chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)
In October 2015, my family had just moved to Texas for a new start. I had a new career, and two young boys ― a 2-year-old and a 7-year-old.
I wasn’t feeling well and went to urgent care one day where we discovered my white blood cell count was 113. They sent me straight to the ER where I was all alone because we had no one here yet and couldn’t bring the kids to the hospital. Three days later, I was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
My doctor said that I just needed this pill, and it would be fine. The medication was $20,000 a month. I did not have prescription coverage, and we had a bridge insurance plan that turned out to be a scam. I used the resources and stories from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to get myself through that time. I got prescription assistance, and my company hired me on for their insurance.
I am so blessed to be here still eight years later. It was not all rainbows and sunshine. I had many days of pain and side effects from the medications l. I slipped into depression for a couple of years because I just did not feel well and had to learn to adapt to the new normal. Some days it felt like I was not going to make it through and that CML would win, but I would read the LLS stories and see others with similar or worse situations, and I knew if they can do it, I can too.
Now I still get to be here and present every day. I get to be a mom and wife, an individual with dreams, and if I feel down, I know where to go for inspiration. I hope that someone out there feels less alone reading this and knows that others struggle as well. CML is not the good cancer as they call it; you will have good and bad days. There is also some survivor’s guilt I had to work through knowing that I just took a magic pill every day when so many treatments are more invasive. My story isn’t fair because cancer is not fair. You can get through this, and you are not alone.