I was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL) on February 10th, 2019. I had thought I had the flu all week until finally when I saw bruises on my arms and legs, I thought maybe I should head to the ER. It was there that they gave me the news that I had blood cancer and was rushed immediately to Rochester Mayo. I had an amazing team of doctors working me right away and was officially diagnosed just a day after arriving. This leukemia is rare even in children much less a 42 year old woman. Fortunately, this was a highly curable cancer but involved an intense year of treatment. My journey started with a stay at Rochester Mayo for just over 6 weeks where chemo was introduced to me within 1 hour of me walking through the door. My chemo was called ARSENIC of all things! Between that, blood and platelet transfusions, bone marrow biopsies and whole lot of pills I was able to get stable enough to finish my treatment at the Andreas Cancer Center here in Mankato. I was at the cancer center 5 days a week for about 8 months. When I think of that time, I primarily think of the incredible nurses that truly became by friends, my dear friend Angie Peters that was by my side some of those days battling her own journey and is now sadly no longer with us but mostly my kids, parents and ride-or-die friends that showed up for me in ways I could have never imagined.
I met many incredible people during my journey and the influence from them changed my outlook on life forever.
I understand that anyone diagnosed with cancer has their own personal journey and as we all know not everyone lives to tell their story. I find myself feeling blessed to have been diagnosed with this highly curable cancer. I was given the chance to understand that you never know when life can just be taken away from you. Because I survived this journey, I will forever be grateful for this chapter and all that it has taught me.