The past year for Alyssa has been difficult. She was not feeling well for at least the past year and back in March was diagnosed with a histiocytosis disease.
Despite not feeling well, Alyssa graduated from high school in May 2017. She is an outstanding student and graduated from Marquette Catholic High School with National Honor Society honors.
I was originally diagnosed with AML in November 2008. I went through one induction chemo and 4 consolidation chemos and was cancer free until February 2017. My worst fears were confirmed when I was diagnosed again with AML. This time it took two induction chemos to be declared in remission. I was then given a month off and went back in to the hospital for more chemo and a bone marrow transplant. The last chemo nearly cost me my life. My kidneys and liver were shutting down.
In 2015, I was living in NYC and noticed a lump under my left armpit when I was in the shower. Nobody likes to go to the doctor to talk about strange bodily findings, so I waited for a few months to see if it would magically go away on its own. It didn't.
I finally worked up the courage to make a doctor appointment. I showed the lump to my primary care physician, and he said, "Andrew, that's why you came to see me? Just change your deodorant, and you'll be fine."
In June 2014 I dislocated my knee. I saw the doctor and after an MRI and an X Ray was told I needed physical therapy and rest. I did both and my knee saw a slight improvement but on New Year's Day, 2015, while playing with my children, I dislocated my knee again. Being as it was the New Year, I decided that I would make my health my focus and decided to see a specialist to deal with the knee.
I believe in this: Truth + Love + Beauty = Strength. I know this because my life depends on it. I endured poor-prognosis acute myeloid leukemia, multiple rounds of brutal chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, and open heart surgery - all for only a small chance of survival. The journey since has not been a recovery; It has been a resurrection. Lingering effects of the life-saving treatments seem endless.
In 2014, I was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma, one of the most aggressive of all blood cancers and without quick action I would have had only 90 days to live…that was three years ago.
Like many people who have a near-death experience, it changed my outlook forever.
While I was ill, I thought a lot about what I missed out on in life and in my career. I procrastinated too much, I spent too long paralyzed by the fear of failure and I struggled when faced with adversity.