Welcome to my page. I want to tell you a little about my why. Why I fundraise, why I walk. Why I am so grateful for your donations. This is my story:
The weeks following my 33rd birthday, I was feeling a little off. I was tired, there were a few nights of flu like aches and night sweats. I knew there was something wrong. I had bloodwork done on a Friday, by Tuesday they were taking bone marrow and a bone biopsy from my hip, and by Thursday, I was sitting in a dimly lit room, while Dr. Cuban confirmed I had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Cancer. I didn't hear much after that. I couldn't breathe. I looked around wishing for a window. I was suffocating in there. I stretched my arms wide, and tried to open my chest. I needed more air!
That was Dec 22, 2016. I was encouraged to begin treatment immediately, as it was a fast acting cancer. I was told I would begin a treatment plan called the Dana Farber protocol, that it has been protocol for A.L.L for at least a decade, and that it has high success rates. The doctors laid out a precise plan for the next two years, and although I could only handle one day at a time in the beginning, they knew the drugs, the dates, how they wanted my bloodwork to read, and the side effects I was most likely going to have.
The Dana Farber Protocol was hard. It consisted of
- The Induction Phase: 4 weeks in the hospital with 5 different types of Chemo, several lumbar punctures, and a high dose of steroids.
- CNS Therapy: 3 Weeks of Cranial Radiation, along with chemo, lumbar punctures and more steroids
- Intensification Phase: 30 weeks of chemo 1-2 times a week, with nightly oral chemo and steroids. Plus more lumbar punctures
- Continuation Phase: 72 weeks similar to the Intensification Phase, but with lower doses.
It was a long 2 years. I was sick, and often sad. The irony was I had been asking for a “minute” to catch up to life, and I was blessed with 2 years. I had time to rest, and relax. I had time for building my relationships. My mom, my dad, my sisters, my friends. I had really sweet nooks of time with them as they carved out space for me in their still busy days. I had time to hear the birds sing, I had time to be quiet and still and get perspective. I had time to absorb the ridiculous amount of Love that surrounded me. There were silver linings in abundance.
Throughout treatment, I would read survivor stories for inspiration and information. Now I get to contribute my own, and it is so therapeutic. I am so grateful for continued efforts to fund the research. It is why I am alive.