Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Evolution; How Being a Patient Has Changed Me

Two years and nine months ago, I was told that I had Leukemia; at that point, I knew very little about Leukemia. I knew that it had something to do with my blood and my bone marrow. I remember wondering just how long I had to live.

Once I was in the hospital emergency room, I urged the nurses there, to print information about leukemia, from the internet, for me; while I waited for the hematological oncologist to show up. What I learned from my less than extensive reading was that there were many different types of leukemia, and shortly, I would know what type I had.

As I waited, I pondered my situation; typically, I was never sick, now I had cancer. What was I going to do? How was my life going to change? How was this going to affect my family? How long would I live, and what would I do with the remainder of my life? How would I really want to spend the rest of my life? Is there a cure? Would I live through the cure? Have I accomplished what I was put on this earth to do? Have I made an impact? Could I have done more? So many questions were whirling around in my brain, that I truly believe that I was not actually grasping the seriousness of my condition.

Patti; MY Wonder Woman and BEST friend!
The following day, a bone marrow biopsy was performed and I had an internal jugular vein, leukopheresis catheter placed into my neck; neither of these procedures was pleasant, and the severity of my situation began to sink in; quickly! I began to transform from Super Woman to Heidi; I went from being invincible, to sickly. This was not an easy pill to swallow…..I was not accustomed to being sick.

I knew in my heart of hearts that I must now transform myself into Wonder Woman; not the noun meaning that I was to become someone to admire, but the verb; I knew that I must transform myself into a woman that was going to have to question, or wonder about, my health and treatments; for the rest of my life.
I had evolved from a person that took good health for granted, into a person that must take good health seriously, and into their own hands. I now must search out the best possible treatment and adhere diligently to it. I must become educated in my type of cancer, and stay on top of the continued research being done; I also feel as though I needed to share my experiences with others.

I went from taking life for granted to knowing just how precious life really is. None of us know how long we will survive on this planet, but I definitely take time to appreciate every day, and to make each day count. I would not say that my values have changed, yet I value life so much more. As far as goals are concerned, I suppose that my goal to help others has been illuminated; it has also been channeled. I now find myself being an advocate of health, leukemia and even medication dangers.

I will continue to educate myself and others in the hopes of leading a more genuine, fulfilled and steadfast life.

How have you evolved?

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