My story started in 2011. My mom was going through lymphoma treatment. I joined with Team in Training to help find a cure for blood cancers. Over the years, I raised close to twenty thousand dollars, and visited the pediatric cancer patients at the hospital, bringing them teddy bears. I saw the side effects, strength, and state of mind required to get through this.
Fast forward to the 2018, WDW Marathon Weekend. A race I was running in honor of my mom. She unexpectedly passed, at the end of May of 2017. She beat cancer, but lost her life due to a heart attack. Chemo gave our family more years with her that I am forever grateful for.
After contemplating still training and running, I continued on. A few weeks later, I suffered a knee injury, and had surgery. I still participated in the marathon. I crossed that finish line with my mom watching over me. With tears in my eyes, I finished on top of the world.
Two weeks later, I went in for my annual checkup. I had some pain, but thought it was sinus issues or race related injuries. My doctor suggested we do blood work. Two days later, I got a call. I was told I needed to get to my doctor’s office ASAP.
I knew I had some form of cancer. Was I shocked from the news? Not one bit. My aunt, uncle and mom have all suffered from cancer, and I knew it was a matter of time for me.
That night, I was admitted to the hospital to have a biopsy performed. The results made it official. I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). An aggressive and fast moving leukemia.
With the help from both Florida Cancer and Suncoast Chapter of LLS, I started my treatments a month later. At that point, my counts had bottomed out. In just one month, a lot can change. I was hospitalized for two weeks, while doing the induction therapy. It is a hard, brutal, and inhumane chemo therapy.
Until you have chemo pumping through your blood, you can’t understand how difficult the situation is. I was given pills, IVS, and chemo spinal injections. There were countless hospital stays, doctor appointments, blood, and platelet transfusions. Just walking took a lot of energy.
Chemo made me susceptible to any sickness out there. A simple cold could end my life. I still cannot understand how children endure these treatments. The doctors put me on anti-depressants to clear my head to help me function free of dark thoughts. I owe my life to LLS and my doctors. I continue my treatment to get my blood levels back to a healthy level.
I look forward to my youngest daughter’s wedding, running, finishing future races with Team in Training, and hopefully a grandchild in my near future. All these goals, Team in Training, and my fellow alums support, keep me going.
Don't sit back, and watch cancer continue to take lives. No one should have to go through this inhumane disease. Donate, so that one day there will be no cancer.