I was born a fighter: From childhood cancer to 22 years remission

I Was Born a Fighter: From Childhood Cancer to 22 Years Remission

My cancer journey began when I was two years old.

We lived in a neighbourhood with well water and several of our neighbours, including myself, got sick very quickly. Doctors ran all sorts of tests and I was diagnosed with things that children my age didn’t experience, such as Fifths Disease. My body was attacking itself, I was covered in hives and bruises and I would scream if I had even the softest touch on my body.

My mother really fought to get second opinions because she knew something else was wrong.

She finally found a doctor who would do the testing to rule out cancer; it didn’t. I was diagnosed with leukemia at age three.

While this experience was extremely stressful for my entire family and traumatic for me, we fought through it. I began trial treatment in Indianapolis with Riley Children’s Hospital with only 2% blast cells — normally patients have upwards of 90% before they begin treatment. I was in remission within 2 weeks, but had to be on chemotherapy for 2 years. I lost all my hair, including my eyebrows. I didn’t go out much because I was more susceptible to sunburns and infections.

I remember so many small details of everything that happened.

I was quite the diva and cursed a lot for everyone to hear.

I had to take horrible medicine, received a complete blood transfusion, and had regular spinal taps that I had to be sedated for.

I remember getting my front teeth pulled and the rest capped to prevent infection, I had an external central line, so I could only take baths. I was constantly vomiting and we were driving 3 hours down to Indy several times a week.

Even though that all sounds bleak, it wasn’t all bad.

My parents were one of the first parents to stay at the Ronald McDonald House, my parents  spent more time together, and even though I was ill during the trip, we were sent to Disney World to meet Mickie and Minnie by the Make A Wish Foundation. I remember being sent off with gifts and being surrounded by some of the most wonderful people.

As hard as everything was, I am meant to be here. I was born a fighter. And even though cancer has attributed to problems that I have now physically, I don’t let it define me. I am a strong, intelligent woman now because of what I went through then.

Just to say also: This will also be my 4th year doing a toy drive/fundraiser for children with cancer and the homeless because of a stuffed animal I got when I was sick. We usually surprise them with hundreds of items each year.

Gifts For Children With Cancer

Further Reading

How To Choose Useful & Comforting Gifts For Chemo Patients

Our Journey through Teen Cancer: A Mother’s Perspective from the USA.

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