COVID immune test leads to miraculous discovery for OKC woman
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — A miraculous discovery for an Oklahoma City woman and it’s all thanks to technology being used in the research of COVID-19.
It’s called COVID Phenotyping Assay (CPA) and you’ll only find it at one of seven labs nationwide.
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Before undergoing such testing, Oklahoma City dentist Dr. Debbie Ozment said she’s always considered herself the picture of health.
"Here I am 62 years old: I feel great. I'm active. I have tons of plans. I'm not ready to slow down at all,” Ozment said.
With this in mind, Ozment had zero concerns when she arrived at the Oklahoma Institute of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Dr. Amy Darter is the medical director.
"I knew that we needed testing that would better help the average person out there interrogate the immune system, so they could really know if they have underlying immune deficiencies,” Dr. Darter explained.
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As a healthcare professional, specializing in both dentistry and functional medicine, Dr. Ozment knew she had nothing to lose. And it's the knowledge she gained that will forever shape the rest of her life.
"We thought this would be a look at my immune system that would be like, 'Wow, you're doing great, Debbie.' But it was actually a text that said, ‘call me immediately,’” Ozment said. "They found out that it's chronic lymphocytic leukemia."
Ozment couldn't believe what she was hearing. First, there was shock, then denial, and then suddenly an overwhelming amount of gratitude.
"I really consider it an incredible blessing in my life. Because number one it's so early; I feel good. My white count is absolutely normal,” said Ozment.
In a sense, Dr. Darter said the cancer is not yet active, which means Ozment can make lifestyle changes that could prevent her from undergoing aggressive treatments down the road.
“All the time we are kind of having cells that can pop up that can be precancerous,” said Darter. "That's the reason we have to be very passionate about what we eat, about how we manage our stress, about our sleep, about our exercise regimen."
Each of these components has played a central role in Ozment's life for years. But she realizes now that cancer doesn't discriminate; you only get one body and one life.
"I already have an active life, but there's going to be things I do to enhance my body's detoxification potential. And, it's all good,” Ozment said.
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