A hospital volunteer pokes his head behind the protective set of glass doors and into the little room where Breana Turner waits to have her blood drawn.
"Are you warm enough, hon? Do you need a blanket?" His tender countenance suggests he's asked the questions before.
Turner smiles, tells him she's comfortable, and he walks down the hall to the next set of glass doors, where another sealed-off patient whose immune system is weakened by its fight with cancer, waits.
It's been three months since Turner, 36, learned she had leukemia, and even after all the marrow-drawing needles have bored into her hip bone and the two rounds of chemotherapy, the diagnosis still seems strangely wrong to her.
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"Everybody says your sick, but you don't look sick and you don't feel sick," said Turner. "How can I be in this situation and really feel so normal?"
A few months back, normal was working as an early intervention therapist and enjoying family life with her husband Randy, and sons Bryce, Drew and Carson.
Sure, she was tired, she says, but what mother of three boys younger than 9 wouldn't be?
When a high fever, cough and achiness joined the fatigue, her primary care physician took one look at her and sent her home with Tamiflu.
But when the cough still wouldn't relent, Turner's sister urged her to visit the emergency room, worried she may have developed pneumonia.
She figured the doctors would take a simple chest X-ray and she would be home before long.
But the tests kept coming and the hours kept going in the ER.
A doctor finally broke the tedium of waiting, but with a dizzying whirlwind of disturbing words, most of which Turner only remembers in fragments. More tests. Very sick. Bone marrow biopsy. Possible blood transfusion.
Acute Myeloid Leukemia, the diagnosis she was given, is a rare, quickly progressing form of blood cancer that mimics influenza in its early stages and if not caught in time, is typically fatal within weeks or months.
Immediately, Turner's doctors began searching for a bone marrow match. Her local church, Epworth United Methodist Church in Concord, held a bone marrow typing event. There, 31 people joined the registry.
Her home church in York, S.C., held one, too. More than a hundred signed up.
But of the millions registered internationally, not a single match came up for Turner.
Now, in a few weeks, she'll travel to Duke in Raleigh to take part in a clinical trial that aims to use stem cells from umbilical cords to cure her leukemia. Doctors will first use a form of chemotherapy that will permanently destroy her immune system, then once she's ready, will introduce the new stem cells.
"If the new cells grow in my body I will develop an immune system," said Turner. "It won't be my immune system. It will be whoever this infant is."
Until then, Turner and her family have a new normal. She packs lunches for her boys, then walks them to school before heading to the hospital to have her blood levels checked.
When her counts are fine, she can leave right away, but when they are low, she must receive hours of blood products.
"That's what sustains my life until my numbers can recover," she said.
Turner is thankful she didn't suffer the effects of chemotherapy others have been known to feel. She still has enough energy to jump on the trampoline with her boys and play basketball in their Riverwalk neighborhood, even though she tires easier now.
"It's been a blessing that I've felt this good," she said. "It doesn't seem like a reality for any of us."