Alejandra Carasa arrived in the United States with one suitcase and a thirst for success. Cuban-born Alejandra has been living with T-cell cutaneous lymphoma, also known as mycosis fungoides (MF), since 1999.
MF is the most common of the group of cutaneous T-cell lymphomas. With this disease, immune system T-cells become cancerous, and skin lesions occur on the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, and breasts, but the lesions themselves are not cancerous. The disease usually progresses slowly.
During the treatment, she met Veda Smith, a nurse who who specializes in photopheresis treatment. Alejandra has met many nurses during her two-decade battle with MF, but Veda stands out because of her exemplary professionalism as well as compassion.Veda has encouraged Alejandra through her longest, hardest and most painful days, and she takes the time to explain every detail about treatment. And of course, she reprimands Alejandra too—for things like not staying hydrated.
Veda’s love for her profession, compassion for her patients, and dedication to giving the best care possible is obvious to all her patients. Alejandra says that without Veda, her treatment would not be nearly as effective, and credits her as a large factor in keeping a positive attitude. In fact, Veda, who at 66 years old, is still working as a television producer. With the support of her healthcare team, and especially Veda, the little Cuban girl with one suitcase has come a long way. She not only considers herself a success, but more importantly, a survivor.