As a teenager, you feel invincible, ready to take on life and the great big world. When you dream of it, it’s epic and fun and there is a soundtrack of life playing in your head like a scene out of a movie. At 18 years old, everything changed in an instant.
I was diagnosed with leukemia.
"No, not me... You’re kidding... I’m not dying... I must have mono or something," I thought.
Everything that could go wrong did, and then some. I was told to consider saying my goodbyes. Then my amazing pediatric oncologist walked in the room and accepted the challenge of leading my fight. Everything changed.
Shortly after a few medical hiccups, I was in intensive care starting a grueling treatment. After four rounds of heavy chemotherapy and full body radiation I was ready for a bone marrow transplant. Lucky for me, I am one of four sisters and two of my sisters were perfect matches for the transplant. My bone marrow transplant was successful and I am happy to say, I have been leukemia-free for 17 years.
For many years, I was told I would never be able to have children due to my treatment exposure and the damage done to my body. But by another medical miracle, I conceived and gave birth to a healthy baby girl with no complications nearly 11 years post leukemia.
For the last 17 years I have been living a relatively normal life, with minor side effects.
And then it all hit again. In March 2019, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. At just 35 years old, with a 6-year old in kindergarten, I had the same feelings all over again: "you have got to be kidding me!"
My old nemesis was back for one more round. The thing was, it was actually a relief knowing it was me and not my daughter or someone else I knew and loved. But
I never thought it would happen the first time, let alone again!
So with round two, I'm ready to fight even harder, because I have a little brown-eyed, curly-haired little girl who depends on me to do so, and I need her!
I'm happy to say, I just finished chemotherapy and radiation for the second time in my life. I am healing and getting used to a different body.
As I look to the future, I want to be healthy through and through. Currently, I am hiking 2-5 miles daily or 30 minutes workout, 5 times a week.
I want to travel to the places I dream of the adventures I imagine.
But, I also need help getting things back on track. My life was on a very tight single mother budget to begin with. As a pre-school teacher, I already don't have a huge income and I have made my disability stretch as long as possible. After all of this I need a life changer. I need another miracle. I need my sails shifted in a different direction.
Telling my story and looking back on what I've been through, I'm reminded of what I'm fighting for - the miracle of my daughter!