Friday, September 25, 2015

Visit to Boise LLS: Survivor/Fighter Shirts!

Yesterday, Joe and I went to our local Leukemia Lymphoma Society office.  We went to pick up my shirt for the Light the Night Walk. Last year our choices were; Supporter, In Memory and Survivor. I was a little disturbed by my choices at that time, because while yes I, and many others are "survivors", there are many of us that are still "fighting".

Living with a "chronic" cancer is a life long battle. Those of us with CML fight the good fight, every single day. Many of us will continue to fight that fight, for a very long time, while others with CML may face a progression in their disease, and either face a bone marrow transplant or death.

It is a cancer that is typically monitored every three months; sometimes you receive good news, and sometimes you don't. Point being, at this time, you are never "cured"; you live your life in treatment. You are not only a survivor, but a perpetual fighter, too.

(There  are currently some trials, for those lucky few that reach an undetectable state for two plus years, to try to hold remission, drug free.)

This, along with so many others that are still in treatment, caused me to believe that the LLS needed another shirt, another choice, another classification; Fighter! Afterall, who are we raising these funds for? We are raising the funds for the many people that are fighting blood cancers; both current and future victims. The Fighters of this disease.

We need a shirt for those who have yet to ring the bell; those who are still in treatment, those that are fighting for their life, in order to survive.

Because of the total awesomeness of our local Boise office and the gals that work there, we are the ONLY LLS office, nationwide that has Survivor/Fighter shirts, for our Light the Night Walk! I could scarcely believe my eyes when I saw that they had special shirts made up for those of us still in treatment....Could you believe it???? HOW AWESOME IS THAT!?!

Now, at the Light the Night Walk,  all of us still in treatment will not be asked, " Ohhhh, how far out are you?" "Which cancer did you have?" or "When did you finish treatment?"  Instead, it will be obvious that we are in the other club; the club that is still fighting the good fight. We are the ones that are still hoping and praying for a cure.

We are the ones that all of you are supporting; both monetarily and emotionally. We are Survivors AND Fighters and I thank our local office for recognizing us in this special way!!

Thank you Boise LLS; you guys ROCK!!

Please Donate if you can!! Every single penny helps!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

National CML Day

Today, September 22, (9/22) is a special day for those of us living with chronic myelogenous leukemia. It is a day to be grateful for the opportunity to fight our daily battle with CML, a day to reflect and mourn those who have lost their battle with CML, and a day to cheer on those that are facing the much larger battle with CML, through a bone marrow transplant.

For many of us diagnosed with CML, our life long battle consists of daily medication; this medication is designed to control, not cure CML.

CML is a blood cancer that occurs when a piece of chromosome 9 and chromosome 22, break apart, translocate, and create a new chromosome identified as the Philadelphia Chromosome. This chromosome acts like an on switch for white blood cells; the normal range is between 4,000-10,000, when I was diagnosed, in February 2011,  I had 385,000 white blood cells. While great strides have been made in managing this rare type of blood cancer, there is still no cure.

Since there is no rhyme nor reason, as to "if and when" CML will gain the upper hand and wreak havoc on its' host, I try to live each and every day to its' fullest, be grateful for the opportunity to still be alive, and hold out hope for a cure!

I am grateful for our oncologists who keep us alive and for those who are continuing their research to find a cure.

Living with CML is tough, but with your support and encouragement, I remain tougher!!

Thank you,

Happy CML Day!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Light the Night; September is National Blood Cancer Awareness Month!

Light the Night!
I have been living with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, a cancer of the blood, for the past four years and seven months. It is a journey that has led me down many paths with the most apparent and difficult path being my treatment, which is ongoing and comes with a plethora of complications which create a never ending roller coaster ride. Another path that I have traveled is the birth of my blog. My blog began as a way to educate myself and to keep my friends and family updated as to my condition and progress; it has morphed into a blog that is read worldwide, with nearly two million page views. Who knew? I never would have thought of myself as inspirational! Lol

Living with CML has also led me down a path that has allowed me the opportunity to meet many others living with the same chronic cancer; this is a blessing and a curse. The blessing part of this opportunity is the friendships that I have made near and far; when you live with a chronic cancer, with no “visible” signs of illness, most people can never grasp what living with a chronic cancer is like; knowing others with the same disease allows us to relate to each other in a manner that no one else would understand. The curse part of this path is the blatant fact that people die; people that you have gotten to know and share a very raw bond with; die. It is a painstaking reality that none of us, ever get used to.

This leads me to my favorite path; the path of helping others; since September is National Blood Cancer Awareness Month, I have collected Lego's for ill children at St. Luke’s Hospital, in Boise, for the past three years. It is my way of giving back to the small warriors that are battling this, and other diseases. Brick's 4 the Brave: Put a Smile on a Child's Face!

And last year, Joe and I did our very first Light the Night Walk, for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s yearly fundraiser. We had an overwhelming response to our fundraising and were so very proud of all of you that stepped up to the plate to donate to our Light the Night Walk!! Without donations, no matter how small, I would mostly likely not be here today, to help raise more money, to find cures for Blood cancers. I would love to be able to surpass the $2000 mark to help find a cure, not only for me and my friends, but for anyone that currently has, or will someday be diagnosed with a blood cancer.

If you live in Boise, and you would like, you can join us on our walk and join our team. The walk is on Thursday, October 1, 2015, at Ann Morrison Park. I will hopefully have more details than this, soon.

So, if you are so inclined, please visit my Light the Night Walk Team Page and donate and join our team; Dancing My Way Through Leukemia! Joe and I will be walking for me and the many friends that I have lost this year, and all of my other friends' that are diligently fighting their own battles. 

Lego’s can either be brought to a local dance, or mailed directly to me; Amazon is super easy, just be sure to add your name to the gift card, so that I can give you a great big thanks!

Michele Tschirhart
83 Falcon Dr
Boise, Idaho 83716

Bricks for the Brave!!