Stephanie Matto, star of the hit reality series 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days, is flying to Australia to meet the love of her life, Erika Owens. Unfortunately, Stephanie has some serious medical issues that might complicate her trip; the reality star suffers from a rare bone marrow condition called aplastic anemia, a disorder that occurs when the body stops producing enough new blood cells.
The condition, which Stephanie discusses during her debut on tonight’s episode of the show, causes intense fatigue and can be deadly, as it leads to the increased likelihood of infections, and in some cases, uncontrollable bleeding. Here’s what you need to know about Stephanie’s issues with aplastic anemia:
Stephanie Was Diagnosed With Aplastic Anemia Two Years Ago
In the clip above, Stephanie discusses the illness, and admits that her condition has landed her in the hospital several times over the last two years. She tells the cameras that after she was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, she was in the hospital every other day for blood transfusions, which saved her life.
“Two years ago I was diagnosed with a very severe disorder called aplastic anemia, which means complete failure of the bone marrow. For months I needed blood transfusions every other day in order to stay alive, and I’ll never be 100 percent healthy. Bacterias that are safe for other people are really dangerous to me. Even something like a common cold can kill me,” she adds. “So traveling can be really dangerous because I’m always at risk for infection.”
The reality star also notes that, despite the risk she’s taking to fly to Australia, Erika is “worth it” because they have the most “intense connection that [she’s] never felt with anybody before.” However, her mother is concerned about the trip, and still doesn’t know that Stephanie is bisexual, so she believes her daughter is risking her life for someone who is just a friend.
Stephanie is Releasing a Documentary on Her Illness
Stephanie has been very open about her battle with aplastic anemia on her social media pages, and the reality star recently released a clip of a documentary on her YouTube page that covers her struggle with the disease. The three-minute preview, titled “Empty Blood,” shows clips of Stephanie before her diagnosis, when she was struggling with fatigue and severe (and sudden) bruising.
“I have aplastic anemia, which is a severe bone marrow disorder,” she tells the camera tearfully in the clip above. “Basically my bone marrow is failing.” The video goes on to show the social media influencer two years later, interviewing another family with an 18-year-old son who has the same condition. The video is powerful and highlights the issues that other families and individuals also have with aplastic anemia, and it ends on the inspirational note that those who are battling the disease are not alone.
Stephanie started a GoFundMe back in 2017 to help raise money for a bone marrow transplant. The reality star wrote, “I was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia, a severe blood disorder that causes your bone marrow to fail and not produce enough white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. I will be needing a bone marrow transplant, and until I get one I will be on a course of intense drugs similar to what chemo-patients receive.”
Stephanie’s illness will likely be explained further throughout the series, but we hope she doesn’t fall ill during her trip to Australia! Tune in Sunday nights at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. CST to catch new episodes of 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days on TLC. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out this author’s profile for all of your 90 Day Fiancé coverage and reality TV news!