In May of 2007, my life changed dramatically. After having a blood test in preparation for a routine procedure, I was contacted by the performing surgeon (that same evening) to go to the nearest hospital to be evaluated. The blood work revealed my white blood cell count was 219,449. The normal white cell count is usually between 4,000 and 10,000. My worst fears were about to unfold. Several hours after arriving at the Emergency Room and being hooked up to IV’s and having multiple tests performed, I was admitted to the hospital. My family never left my side, except to go home to sleep. Very early the next morning, an oncologist visited me and performed a bone marrow extraction. Wow…what an experience….extremely uncomfortable and scary at the same time. I was told that they were 90% sure that I had CML (chronic myelogenous leukemia), and that it would take approximately six weeks for the test results to be confirmed. I guess you know, it was the longest six weeks of my life. In the meantime, I was scheduled to see an oncologist the following week. That was the beginning of what was to be a very difficult road to travel. I was immediately started on oral chemotherapy to keep the ‘cancer’ at bay, until my diagnosis could be confirmed. After having myself a ‘pity party’, I decided that I would do whatever it took to fight this very scary disease and maintain as normal a life as possible. Since my diagnosis of CML was confirmed, I have experienced numerous side effects from the chemotherapy, and have to take several medications and supplements to alleviate some of the symptoms. Currently, I have been in remission for the past 10 years, as evidenced by my blood work, and I continue to maintain a ‘positive attitude’. Today, I am a Patient & Family Outreach and a First Connection Volunteer for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I speak to newly diagnosed blood cancer patients to answer questions, provide LLS resourcing, share my own story or just listen. This has been a very fulfilling experience for me but most important, it has enabled me to make life-long friends through my association with the staff and patients of the Southern Nevada Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If it weren’t for the unconditional love and support of my husband, family, friends, my Oncology staff, case management staff of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the grace of God, I would not have been able to travel this journey and maintain my inner strength. You all know who you are and I love you ALL very much…..God Bless!! Gail E.