I was 18 and had just moved away to go to nursing school, when I was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). In 1997, the only treatment option for CML was a stem cell transplant, a far cry from the oral treatment options available today.
Within months of diagnosis I was admitted to the hospital to undergo an allogeneic transplant from my older brother. It was a long and hard treatment plan, but I made it, despite my 25% survival statistic. I was able to return to school within two years and in 2003 I graduated with my bachelors of science, in nursing. Even though oncology nursing would never have been my specialty choice prior to my diagnosis, it was the only area of nursing I had a passion for after my cancer experience.
In January 2004, I became an oncology and bone marrow transplant nurse in the same unit I had been treated in years before. In December 2011, I became the clinical nurse educator of the same units. I have earned my master’s degree in nursing education and I am an oncology certified nurse.
It is an awesome experience to work with and educate some of the same nurses who cared for me all those years ago. In 2014 I was nominated and won Woman of the Year for the LLS's Greater Sacramento area Chapter. That was truly just the beginning of my LLS journey. I have been an active participant and co-captain of the Sutter Health Light The Night team. I also facilitate a monthly blood cancer support group through LLS.
I believe that LLS will find the cure for blood cancers and I am honored to be a part of that. I am sure I would not be here without research funded by LLS. LLS makes us much more than a statistic. LLS is funding life. Because of the amazing work of LLS, I am able to give back, be a wife, and a mom, everything I was told may never happen. It is the least I can do to give back.