I am Grayton Bliss and I am a survivor! I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in December 2008, at four years old. Today, I am 13 years old and I have conquered the disease and am in remission. My mother and father tell my story with a full and happy heart. We look back at photos taken just a few months prior to diagnosis and we can see the physical characteristics of the disease. My face was pale, my body thin and my skin bruised. Every photo I look at show a little more of the illness as if slowly my body giving into the disease.
On the Monday of Christmas week, I was sick with fever and symptoms similar to the flu. My mother took me to an urgent care facility and the doctor released me with an antibiotic and instructions to return if I wasn't better. A few days went by and my symptoms only got worse. That Friday, my mother took me to the emergency room at the hospital she worked at and there, the ER physician recommended admission to the nearest hospital that could further evaluate me. I was admitted into one of the best facilities in the area and I call it the 'Emerald City'. This hospital is just that, like in Oz, a place where dreams came true...for me that dream was to be cured.
As soon as I arrived the physician on call and her team welcomed me with open arms. I was placed into my own room, my labs were drawn and an aspiration done with the samples sent to the lab. Later that afternoon, it was confirmed I had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The options presented to my parents were to 1) start chemotherapy that evening or 2) start chemotherapy on Monday. Without hesitation, I started chemotherapy that evening.
I was in the hospital for treatment and care for an entire month. My body was slow to recover and accept the therapy, so they kept me in until my blood counts were better. My chemotherapy treatment continued for over three years and first started with monthly treatments spending long days in the hospital. The treatments were a combination of infusions and oral medications. During this time, I never felt fear nor worry. Maybe I was just too young to know what was really going on with me. It seemed to me, even both my parents were calm during the three years. They say that I was their strength. They say my courage and my attitude helped to lift their spirits.
I am in remission, and it will be 10 years come January 2019. Every day is a celebration of life and I am thankful for every moment! I continue my four month visits at the same hospital. My heart is always full and filled with joy to be with the physician and nurses that have taken care of me and followed me through my journey!