Monday, February 2, 2015
Two Years Old!
Two years ago today, I went to urgent care not feeling well and full of bruises. While waiting for blood work hours later, the doctor told me I had to go to the hospital, they would have a room waiting for me, there was something wrong with my blood. He wouldn't tell me what, just that I had to go to the hospital. From there, a doctor walked into my room to tell me I have leukemia and an ambulance was coming to take me to another hospital, in Chicago. They couldn't help me locally.
I cried instantly. My boyfriend cried instantly. I thought I was going to die that night. I had never been in a hospital as a patient before that day. Now, I walk around them like I own the place!
Two years ago I was almost dead. My platelets were so low, I would bruise up when they took my blood pressure or a sample of blood. I think they were 11. A number like 250 is more normal, fyi. Platelets are the part of your blood that help you scab up. So, I could have cut myself and bled to death at some point if I wasn't in the hospital. I would get blood, platelets and other blood products regularly, because my body stopped making them. In fact, my body didn't want to make anything but white blood cells. I started getting fevers, night sweats, and all the drugs and chemo didn't help me feel better, either. However, they saved my life. APL is not going to get the best of me.
That day, my life started over. I remember calling one of my oldest friends, Cheryl. Today is also her birthday, but that day I don't remember if I even said "happy birthday" to her. I remember talking to her on the phone, maybe the next day or so after I found out. It was the first time I told someone on the phone I had cancer, I think. It was hard to talk without crying. I don't remember much of that conversation. I was locked in the hospital at Rush, which was over an hour away from all my family, so there were many times in that first 5 week stay I was super lonely, scared, and not right. Facebook, Skype, and some long distance cards from Big Daddy became a saving grace. I did not get the best cell signal, so the long distance cards made talking easy, not worrying about going over my minutes.
I realized how much my boyfriend (Big Daddy) loves me. He already told me Happy Anniversary today, and it truly is a reason to be happy. He visited me almost every day. He bought and brought me things like my favorite ginger ale, lip balms, frozen pizzas, candy, clothes (oh he would pick up my pajamas and my blanket, wash them and bring them back the next day). He got me about 7 pairs of pajamas that were buttoned-front so I could easily wear them with all my ports/IV. He would give me sponge baths when I wasn't allowed to shower. He would walk me every morning so I wouldn't lose too much muscle. He also brought me a greek yogurt parfait each morning, too, so we could eat breakfast together. I had just moved in with Big Daddy two months before I got sick. And then, life changed instantly. He had to go through my stuff and figure out all my life things-- where I keep my money, passwords, bills, my po box, everything, while I was suck in the hospital.
My brother came and sat with me every night while I got my chemo in the hospital. He one time came in and I wasn't feeling well, and he had to see the doctors rush in and take chest x-rays, blood work, and see me really sick. I'll never forget that night. Another night he brought me Pizza Hut and we ate while I got my chemo. It was right before I lost the taste buds in my mouth--that lasted over a month!
I just can't believe I am finally here. Sure, I still have some issues. But, I know they will get worked out over time. My skins still not right. My hormones are out of whack and trying to decide if I'm 38 or 68. My body still aches in certain places. However...at the same time I just know it will be okay.
This has been a long journey, and I am thankful for all the prayers and well wishes. I know most of you know my story. Leukemia sucks. I am so happy to be hear. That night, two years ago, I promised God I would make a difference if I was given more time. I cried, and I told him I was not ready to die. I mean that. Still not ready, and I am working hard to make that difference.
Leukemia doesn't define me, but it has definitely shaped my life since my diagnosis. I can't ignore it, and I don't want to. I want to help others who are fighting like I did. Tomorrow, I see my local hematologist, and I can't wait to deliver some lemon pound cake to the patients. Its small...making cookies and such for the patients at Dr. Farhat's office. The nurses are nice, they love it, and everyone seems in a good mood. Besides, it gives me an excuse to stay and talk to others getting their chemos. Most of them have different cancers. Doesn't matter. Chemo can be boring and sometimes its helpful to have someone to talk to that has walked the walk and can relate. I hope God counts this in my efforts, because I love doing it so much. It makes me so happy to deliver cookies to that office. It makes me so happy to talk to other cancer patients. It heals me.
Have a blessed day, and thank you for reading this message!