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Life Can Change With 3 Words But Don't Let It Rule You

Posted on June 09 2015

Life Can Change With 3 Words But Don't Let It Rule You
What started out, we thought, to be a sinus infection turned into a whole lot more. On September 17, 2013, I was driven to the emergency room by my good friend Cindy Saucier because I was very short of breath and just to walk to the end of the driveway and back was a major undertaking. After a full day of tests and mostly waiting, they took me up to the PICU. The next day, a bone marrow biopsy was done and on September 19, 2013, I received the official diagnosis of Leukemia. So began my long up and down journey. I told Dr. Mehta, I have walked on fire, this is a bump in the road, let's get this over with. The sassy attitude was due to a recent 4-day workshop with Tony Robbins. That workshop truly gave me the tools to navigate the next year and a half with minimal "woe is me" days. I was taken for the PICU over to IU Simon Cancer Center, that became my home for the next three weeks. There are too many health professionals to remember and if I were to try to mention them all, I would surely miss some that helped me through my stay. Dr. Sayar, Hematologist, and one nurse in particular, Nicole Wasik-Ware, helped me through the beginning of all this mind blurring time. It was a week into all of this that Nicole let me know that she was a Leukemia survivor. I knew that the possibilities of a great outcome was there.

It was later determined that I had a mutant gene that would make long term remission slim to no chance and I should have a Bone Marrow Transplant (Stem Cell these days). So on the last week of January 2014, I entered the BMT Unit and IU Health. On February 6, 2014, I started my new immune system. Again the support of Dr. Farag and the staff of the BMT Unit made a scary situation tolerable. I am glad to say that I am doing great and feeling fantabulous!

This fundraiser/walk is my way to pay it forward because I can never repay all the people who helped me through this process. Friends like Cindy, family (Mom, Mike, Kai & my donor Kim), the healthcare professionals that showed great concern and compassion and most of all to my boyfriend Jeff Pogorzelski, who stayed by my side and has been a major supporter through all of this.

We are living in an extraordinary moment. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is on the brink of incredible breakthroughs that have already begun to change the lives of thousands of patients; treatments that can manage a person's condition with a daily pill, therapies that seek out cancer cells and kill them, and the use of a patient's own immune system to eradicate cancer not someday, but today.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light The Night Walk funds those treatments.