Last year was, undoubtedly, the most difficult year of my life. Like most families we had our issues, but my story started on an ordinary day. I was just taking care of household chores and taking care of my mother in law, who had dementia. I was the caregiver of the household, while my partner worked. It was July, and I didn't feel good. I didn't want to say anything because we had enough stress with my mother in law living in our home which doubled as a hospice,
The symptoms were pretty severe. I was sweating, losing weight, waking up with headaches and stomach pain, and my entire body was in pain and I suffered from constant fatigue. Honestly, I just thought my anemia came back... like most I don't want to make a big deal about things. I like to stay under the radar, besides I have to take care of my mother in law. I just can't be sick, we just don't have time for this.
It was early August and I tried to get a doctor's appointment. The earliest we have is October they said. I thought to myself, I feel like I could die by then! Little did I know, my thought wasn't that far off base.
Weeks go by, many phone calls later, and I finally get a blood test. This single test changed my life forever! I went in to do a blood test on a Tuesday in August, and I had 4 vials of blood drawn. I was thinking and hoping it was just the anemia again with a simple fix. Wednesday morning I received a phone call telling me to go to my doctor right away. My white blood cells and platelets are in the millions. I was exhausted, half asleep, and I felt so confused as to what that even means.
When I arrived at the doctor's office they immediately took 7 more vials of blood. That afternoon we received a phone call to go to a oncologist office the next day. The next day, after 12 more vials of blood drawn, they immediately told me I needed a bone marrow test. This is when I started feeling a bit helpless. By now, after 23 vials of blood drawn, I was even more tired and massively confused. Seriously, what's next?
The following week, I received 3 phones call on Wednesday September 7 (my anniversary day) to come to the office, and then to have a bone marrow test too. This was the day I received the news I have Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML). Immediately, my mind went to my duties to my mother in law and how I was going to beat this so I can get back to taking care of her. I was so pleased when my oncologist adjusted her scheduled vacation just to work with me on a treatment plan. I have been on prescription medication since then, and I am continuing to fight my battle every day.
I found out about LLS and Light the Night by hearing about it from one of my kids at the Boys & Girls Club. I also saw an LLS flyer at the oncology office. I attended Light the Night in November of 2016 and it lifted my spirits. My friends, family, and even my kids from the Boys & Girls Club came out to support me. That night inspired me and brought me some much needed hope after my year of difficulties. I hope to inspire other patients like myself and to help LLS raise money so that we can find a cure for this awful disease.