I didn’t ask for cancer for my 50th Birthday
My mom died shortly after her 50th birthday when I was 18. I spent my life sort of dreading the birthday. As my older siblings hit and then surpassed it, I began to think ok, I can too. I was relatively healthy and never -I guess like everyone-thought cancer was in my future. I was running 2 businesses, both I enjoyed, had a son in college across the country and busied myself with work and friends.
My 1st symptomvwas a rash. I ignored it for a few months and fought the discomfort with cremes, diet changes etc. Then the fatigue-I just powered thru, like most women. Finally a trip to my doctor a few months into worsening symptoms, and I began a months worth of blood tests. On Halloween I was told to see to a Hematologist Oncologist w/in the next 5 days. An appointment was not available w/in the next 8 weeks, at any doctor within 3 hours of my home. So my sister who lived 10 hours away recommended let’s try and see if an appt could be found closer to my siblings or at a large University medical center in NC where they lived. I had an appt at Wake Forest with in just a weeks time. I had a couple of appts at Wake Forest and had a few more scheduled for the week of Thanksgiving. While visiting/waiting at my sisters I came down with a weird unrelated infection in my leg and went to the ER on Saturday before Thanksgiving. At this point my spleen was visibly swollen (like a watermelon), my labs -that I carried with me) showed severe anemia, and other troubling numbers. They ER doc admitted me, and started me on a weeklong stay-scans, biopsies, and more, that would bring me to my diagnosis on Dec 3. Within a week I was in chemo with a freshly placed Port with a treatment plan that I thought would be finished by April. Well……I have had 5 kinds of chemo & countless treatments, 25 radiation rounds, 2 surgeries and 2 stem cell transplants-the last was an Allo transplant in Jine 2018. I am still in recovery from that and awaiting an all clear from my docs. I had to give up my full time catering business-and miss it terribly. I gave up living on the water in Virginia and now live in the mountains on NC where I am closer to siblings who have helped me immeasurably.
I have had to reevaluate my entire life plan. This summer I hope to be given the clear from my doctors to move -maybe temporarily maybe permanently- to Southern California to be near my son. I realize if I am lucky enough to get a NED, I am not likely done with cancer. My odds are better than most for a reoccurrence.
So I want to build a new life there spending as much time with my son as possible.