On July 17, 2007 I received some shocking news that forever changed my life. I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia, or CML as it is more commonly known as. The only thing that I could compare receiving such news to is being hit on the side of the head with a sledgehammer. As the doctor was speaking to me and explaining my options, all I could think about were my two sons, then ages 1 and 4. Would I be able to see them graduate from high school or dance with them on their wedding days?
The next couple of days I walked around in a fog. As I looked around at other people, I wondered if they knew that I was sick and I resented them for being healthy. It was definitely a dark time in my life as I pondered over what was going to happen to me. The following weekend, I remember laying in my bed and just crying non-stop because I couldn’t believe that this was happening to me at such a young age. I stayed in bed all day feeling sorry for myself until a voice from deep within catapulted me out of my stupor.
I finally decided to rise from my slumber and vehemently told my husband that I would never have another pity party for myself like that one again. In that very moment, I decided to fight for my life! After all, I have a great husband who supports me unconditionally and two beautiful children who deserve to have me around for all of the major events in their lives. That day began my journey of educating myself about my illness and causing me to be my own best advocate with regards to my healthcare.
Fast forward to today, this July will make 6 years since my initial diagnosis. Although I will have to be on medication for the rest of my life, I am so grateful to be alive. I cherish every moment that I have to spend with my children and they make me feel thankful every second that I am with them. In retrospect, having Cancer has made me 2x stronger than I ever was before. There is nothing like facing your own mortality as a young woman to make you appreciate life a lot more. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about how fortunate I have been and thank God for my many blessings.
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