September 14, 2005 I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) I didn’t really know what having leukemia meant. I knew it was cancer, but that was about it. With this diagnosis came a sense of urgency I could feel. I could see it in the nurses’ faces & I could hear it in the doctor’s voices. I remember thinking I was receiving far too much attention & I still wasn’t sure why. It didn’t take me long to understand the WHY! I had a 25 – 30% chance of surviving this type of cancer.
Fast forward (30 days) my 1st round of chemo was successful & I was in remission. My doctor told me that a stem cell transplant could eliminate any future reoccurrence of leukemia. So the search for a donor began. To keep me in remission during the search I had four additional rounds of chemo. It took 8 long, long, very long uncertain months to find a donor. There were notable down & up moments in my race from my 1st round of chemo to my stem cell transplant including many daily victories which kept me moving forward.
My most important victory came on the day I was blessed with a stem cell transplant! This was my new birthday. A birthday I’ve celebrated every year since May 12, 2006! I am grateful, thrilled & excited that today is my 11th birthday & just a normal day for me. And isn’t that what we all want on our birthday, or any day? A normal happy day. On that day (11 years ago), I became a survivor!
Thank you to my family & friends who’ve supported me over the years. Thank you to the doctors at Sammons Cancer Center at Baylor. Thank you to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for the breakthrough research. Finally, I thank God every day for the chance to be a survivor & a thriver of life!
Have a terrific day! Finish YOUR Race!