Here's to You, Babe!
Many of you might not know it but 2013 came and went with its own trials. In April of last year, my girlfriend was diagnosed with a very rare form of leukemia that until about 10 years ago was 100% fatal. After a week or so of dealing with what she was told might just be a bought with strep, and a couple urgent care visits, we were told to go to the emergency room right away -- do not pass go, do not collect $200 -- after the urgent care doc called early on a Sunday morning upon receiving her blood test results.
After a week of flu-like symptoms and culminating in severe bruising all over her body showing up overnight, the doctors were very uncertain what could be the cause. They gave us a wide range of possibilities from a flu that had already passed to soon and certain death. With any and every option in between.
They admitted her from the ER to keep an eye on her as all of her blood counts were deathly low, as well as needing to do more testing to narrow down the origins of these puzzling effects. All they could really tell us was that her bone marrow had shut down and was no longer producing blood.
Finally, after 3 days of limbo, the doctors deduced the source and immediately began a very new form of "non-chemo" treatments that went on for 90 days – including over 2 weeks inpatient at Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital. By very new, I mean it had just been introduced to the general public about 2 months before her diagnosis. Talk about timing!
In that 90 day span the disease was sent packing and after her third bone marrow biopsy it was confirmed, the bastard was gone. But we weren't done just yet. The schedule called for 6 more months of a lesser intensive barrage of days on, days off back and forth. Instead of the previous 7 days a week down at the Disney Cancer Center in Burbank, CA, it was reduced to 5 days a week and 4 weeks on/4 weeks off.
Through the last year, I have been witness to one of the toughest, most amazing human beings on this Earth. My girlfriend has to be one of the strongest people both physically and mentally to endure such physical torture and emotional stress. Hugely to her favor, she was in great physical condition up until the date of diagnosis, cycling 20 miles with me only a couple days prior. This would also prove to be her saving grace through the pulverizing her body took over the following 9 month. Even though this was a “non-traditional” form of treatment, it was still a chemical therapy that did NOT discriminate between good cells and bad – it just killed em all.
Emotionally she held together so strong for herself, her children and everyone around her. Whilst obviously sorting through her own thoughts of all the “what ifs”, she kept a smile and was positive throughout. It amazes me to this day.
So, a year to the date later and I am so pleased to announce, she is cancer-free and getting back to her normal active self. She still has a ways to go, but we are both just taking it every day at a time. I am truly honored to call this woman mine, as I am hers and I proudly stand (or sit) at her side.
I also want to take the time to that everyone who has been there for her along the way. In times of trouble you find the character of others around you and I must say, we are surrounded by great people. Thank you from the bottom of both of our hearts. Here is to another year ahead, and many more..