Jamie Hogland: Now a gunshot and cancer survivor
By Brandon Gutierrez and Quanecia Fraser–
Guest Writer and Multimedia Journalist
“I’ve just got to keep going,” is Jamie Richards-Hogland’s outlook on life after being diagnosed with leukemia in January and going into remission in February.
Hogland, a Tarleton State University junior psychology student, has now survived at least two life-threatening situations. In December 2017, a man knocked on Hogland’s door at Oak Tree Apartments in Stephenville. When Hogland opened the door, police say she was shot in the face by Shawn Layton in a case of mistaken identity.
After the shooting incident that left her paralyzed from the shoulders down, 19-year-old Hogland underwent rehab therapy at Texas Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) Memorial Hermann in Houston where she began her recovery.
She says she couldn’t “move at all” when she got shot but after extensive therapy, she now has full control of her right hand, can move her arms, feed herself and help dress herself. She says she still cannot feel below her collarbone.
In early 2018, Hogland returned to her parents’ home in Conroe, where she began online classes to resume her Tarleton education.
On Jan. 21, Hogland went to her rehabilitation doctor for a check-up. Hogland said she told the doctor about bruising she had, as well as a paper cut that kept bleeding. She had her blood checked and when she was on her way home from the visit, she found out that she needed to go to the emergency room immediately.
Hogland says when she got to the emergency room, she was told, “If we don’t get an IV in you and give you blood and platelets, you can be dead in a couple hours.”
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, people who have less than 10,000-20,000 platelets in their blood are at risk of spontaneous bleeding. Hogland said she had just 5,000 platelets.
They told her that she had Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) “and that it was, like, very critical,” Hogland said. “I had to get chemo and platelets and blood right then. I started immediately as soon as I got to the hospital, so it was really fast, like all in one day.”
According to cancer.gov, AML is a type of cancer where there is an abnormal amount of white blood cells, red blood cells or platelets in the bone marrow. Acute Myeloid Leukemia accounts for 1 percent of all cancers, according to American Cancer Society.
“I’m so blessed to have had a doctor’s appointment that day because we had no clue what was going on,” said Hogland. “It was just really hard to find out I had Leukemia and find out how serious it was.”
“I just kept thinking I don’t want to die,” Hogland added in a phone interview from the hospital. “I didn’t understand why I had to go through this and got shot.”
Hogland is no longer going through treatments, but waiting for results on her health screenings.
“I just get blood and platelets when I need it, but right now I’m just waiting to see for my numbers to come back up and they’re going to take another biopsy,” Hogland said. “But all I got was really five days of chemo.”
During Hogland’s treatment process, she said she felt sensations below her collarbone for the first time since the shooting incident.
“It really freaked me out because since I’ve got shot, I haven’t had any sensation or anything,” Hogland said. “And then a few days ago, I just felt like my knees were tingling, like the inside of my knees and below. It was just extreme tingle.”
“I felt it the next day, but… I haven’t felt it much since then,” Hogland added.
Hogland went into remission on Feb. 16 but still has to go through chemotherapy. She says she stays positive through family, faith and knowing that she’s had a positive impact on others.
Hogland is working on getting her driver’s license. She will take online classes in the summer and plans to be a full-time student online in the fall.
Hogland expected to return to classes at Tarleton this spring but could not due to her AML diagnosis.
Hogland’s mother, Jessica, said that when her daughter had to drop her classes because of the cancer diagnosis, that caused a financial burden because the family will have to repay her student loans.
“We had to drop her classes because of the cancer and, of course, we are going to have to pay back her money that she just got for her student loans,” Jessica said in a phone interview. “That is more than double than what she got back, so financially that has really put a burden to figure out how we’re going to pay the school back that tuition.”
She estimated that the family will have to repay more than $2,000 because Hogland’s refund was only about $1,000.
Hogland said she looks forward to a future of graduating college and having a family.
“There’s all this stuff I just want to do, so I just have to keep going so I can do these things,” she said.
Hogland spends her free time managing her website, Facebook page and Instagram “You Walk I Roll.” She says she wanted to create a social media platform to not only connect with people at Tarleton State and in Texas, but also so that “people all over the world can follow my story.”
Hogland’s advice to others is this: “Life’s short. If there’s something you want, you need to go after it. You just need to keep going, you don’t need to give up. If I can do it, you can do it.”
She said she is thankful for the expressions of support she has received.
“I just want to thank everybody for just thinking of me,” Jamie said. “Everybody is always sending me messages just encouraging me, so I’m very grateful for that.” Hogland’s mother created a GoFundMe to raise money for her daughter’s medical expenses. To donate, go to https://bit.ly/2GTYywW
This girl has gone through so much in her life in such a short period of time and is still fighting her way through it. All over the country and the world, people fight their way through horrendous illnesses such as cancer, it shows people’s strength and determination to keep going. There are charities that will fundraise and donate towards research to help fight this, the lotus dispensary based in San Jose will be taking part in the light the night walk that happens to fundraise towards cancer research. If you are in this area, take part and see how you can help towards the fight against cancer.