heart! We have re-vamped our logo (complete with colors representing leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood cancers), I'll be doing a radio interview this week on behalf of Heart2Heart, and am working on some incredible fundraisers as well as seeking patients to hold marrow drives for. So if you know anyone, ANYWHERE let me know! Heart2Heart travels. :)

Thanks to all of my blog followers over the years! It's truly been an honor to share my experiences with the world. You can now follow my work with Heart2Heart at: Heart2Heart . Or you can follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

Wishing everyone the very best!!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Help me make Sept. Blood Cancer Awareness month!

U.S. Representatives Walter Jones and Besty Markey have brought forward a Congressional Resolution to make September officially "Blood Cancer Awareness" month.

Now is the time to increase education, research, and be an advocate for the people who have been affected by a blood cancer. I ask you to follow the link below, which automates an email to send to your U.S. Representative. TAKE ACTION!!!!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Be The One Run...to be held in November!

I have set up a Heart2Heart team for the 1st Annual Be the One Run, which benefits Be The Match marrow registry.

Every year 10,000 people with diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma need a marrow transplant but have no match in their family. These patients RELY on Be The Match to help them find an unrelated donor so that they can get the transplant necessary to survive.

I am asking YOU to either join my team or make a tax-deductible donation as we do a 5K run to raise money and awareness for blood cancers by following this link:


Remember; YOU have the power to save a life!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Can't believe it's JULY!!!

Hello to everyone who's been following my blog!

I know, I know....I'm fired for not having made an entry in about 6 months. But it's for good reason! I was officially diagnosed with Eosiniphilic Gastroenteritis! And yes, there is an exclamation point not because I'm happy with the diagnosis, but because I am finally HEALTHY (so the speak)!!! I never thought I could feel this good again, but thanks to the Mayo Clinic and my primary physician, I have worked myself back up to excellent health. So thanks for being patient and waiting SOOOO long for another entry!

Although I've been focusing on getting myself better, that does not mean I've neglected my commitment to LLS, Heart2Heart, or the American Heart Association. I'm in the process of putting teams together for Light the Night, Be the One Run, and have done multiple presentations for the AHA on Cardiovascular Disease as well as the Go Red campaign. I also entered the Intramural speech tournament at Cal State Northridge (where I attend school), and won 1st place in the Persuasive Speech category....of course my topic was "Becoming a Marrow Donor".

So I welcome everyone back to my blog! Definitely more posts on a consistent basis to follow. Before I sign off, I'd LOVE to wish the best of luck to the California girls as they compete for Miss and Miss Teen International.

hugs to all, Hilary

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Health at Mayo Clinic Update

Hi everyone!

Ok so last I left off we have found out that i had severe anemia, due to an extreme iron deficiency. We had found out that my hemoglobin level was a 6.6, which means I had HALF the amount of blood as a normal person, therefore my heart/brain/body had to work twice as hard to pump the blood through faster to get oxygen through my body.

I have seen 3 cardiologists since I have been here, and all see to be in agreement. I definitely have POTS, which was diagnosed years ago. This just means that when I stand up, my heart inappropriately races. All 3 cardiologists also agree that the severe anemia is causing a tachycardia now, as well as what they call a "flow-mur". This is like a heart murmur but only happens because the body can't move the blood fast enough, therefore it causes it to skip beats.

I saw the kidney specialist who thinks the swelling in my legs is caused by idiopathic edema. This is caused by a capillary leak, and only occurs in young females.

I have also seen a endocrinologist since I have had elevated cortisol levels since the start of 2009. However he thinks that my adrenal glands are just working overtime to battle what my body is going through, and that they are not having independent problems.

I had an endoscopy of the Upper GI done last Friday, and that showed multiple (seriously probably over 30) ulcerations. They are basically just small, superficial ulcers in my stomach. These are thought the be the source from which I was bleeding. They said because they are so small, I was just oozing over a long period of time which I would not have noticed. They took biopsies of the ulcerations as well as throughout my stomach. Yesterday I found out that I have high levels of eosinophils in my stomach and small intestines...eosinophils are white blood cells. I have tentatively been diagnosed with Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis. This is perplexing all of the doctors here because the ONLY symptoms that I have of this disorder, is anemia and slight asthma. But having a high level of eosiniphils has been confirmed through blood work as well as biopsy results. But like I said this is a tentative diagnosis, there are a few other options it could be but we have to get the anemia under control before we know for sure (other things are a couple types of leukemia, blood clotting disorders, etc).

So if it is EGE, how are all of these symptoms related to it? The thought is that I developed EGE, which caused the ulcerations. The ulcerations slowly bled, until I developed the Idiopathic Edema, Flow-Mur, tachycardia, and elevated cortisol levels. So first we have treat the anemia before we can take care of the others!

Tomorrow I am heading back to CALIFORNIA!!!!!! I will be returning back to the Mayo Clinic January 4, 2010 to get to the root of the problem, after we get the anemia under control through at home blood work-up. Thank you to everyone for your support, concern and love. Of course I will keep everyone posted on what the final decision is in a few weeks, as well as plans for a future trip back to the Mayo Clinic.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mayo Clinic!!

Monday was my first appointment at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ. I met with my diagnostic doctor, Dr. Windgassen, who was in charge of listening to my MANY complaints, and then deciding what tests needed to be run, who I needed to see, etc. She sent me immediately to get an echo cardiogram and blood work. I was provided with my schedule that she had put together so far, which looks like I will be here at least through Thurs. Nov 17 because she has every day filled with things to do.

When they drew my blood they took 15 vials of blood, which took FOREVER!!!! Less than two hours after that I got a phone call from Dr. Windgassen that I needed to immediately go to the ER for a blood transfusion, because my blood count was 6....and should be a 12! After 13 hours in the hospital, and 3 units of blood later, I was released at a 9. I was told today that I am at a 9.5. They have discovered that my severe anemia is because I am severely iron deficient! I literally have almost 0 iron in my body. So now in addition to all of the tests and specialists I was originally slated to see, we now have to figure out what the cause is.

On Friday I am scheduled to have a GI Endoscopy, which I will be under anesthesia for. Hopefully we can determine from that what is causing my blood count to be so low.

It's truly beautiful here, and such a relaxing place to be. I will be sure to post updates as they come along. Thank you to everyone for your love and support, this is a really difficult time for me and I really appreciate it!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's Been A Long Time!!!

My year as Miss California International is officially over. It was the best year of my life to date, and I am thankful every day for the people I have met and the difference I was able to make as Miss California International. I only hope that my successor, Gretheel Olvera, has an amazing year like I did!

Fall semester at CSUN started, and I have been overwhelmingly busy with schoolwork. Graduation has been a long time coming (due to changing my major a hundred times lol). So I am really trying to take as many classes as I can each semester so I can graduate ASAP. As quite a few of you know I've been battling some health problems, some my whole life, and some new ones that started in early 2009. The shortness of breath, difficulty with stairs, hard time talking, and massive leg swelling is really starting to take its toll on me....thus a HUGE reason why I haven't blogged in so long!! The symptoms seem to be getting worse and worse, and now I am exhausted 24-7. Not for long I hope, I had some testing done and am expecting results in the next few days....so keep your fingers crossed!!

I hope everyone is having a great fall so far, and I promise to keep everyone updated on what's new in my life! HUGS!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Marrow Donor Drive

Just a few months ago I was put in contact with a young woman in Arlington, VA who was interested in holding a marrow donor drive. Her sister, who is currently undergoing treatment for leukemia, actually lives here in Southern California! I was so excited at the thought that Heart2Heart could hold it's first marrow donor drive outside of California, that I jumped at the opportunity.

After a LOOOOONG (did I mention delayed?!) flight to the East coast last night, I was ready for Heart2Heart's drive this morning. We had a wonderful turn-out, and Be The Match registry will be receiving quite a few new and willing donors. I had such a fantastic time chatting with Sara and Emily, who helped put the drive together, that the day just flew by. But of course the day didn't end there! Sara and her frieds were so sweet...they volunteered to show me around the DC area....I love being a tourist!

Thank you so much to Sara, her friends and family, and Be The Match registry for making today so successful. After today's drive I am confident that many more chances like this will become available for Heart2Heart...I just know it! :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Send Off Party!

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This weekend my parents hosted a party in my honor so that my friends, family, and sponsors could wish me luck before I head to Chicago for the Miss International pageant! The party was at River Ridge Golf Club, and was decorated in shades of purple. About 70 people came to share in this wonderful evening with me. There was a really neat slide show presentation on all of the events I have taken part in since winning Miss California International, as well as some surprise certificates of accolades including my hometown mayor, and Congressman Elton Gallegly. I also previewed pieces of my wardrobe for the Miss International pageant since I knew all of my girlfriends would love a fashion show!

I felt so lucky to have won Miss California International...and becoming a part of the California International sisterhood has definitely surpassed my expectations. I've had a wonderful time sharing my year with Sheryl, Elise, and Jayne. Eddie and Dennis have been integral in my year, and have truly become a part of my family. Thank you so much to my parents and sister for throwing me such an amazing bash, and for your continual support, strength, and love. You're the best!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Be The Match Marrowthon

On behalf of Be The Match marrow registry, I am posting this in the hopes that if you are not already on the registry, that you do so in the next two weeks! You can SAVE A LIFE!!!

Every day we are faced with decisions. Some decisions we make are life-changing. Other decisions we make touch someone else's life. I am pleased to offer you an opportunity to make a decision that can do both-change your life and touch some else's life.

Every day, thousands of patients, are searching for a life-saving donor - someone just like you. BE THE MATCH Registry helps people who need a life-saving marrow or blood cell transplant. The registry connects patients, doctors, donors and researchers to the resources they need to help more people live longer and healthier lives.

Join Be The Match Registry:

From June 8th through June 22nd, The Be The Match marrowthon seeks to add 46, 000 new members to the registry and raise funds for the Be The Match Foundation. While it does cost $100.00 to add a new member to the registry, during the marrowthon campaign the fee is waived for the first 46, 000 registered.

Joining is easy. Patients need donors who are between the ages of 18 and 60, in good general health, and are willing to donate to any patient in need. Click on the link below to begin your registration and remember to add the promo code Hopemarrowthon09.

http://www.marrow.org/JOIN/Join_Now_Special/Marrowthon09/join_now_mt09.html When asked to provide a "Promo Code", please enter Hopemarrowthon09.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!