chronic myeloid leukemia (CML)
Albemarle, NC United States
In March of 2021, I was diagnosed officially with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) after a blood test and bone marrow biopsy. I had just turned 30 and had my first child in August 2020. My OB/GYN noticed that my platelet and white blood cell counts were way out of the normal range and referred me to a hematologist. I did not go, thinking it is just the stress of my body carrying a baby. After I had my son, I began feeling really bad. I had no energy and had the feeling in the pit of my stomach that something was wrong. I started having leg pain and made a few trips to the ER because I knew something wasn't right. They found 3 DVT blood clots in my left leg. Then I was referred to a hematologist again, who would later become my oncologist. I remember getting the call from him. I didn't sleep that night, I wailed, cried, and worried for my little 6-month-old son. My whole life changed. What I thought would be the happiest time of my life soon turned tragic. I lived in a haze of being half here and half in shock. How could I have a rare type of cancer that is mainly diagnosed in older men? Why me? Why, when I just thought my life was beginning, did it seem like it was ending? I was angry at God. I felt that I had done something wrong to deserve this.
As soon as my diagnosis was confirmed, I started Sprycel 100 mg daily. It is a TKI that helps me live. Within a few weeks of starting Sprycel, my numbers miraculously went down, all the way down to undetectable! Here I am a little over a year later, and I'm still in remission. The side effects of the TKI can affect me horribly sometimes. Sometimes I'm not able to play with my toddler like I want because I feel too tired and weak. But then my husband steps in. I am so blessed to have that kind of support. I am so blessed to have such a good response to treatment because not many do. My oncologist thinks I could potentially be a candidate for treatment-free remission if I remain undetectable for three years!
What keeps me going is my son, my family, and my faith. Sometimes we don't know why things happen, but we have to play the cards we've been dealt. God has a purpose for this. For me. I'm still here. If anything, this has made me stronger. It has made me bold and made me fearless. I do not feel like the ashes, I feel like the phoenix.