We have all heard the saying, “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you are going to get!” Well, I am here to tell you that living with CML is the epitome of that saying.
Up until three years ago, I was able to live my life in a very carefree manner; due to my overall good health, I never had to consider the consequences of my actions. I was able to make plans and keep them. I flew through every day like it was my last; enjoying every moment.
I ran my own business, homeschooled my youngest child and played with my grandchildren, often for extended periods of time. I enjoyed sharing the lives of my family and the many places that I travelled. I was footloose and fancy free and it seemed as though there was never an end to my over exuberant lifestyle. I loved my life and took my good health for granted
That is, right up until I was diagnosed with CML, this came as quite a shock. You see, despite my many side effects, I just kept on going. I wondered why I no longer had the energy in my body to keep up with all of the plans in my head, but I just kept on going. It never occurred to me to stop, or even slow down.
Once diagnosed, I immediately accepted the diagnosis and began researching anything and everything that I could find, regarding CML. This was not the easiest task, as I was in the hospital and at the mercy of the nurses, until my husband arrived with my computer a few hours later.
The two of us put our heads together and decided that we would divide and conquer. We would take on this battle, and we would win! With my husband’s care and support I could conquer anything; together we discussed treatment plans and lifestyle changes. I was forced to slow down and he was left picking up the slack.
We learned more than we would have ever dreamed about cancer, treatment options and how your life is forever, changed.
I had to learn how to listen to my body and determine how hard I could push and when I really needed to stop, and rest. I had to accept the fact that I now had to consider my health and make choices that I really would rather not. I had to accept that even if I had made plans, I might have to cancel them.
I had to accept the fact that a night of dancing may land me down and out for several days, and keeping my grandchildren overnight suddenly became exhausting. My travel plans now include visits to my oncologist and everything I do now depends upon how I feel.
Despite all of the changes that I have had to make in my life and the fact that I now live with cancer, I am truly grateful to be alive. I am forever grateful for the advances that have been made in CML treatment and look forward to the day that there is a cure.
Cancer has taught me to slow down and appreciate every moment; it has led me to help others’ in their fight against this disease and allowed me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful cancer warriors. It has fueled an inner drive to in my soul to fight and not only survive, but to thrive, despite the obstacles in my path.
There are times that I still mourn my “old” life, but I am passionate about my new life and anxious to see where this journey will lead. It is my goal to continue to Dance My way Through Leukemia!