Followers

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Cheryl Hay Earns Her Wings: Her Story

I believe that the passing of CML sister, Cheryl Hay, on September 22, 2014 (Australian time) is no coincidence. I believe that Cheryl was sent to us to inspire and motivate us with her non-stop humor, courage and optimism, and that she left this world on National CML Day for a reason. That reason being to encourage us to do everything that we can to help raise funds to find a cure for this disease. One of the goals on her Bucket List is to raise one million dollars for research; this is the first year that we have done the Night the Light Walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and our goal is $1000. Next year, we have already decided that our goal is going to be $20,000.

National CML Day will never pass again without me, and hundreds around the world remembering the strong, young, optimistic, young lady that faced CML like a true warrior. She never complained and faced each and every challenge with a big smile and an even bigger dose of optimism; she shared her journey with us and taught us how to live, and die with grace.

Sharing her journey hits home to many of us that are currently living with CML; it is only natural for us to put ourselves in her shoes.  We love hearing success stories and hate hearing about battles lost; fact of the matter is that both are a reality, and that we will continue to hear stories of triumph and tragedy, for the rest of our lives.

What we can do is continue to live well, enjoy our lives’, tick off our Bucket Lists and help to raise money for a cure. We can do this in Cheryl’s honor and the honor for all of those that have also lost their battle with CML.

For those of you that are wondering, here is Cheryl’s journey, in her words:

“Just quickly for those of you whom do not know my story. I was diagnosed with CML in June 2012 and tried Glivec, Dasatanib and Nilotonib with no luck at keeping my CML under control. The TKIs either gave me nasty allergic reactions (a seizure being one!!) or just didn't work (at one point of time my PCR was 203%! The ideal range is 0.0%!!

In Sept 2013, I developed a huge swollen lymph gland in my neck and luckily my Haematologist was all over it when I saw him. After a whirlwind of days of tests he informed me that my CML was now in 'blast crisis' (it presents the same in the bone marrow biopsy as Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL). I had to commence chemo the following week. I would have chemo for 3 months and then have a Bone Marrow Transplant. There was no time to freeze my eggs beforehand so I will now no longer be able to have children. If I do not have this treatment I will die in a matter of months. Due to my uncontrolled CML journey, previous cancers, etc I am a 'high-risk patient of relapsing post BMT' Phew! Quite a lot of info to take on board!!

So originally I was meant to have BMT around Xmas, however I became very unwell with an infectious virus so it delayed treatment. Subsequently in March-another huge setback-BOTH anonymous BMT donors lined up for me FAILED THEIR MEDICAL TESTS!! What are the odds of that happening right??! So the BMT team had to re-commence a whole NEW search for a donor!
Anyway, today is the day that the process 'officially begins!' I still cannot believe after all the bumps, tears and set-backs that it is really happening!!!

Today I am having my Central Line inserted and will commence pre-BMT Chemo.

I will go to the Chemo Outpatients Department every day, up to and including Tues (when I will be admitted to hospital) Wed I have chemo but Thurs there is NONE (they call it a 'REST DAY"-sounds nice doesn't it??) MY BMT is Fri June 6th.

I'm feeling very confident about the BMT being a success against my CML. We don't receive much info about our donors obviously due to confidentiality reasons, however I do know that the donor is a young 24yr old Aussie male, and our tissue typing is a perfect 10/10 match! You cannot ask for better stats than that! Obviously I am still nervous but I am just so relieved my transplant is finally going to happen and cannot wait to beat leukaemia and be able to live life again!”

Once stating her story, Cheryl continued to share her journey; the good the bad and the ugly of it, right up until the very end; she fought long, she fought hard and now she is at rest.

There will be no more pain for Cheryl; I can only hope and pray that I have her sense of grace and peace when it is my turn.


Thank you, Cheryl; your light will continue to shine.

Please consider donating to our Light the Night Walk in Cheryl's honor.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting her story Michelle
    *Fighting CML with all I got!*

    ReplyDelete

Bricks for the Brave!!